ALBANY — Democrats took to the podium in Albany on Thursday to promote party candidates around the region and state and blast Republican policies they said are “too extreme” for Georgia voters.
Speakers for the “Too Extreme GOP” tour, sponsored by the Georgia Democratic Party, stop in Albany included state Sen. Freddie Powell Sims of Dawson and state House District 151 candidate Joyce Barlow, who is challenging Republican incumbent Mike Cheokas in the November election.
“Today I want to talk about a contrast, a contrast the American people and the people of Georgia see very clearly, a contrast that’s growing sharper every passing day, especially as we head into the November elections,” Sims said. “This contrast speaks to the choice that Georgians have available to them in November — the record of Democrats, a record that is inclusive of all Americans who work toward taking care of themselves and their families’ basic needs, safe and clean environments, a quality education, affordable and available health care and a sense of moral values and integrity.”
The extreme agenda of Republicans included obstructing and delaying legislation to assist military veterans sickened by exposure to burn pits and legislation for small, rural hospitals, she said.
“(It) rolls back the rights and freedoms that we so rightly deserve,” she said. “Our veterans wait and wait for medical assistance. They wait for government to pass legislation to improve their health care, but when good legislation is obstructed by the GOP, what do they do? They high-five each other in congratulations because they blocked a bill that veterans so desperately needed after being exposed to open burn pits.”
Republicans in Congress have recently opposed efforts to cap the price of insulin for diabetics and lower prescription drug costs for all Americans and to legislation that would strengthen the country’s supply chains, the senator said.
“But that is not all, ladies and gentlemen,” Sims said. “A group representing 75% of House Republicans, including all eight Georgia Republicans in Congress, released a budget plan saying they would even put Social Security and Medicaid for seniors on the chopping block — if they regain power in Washington.
“As we witness the votes of Georgia’s eight congressional Republicans over the last few weeks, we come to understand that Georgia’s health and economic well-being is at risk thanks to the GOP extreme agenda. Just ask our veterans and American women who now lack reproductive health care, mental health care.”
Responding to a question from The Herald about the rejection by Kansas voters of a referendum to remove protection of abortion in its constitution, Sims said that Planned Parenthood provides a significant amount of reproductive health care for women, in addition to abortion
“Planned Parenthood saved the lives of countless women and provided advice and free medications,” she said. “We cannot afford to go backward. If we put these extremists in Congress, we’re going to get the very thing that happened, (more) constitutional rights are going to be overturned.”
Barlow, a nurse and owner of Englewood Health Care in Albany, said that black women in Georgia already have maternal mortality rates that are 2 1/2 times greater than their white counterparts. The closing of rural hospitals, including in Cuthbert, also will have a significant impact.
“We have a hospital desert in our area,” she said. “If medical facilities close, you (also) lose jobs. Health care is at the basics of everything we do.”