CUTHBERT — At 70, state Rep. Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert, has spent more than half of his life in the Georgia House … and he shows few signs of slowing down now. Late Tuesday, Greene earned his 19th two-year term in the House with a 10,638-9,219 victory over Democratic challenger Joyce Barlow.
Meanwhile, Democratic political newcomer CaMia Hopson and incumbent Republican Rep. Ed Rynders had much easier times claiming the House District 153 and 152 seats, respectively. Hopson beat Tracy Taylor 10,466-5,532, while Rynders earned another term with a 16,563-vote crushing of Marcus Batten.
“Do you know how I found out I had won my election?” Greene, a retired educator, asked. “I got a call last night from a reporter for the New York Times; this is how close people were looking at this race.”
The northern reporter was probably watching the race and wondering how an older white man could win election after election in a majority minority district in rural southwest Georgia.
Greene has a simple answer.
“If you treat people the way they want to be treated, race really doesn’t come into play; and when you help them they are going to remember and they’ll come back and help you,” he said. “But you’ve got to be an individual who responds to their needs and looks after them. I look after them like I’m the shepherd and they are my flock.”
It’s all about service to the communities, Green added.
“We believe in constituency service in my office at the legislature,” he said. “We don’t say, ‘No, we can’t help you — call someone else.’ We say, ‘Let us see what we can do.’ And we do it every day. We’ve got families who have loved ones in prison. They don’t know how to get information and help. We do that for them.
“We are going to continue to do those types of the things. We will be an advocate for them.”
Greene ran perhaps the hardest campaign of his life against Barlow. He campaigned through the storms of 2017 and Hurricane Michael.
“The most difficult thing over the past few months was for my constituents to come back after they heard my opponent tell lies and things that were not true,” Greene said. “That was a real hurt for me.”
Now that the election is behind him, Green is free to concentrate on what he says he does best — helping his constituency.
“I want to see about the district right now. We are still hurting from the disaster (Michael), and we still have a long, long road ahead of us,” he said. “We’ve got the special season on rural economic development coming up, but I assume the governor will still call the special session.
“It’s our turn to look at the different agencies to help people with our recovery. At the same time, we have to begin to move the rural areas forward. And Gerald Greene will continue to do what he does best — helping the district, its communities and its people.”