Republicans and Democrats who took the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium stage Thursday night appeared to agree on one thing: Both like their privacy.
Panels from the two political parties stated platforms, addressed various issues, disagreed and traded jabs at the 17th Times-Enterprise citizens meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to bring the two local political parties together in an attempt to bring about community cohesiveness for the common good.
Party speakers varied considerably on matters ranging from who was responsible for the closing of Southwestern State Hospital to who is to blame for the Great Depression.
The Rev. Arthur Jones, a Thomasville minister, Thomas County Democratic Party secretary and Times-Enterprise columnist, said he does not want the government monitoring his phone calls and what he views online.
“I do not like it. I oppose it. I will write about it and will send what I write to Washington,” Jones said.
Mike Baugh, Thomas County Republican Party chairman, agreed with Jones and said citizens should let their congressmen know they oppose government infiltration of privacy.
Other Democratic party panelists Thursday night were local party Chairman Marty Haythorn, Vice Chairman the Rev. Terry Scott and Beth Grant, party official.
Baugh was joined on the Republican side by Brandon Phillips, Grady County Republican Party chairman, Whigham resident and managing partner at a Tallahassee, Fla., political and public affairs firm; Vivian Childs, of Warner Robins, Eighth Congressional District chairman for the Georgia GOP; and Leo Smith, a Smyrna resident, who works with the Republican National Committee and the Georgia Republican Party as Georgia state director.
Panelists strayed from the subjects at hand, despite instructions from Lastinger about “chasing rabbits” when responding.
On a number of occasions, Lastinger admonished panelists about straying from topics.
On Friday, Lastinger said, “It must have been rabbit season at the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium.”
Remarks from panelists include:
• Local political parties have similar goals, but the paths to reaching them are different.
• People are judged more by their character than the political party to which they belong.
• Southwest Georgia’s voice needs to be raised in Atlanta and in Washington, D.C.
• Because political parties do not agree does not mean they cannot work together.
• Government should be the size necessary to meet challenges.
• Sustaining the environment should be included in every government decision.
• Many local citizens are not aware of the Red Hills Region or Tall Timbers Research Station.
• Parents should visit their children’s school to monitor their offspring’s progress.
• Not every child is college material.
• Thomasville has political power, powerful people and political clout.
• Local political parties should communicate with local elected officials.
• Some people with college degrees are looking for jobs, while someone trained as a plumber is gainfully employed.
• Political views get in the way of facts.
• Political parties should stop demonizing each other.
• Those who hold elected office should be appraised often to determine if they are suitable for re-election.
Haythorn, who owns a business, is in favor of raising the minimum wage.
Baugh opposes a minimum wage hike.
“The government should not tell business it must pay a $10 minimum wage said Baugh,” adding that an increase will result in higher prices for products and in job cuts.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.