Halloween has passed, but you might need to be afraid for another reason. You might need to be afraid for the future of good government. I’m not talking about if Obama were to get re-elected. I’m talking about something closer to home; a local race.
To protect good government locally, you need to focus on the name Ashley Wright, our Republican district attorney for the Augusta Judicial Circuit which includes Columbia County. Wright stands as a shield between us and the possibility of corrupt public officials. She’s up for re-election, and you should tell all your neighbors who care about honesty in government to be sure and vote.
Many think Mitt Romney has Georgia in the bag, and they might be right. But locally we need to be concerned because our Republican district attorney has to be elected from a three-county circuit comprised of Columbia, Burke and Richmond counties. Obama won the vote in those three counties in 2008. In 2010, a big Republican year, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson only got about 54 percent in the circuit.
We’ve been spoiled by having great district attorneys for 20 years. We’ve had stability in that office with Danny Craig and more recently with one of his disciples, the incumbent Ashley Wright. It’s easy to take for granted how important the chief law enforcement officer of your area is until you don’t have a good one.
Right now we have a great deal of potential instability in law enforcement in Augusta-Richmond County, which will have a new sheriff for the first time in years. Why should residents of Columbia County be worried about the elections in Richmond County? Because if you don’t vote for Ashley Wright, Augusta Democrats could choose a novice to be our next district attorney.
We all vote in the Augusta Judicial Circuit, and we can’t afford another wave of bad elected officials in Richmond County to spill into our county by allowing our law-and-order district attorney to get beaten.
If you need more convincing, think about this: When Charles Walker was state Senate majority leader, he often tried to get Columbia County separated from the Augusta Judicial Circuit. Why? Because the district attorney can investigate corruption, bring charges against a crooked politician and not have to worry about offending the official’s Richmond County voter base because Columbia County is a conservative anchor in the circuit.
On Election Day, Columbia County spreads its conservative influence over the whole three-county area in the race for district attorney. But Richmond County outnumbers us almost 2 to 1 in registered voters. That’s why you’ve got to get to the polls this election. It’s close enough for you to be worried.
Vote for Ashley Wright, our honest, tough-on-crime prosecutor who needs no on-the-job training. Wright is one of the few things crooked politicians have to fear, and she’s standing between us and those who might not always work for the public good. Keep her standing there. Go vote.
(Barry Fleming is an attorney with Fleming and Nelson LLP and representative-elect for State House District 121.)