Officials express labor importance

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- While many were out Monday celebrating a day-off by relaxing and enjoying barbecues, political officials made a point to remain hard at work as the November elections near.

Roy Barnes, the Democratic candidate for governor, was present at an Albany community event to celebrate Labor Day.

Barnes said that while many Georgians remain out of work, the role of creating jobs doesn't lie with just the labor commissioner, it is the responsibility of the governor.

"Well, I think that job creation is in control of the governor and I think education and jobs go hand-in-hand with one another," he said.

Barnes stressed that culling the state's drop-out rate for high school students should begin much earlier in the student's schooling.

"There are several things we can do," said the former Georgia governor. "We can increase instruction time by having longer days and lengthening the school year."

Barnes said simple steps in education could render Georgia a skilled and educated workforce and boost the state's economy.

"We should also make it a priority to employ Georgians," said the gubernatorial candidate. "All state and local contracts should be given to companies that employ Georgians and not out-of-state. We should, in my view, give a holiday on payroll taxes for those who hire new workers for at least a year or two."

Barnes criticized the Obama administration for not addressing the issue of job creation sooner.

"I think it's very important (to put Georgians back to work)," he said. "We need to fight the outsourcing of jobs."

Democratic Secretary of State candidate Georganna Sinkfield said the issue of employment in Georgia is critical and that while Labor Day is a day to celebrate American workers it should also be a day to reflect on the improvements that are needed.

"Labor Day is a celebration of how far we have come and also a chance to look at how far we can go," said the Democrat.

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, said many of the workers who attended Monday's event at the Veterans Park are worried and concerned about the upcoming elections and that if re-elected he will fight for what is good for all the people in his district.

"The people are concerned about their quality of life, be that jobs or health care," said Bishop. "Those of us who hold office are here to let the people know that we are thinking about these issues as well. I try to make sure I vote for what is good for all."

Rep. Winfred Dukes, D-Albany, said Monday's downtown event was important for all those who work.

"What we want to do is celebrate the working men and women who are there to pay the bills," said Dukes. "Creating jobs is very important in this economic condition and we need to make sure that there are jobs for all of our citizens."

Dukes said Albany would benefit from embracing new industries such as green and technology industries.

All the Democratic leaders at Monday's Labor Day event agreed that employing Georgians was a key issue and that employment is crucial for the state's economic growth.