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Are You Paying Attention?

David Staples is running for the Public Service Commission in Georgia. This is his first post on Patch and he will be introducing readers to the issues and topics related to the PSC.

Over the next month and a half, many of us will take part in what we consider our civic duty -- go to our local polling place and cast a vote for the candidate in each race that we feel would best represent our interests. More and more, I think we're seeing a variety of movements that indicate that people aren't happy with the representation we've been getting thus far.  

President Obama ran on a plaform of change, we've seen a number of tea parties develop, 9/12 groups started forming, and the "occupy" movement sprung up in a number of places.

In fact, this dissatisfaction with how things were going in our government is the primary reason I even got involved in politics in the first place.  

I looked at my paycheck and saw how much was being taken and then looked at what I'm getting for it. I know I can't be the only one out there that isn't satisfied with the return on my "investment," am I? I've been working at the grassroots level for about four years now on issues that I feel are important.  

But this past June, I made a decision to take a leap I never would have imagined would be in my future -- running for statewide office.

I was approached by a few people within the Libertarian Party of Georgia about one of the Public Service Commission races here in Georgia. They knew I had a telecommunications background and have been following news on electrical production for years. They told me about the two candidates in the Republican primary -- how a number of people liked one or the other and how a number of others didn't like either one.  

Then came the kicker -- no Democrat had qualified to run for this seat. When a primary challenger is able to be painted in a light that enough people don't like, the incumbent's chances of winning the primary skyrocket. The incumbent won just over half of the votes needed to win the primary and thus moves on to the general election.

But this November 6th, voters still have the opportunity to vote for change. Real change. A number of stories have been written about the incumbent and while I won't go into details here (at least not yet), I will say that I believe it is each voter's responsibility to research each and every candidate that they cast a vote for.

For too long our nation has been divided along party lines and people have cast a vote for a candidate because of the letter beside their name. But many of these candidates haven't lived up to our expectations and many times we come to find that they are nothing like what their party's platform espouses. They do a number of things that aren't ethical, but are completely legal due to lack of ethics laws governing our elected officials.

I urge you to consider all candidates this November 6th in every race. Look at the issues, look at the candidates' websites, and find out about the history and the actions of the incumbents. Over the coming weeks I hope to share with you some of the issues in the Public Service Commission races that are largely ignored by the media.  

After all, utility regulation doesn't exactly make its way into dinner table conversation for most of us. But everyone in Georgia is affected by the decisions of the PSC. If you have electric service, natural gas, or a landline telephone -- you are affected by the decisions of the PSC.  

If you shop at businesses that have electric service, natural gas, or a landline telephone, you are affected by the decisions the PSC makes. If you're not already, it's time to start paying attention.

(Editor's Note: David Staples is running against Republican incumbent Stan Wise, a Marietta resident, for the Public Service Commission seat from District 5, which includes Cobb, Paulding and Douglas counties, as well as 22 other counties in west Georgia and west central Georgia.)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Stacy Thames November 01, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I was so excited about going to my local poll station and voting early. However, when I went online to look at my sample ballot, I found that a large majority of the ballot gives you the option to vote for the Republican incumbents or a write in. Only problem is there is no way of knowing who to write in. I researched online with no luck. I could NOT find one Democrat that was "qualified" to de a write in. If you write in an "unqualifed" candidate, the vote is then casted out. Legal, but morally and enethically wrong.
Chris Long November 01, 2012 at 09:38 PM
There is nothing morally or ethically wrong about a democrat (or republican) not qualifying for a general election. The moral and ethical wrong is republicans and democrats rigging ballot access to further their own interests & exclude 3rd parties. Libertarians have been fighting this for years, & we are all worse off b/c of it. Republicans and democrats in all states, & even nationally, have skewed ballot access rules so they heavily favor themselves at the expense of 3rd parties. If one or the other can't qualify under the system they set up, then that is on them, & none of us should shed a single tear...it's just that simple.

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