Most Georgians are more progressive than their elected state leaders, Bryan Long, executive director of Better Georgia, told a small group gathered for the Oconee County Democratic Committee meeting on Aug. 15.
Long didn’t define what he meant by progressive, but he said Georgians are in favor of better funding for education, are opposed to laws severely restricting a woman’s right to decide on matters of her health, in favor of funding needed government services, and in favor of infrastructure investment.
Long said the problem is that citizens in the state have only heard one side of the issues, and he said it was the responsibility of the people in the room to make sure that other messages are delivered.
“If we do that loud enough and often enough, we will change the state,” Long said.
The three-minute clip below is taken from Long’s comments and responses to questions at the meeting. Those comments and responses lasted nearly an hour.
Not Aligned With Democrats
Long, who founded Better Georgia in November of 2011, said his group was not aligned with the Democratic Party, but he acknowledged that Democrats are more receptive to his message and that former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes is one of his largest funders.
One of the biggest problems citizens face in the state, Long said, has historical support from both Republicans and Democrats.
Every Congressional district in Georgia is drawn to make it hard for a member of the other party to win, Long said. Those district lines are drawn by the Georgia General Assembly.
“So if you are unhappy with your congressman right now, the way to change that is to change your representatives at the Statehouse,” Long said.
Watchdog, Attack Dog, Guerrilla Warfare
Long told the nine-member audience at the meeting in the Oconee County Government Annex that his group is different from others.
“Some people have called us a watchdog,” he said. “Others have called us an attack dog. And some have said its guerrilla warfare. I might say all of that’s true.”
Long said the “number one mission of Better Georgia is to change the politics of Georgia and have a more fair, a more balanced debate. We want to build--we are building--a progressive majority.”
Better Georgia is based in Athens. In addition to Long, one other person is on the staff.
Before founding Better Georgia, Long worked as a journalist with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and CNN and in public relations with Jackson Spalding.