There weren’t any big-time local races on the ballot Nov. 2, but that doesn’t mean the election wasn’t significant locally.
Frank Ginn’s election to the state senate is significant for Madison County in a way that hasn’t gotten a whole of attention. With the 2010 Census completed, the state will soon tackle reapportionment. And having a state senator from Madison County involved in that process is a plus for this county. Because if your county gets cut up into several slices of pie, your representation can become pretty watered down. You risk being a minor afterthought to the representatives who have bigger constituencies to serve.
Right now, all of Madison County is in District 47 in the senate, while the county is cut into two house districts: 29 and 30. Ginn, a Madison County resident, has an obvious interest in keeping his home county legislatively relevant. Therefore, I think you can expect Madison County to get a pretty fair shake in the upcoming reapportionment wrangling.
I think one of the most significant elections this year involved Madison County’s Ralph Hudgens, who was elected Tuesday as state insurance commissioner. The passage of healthcare reform has been one of the most divisive political issues in this nation in years. Hudgens will be a gatekeeper in a sense. He will be the one who is most responsible for the implementation or rejection of federal initiatives in Georgia. It will be interesting to see how he applies this. For instance, there is great dismay with how the health reform legislation was passed, but there are some specifics that are not as maligned, such as the requirement that insurance companies no longer deny people coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
It’s one thing to fight against a vague “health reform,” but it’s quite a different matter when specific insurance matters are in your hands. Do you tell the mother of the 2-year-old that the insurance company has a right to deny coverage to her kid due to a birth defect? Do you tell the insurance company that you must accept everyone, but that not everyone must come on board? Take the big-picture politics out of it and look at insurance honestly on a specific basis. Then you’ll recognize that these issues are often extremely complex. And fairness is not always so easy. The battle over reform will last for quite some time. And on Tuesday, a Madison County resident was chosen as Georgia’s biggest player on the health reform stage.
Obviously, we didn’t have a whole lot on our plates locally during this general election. That’s because Madison County is now so solidly red, that most anything juicy in this county gets taken care of in the Republican primaries. Looking at the election results, it’s pretty obvious that most people these days are voting straight ticket, with most all state and national races going to Republicans by a 3-1 margin in this county. And this has been true for several years now. Very few people these days are going to put up money to run as a Democrat in Madison County. It’s kind of like swimming up river, while others coast with it.
When three more seats come up for grabs on the commission table in 2012, expect that once again everything will be over by July.
Of course, I mean locally. Nationally, that’s a different story. November of 2012 will bring plenty of drama — and plenty of voters.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.