It is the home stretch in the 2010 election season and this is the time when candidates begin to say and do strange things in the hopes of winning office.
Just this week, I read with a mix of disdain and amusement the attack on my good friend and state House colleague Representative John Yates by his Democratic opponent.
For those that don’t know him, John Yates is the only World War II veteran serving in the Georgia General Assembly.
After returning from the war, Rep. Yates went on to a long and distinguished career in management for Ford Motor Company. In his retirement years John ran for and won a seat in the General Assembly after deciding to run because “his predecessor would never respond to his or his neighbors’ cards and letters.”
Rep. Yates has served with honor and distinction for more than a decade in the state House. Since 2005 he has chaired the House Committee on Defense and Veterans Affairs, a committee on which I have the honor to serve and watch him in person, and he is the most zealous and fierce advocate on behalf of Georgia’s active and retired military population under the Gold Dome.
In addition, I can say unequivocally nobody is more diligent and serious about constituent services than Mr. Yates.
Even in his late 80s, Representative Yates drives to the Capitol almost every day and personally responds to every single piece of correspondence he receives with a written letter.
I remember witnessing an exchange he had with another representative when he was responding with an individually written letter to every single student in an elementary school class that wrote him as part of a school project.
The other representative asked John why he didn’t just write one letter collectively to the class or do a form letter his secretary could duplicate for each student.
John responded, “Every one of these students wrote me a letter and they all deserve a response from me.” John is someone that I and his other colleagues look up to and his constituents should be proud of.
It seems the attack by his opponent on Rep. Yates revolves around his failure to respond to a couple of Internet surveys from interest groups. Rep. Yates has a rock solid conservative voting record over literally thousands of votes, all of which are easily and publicly accessible and available for his constituents to see and judge him on.
Rep. Yates diligently responds to every single constituent that has a question about his views on an issue or one of his votes. There is literally an unlimited wealth of information available to voters in his district about Rep. Yates’ stance on issues and the suggestion that his failure to fill out two online surveys implies a “lack of concern and respect” for his voters is laughable.
His opponent went so far as to point out that Rep. Yates failed CNN’s “political courage test” because he didn’t respond to their survey.
During his service in World War II, John’s job was to fly Piper Cubs (i.e., a very small airplane) behind enemy lines for the purpose of radioing back coordinates to American artillery batteries, while constantly under threat of enemy fire.
Needless to say, you could not have a much more dangerous job than flying a few hundred feet above German lines in the Ardennes Forest during the Battle of the Bulge. I find it offensive that any person or organization would ever call into question John Yates’ courage.
I strongly urge the voters of District 73 to send Representative Yates back to the General Assembly for two more years on Nov. 2. He will continue to represent the conservative values of his constituents with the honor and integrity he has shown over his entire career.
Matthew L. Ramsey
Peachtree City, Ga.
[Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) was first elected to the District 72 post in December 2007. He is a law partner with Warner, Hooper, and Ramsey, P.C., in Peachtree City. His email is email@example.com.]