ALBANY, Ga. -- U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr., D-Albany, says he gets it.
The nine-term Democratic representative from Georgia's Second Congressional District said Tuesday that he understands that his constituency, mirroring the mood of the rest of the country, is angry, scared and frustrated with the events of the past three years.
He also said understands his campaign has made some missteps within the past few months, including a well-publicized profane telephone message that an aide left on a constituent's answering machine and a Congressional Black Caucus scholarship flap that, while not illegal, led to questions of his ethics.
But he also thinks that he has done exactly what the voters of the district elected him to do -- use his influence to bring tax dollars back to the district.
Bishop, locked in the battle of his political life with Republican State Rep. Mike Keown of Coolidge, points to his experience and four Washington committee assignments as the major reasons why voters on Nov. 2 should return him to Washington with a 10th term of office.
"I know there is a lot of anger out there," Bishop said Tuesday during a meeting with The Albany Herald Editorial Board. "They (the voters) want to blame somebody and take that aggression out on someone and that someone is often their elected officials. That's what we are seeing now."
But Bishop urged Second District voters to look at his record of delivering to the district and his committee seats (Committee on Appropriations and Agricultural, Defense and Military Construction subcommittees), which he says have provided funding and jobs to Southwest Georgia for more than a decade.
"It took me 10 years to get on the Appropriations Committee," Bishop said, "My opponent says if he is elected, he will only serve four terms before leaving office. That's just eight years. He would just be learning the office before he became effective. What good would that do the people of the Second District?"
Bishop then urged the voters of Southwest Georgia to think before voting Tuesday.
"My committee assignments allow me to implement the decisions that need to be made to benefit the district. Can a freshman congressman really be that effective?" Bishop asked. "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. I've used this analogy before, but if you have to have brain surgery, do you want someone with experience operating on you, or do you want the operation performed by someone with no history?
"That's the choice the people have to make on Nov.2," Bishop said. "Do they want someone who is in a position to protect and benefit or community? Or do they want to put their future into the hands of a freshman congressman?"
Bishop's campaign was boosted earlier in the day when he received the endorsements from more than 50 elected officials from the Second Congressional District.