I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case. The Court’s decision on gay marriage is a victory not just for the LGBT community but for all Americans who believe in justice. When some of us become more free, we all become more free. The decision overturns the 2004 Georgia constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage. No longer will Georgians be prevented from participating in the most important expression of love and commitment that our society has.
I will be introducing a bill in the 2016 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly to prohibit the state from designating holidays and official recognition of the Confederacy. Presently, Georgia recognizes Confederate Memorial Day by executive order and Confederate Memorial Month by legislation.
It is unconscionable for the state to honor the Confederacy which fought to maintain slavery and racial injustice. The holiday recognition of the Confederacy is an insult to all people of good will who reject that which it represents.
The recent terrorist attack in Charleston makes it clear that racist symbols contribute to an atmosphere that allows for violence and discrimination. The state of Georgia should not contribute to the creation of such an atmosphere of hate.
Published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution June 11, 2015
By Vincent Fort
City Hall — and the billionaires and millionaires it collaborates with — is obsessed with mega-projects such as the Falcons stadium, the failed 2012 transportation referendum and the under-ridden streetcar at the expense of Atlanta neighborhood development. It fails to understand Atlanta’s greatness is a product of its beautiful and vibrant neighborhoods, not just its corporate edifices.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution May 21,2015
by Vincent Fort
The time for experimenting with people’s health care has passed. Georgia now ranks fifth in the nation for residents without health care coverage, and five of our rural hospitals have closed their doors in the past two years. These closures are expected to worsen in coming years, leaving more of South Georgia without health care. Also, 650,000 Georgians would have had health insurance had Gov. Nathan Deal made the decision to accept Medicaid expansion funding.
State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, is whip of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
While Keisha Lance Bottoms says that the city’s ethics officer signed off on her double dipping–holding a Council seat and the executive director’s position for the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority-that is not completely true.
In fact, while the ethics officer says that there is no violation of the city code, she goes on to write: “a complete ethical analysis of the issue requires the Council person as well as the AFCRA Board to evaluate whether this arrangement creates an appearance of impropriety or causes a reasonable taxpayer to question whether the interest of a Council Member serving in this position impairs that person’s ability to act in the best interest of the City. The Ethics Code does not specifically regulate “appearances of impropriety.”
The evaluation that the city’s ethics officer called for is just what state legislative counsel did: “…there may be conflicting duties due to the contractual and business relationships that could exist between the City of Atlanta and the authority. In such cases, the sitting member of the Atlanta City Council could be put in a position of choosing between the duty of loyalty to the city and its interests and the authority and its interests. Simply refusing to vote or disqualifying oneself from participating on issues involving the authority before the city council may not entirely correct the problem since doing so is, in essence, choosing one set of duties over another. In such case, the duties of councilmember are rejected in favor of the duties of executive director of the authority.”
Bottoms’ having both positions robs her constituents of full representation or the Authority of full loyalty. She should make a decision and choose between her council seat and the position as the Authority’s director.
The Georgia Department of Transportation has a sorry history of exclusion when it comes to minority businesses. This became readily apparent in 2012, when GDOT itself commissioned a Transportation Disparity Study to examine its efforts in utilizing Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), which included African-American and woman-owned DBEs.