Two Democratic candidates compete in District 29 Georgia state senator race

Published 11:30 am Saturday, May 14, 2022

Frederick Manley and Ellen Wright, candidates for state Senate District 29,  participated in a candidate forum Tuesday hosted by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce for the District 29 Georgia state senator race. Questions were asked on a large range of topics, including parental education rights, the recently enacted constitutional carry law and gambling. The winner will go against Republican Randy Robertson in November. Robertson is unopposed in the primary.

The 2½-hour event, co-sponsored by The LaGrange Daily News, was the first time the candidates had shared a stage to voice why voters should choose them in the May 24 Democratic primary election.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the topics discussed Tuesday:

GAMBLING

The candidates had similar opinions on constitutional carry and the Parental Bill of Rights, but their answers varied on the question centered on the possibility of legalizing gambling in the state of Georgia.

While both agreed that they would support the legalization of gambling if their constituents supported the notion, Manley was far more hesitant.

“Of course, it would stimulate the economy, and if you look at studies of other cities, that is what it has done. Now, as far as whether a person agrees with that or not; it’s not the way I would do it, but I have to vote for what my citizens want,” Manley said.

On the other hand, Wright was very supportive of the notion and saw no issue with bringing gambling to Georgia.

“People are already gambling at the grocery stores when they see the lotto numbers, or the Powerball numbers, or the Cash Five numbers,” Wright said. “All you are doing is adding another form of gambling … it’s not really that much different, you are just adding other streams of revenue.”

CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY

There was more accord on other issues, with both candidates saying that the passage of the constitutional carry law in Georgia was dangerous.

“Undoubtedly, people will try to solve their arguments with the use of weapons, and they will claim that it is their constitutional right,” Wright said. “I worry about what is going to happen to the citizens of this county, and its law officers.”

Manley, after a long pause, said he wished the law had not changed, calling it “troublesome.”

Parents Bill of Rights

In regards to House Bill 1178, which gives parents the right to review and critique education curriculum, both Manley and Wright said the bill was problematic. According to Manley, the bill was created in response to the controversial discussion of Critical Race Theory and that its passing results in unnecessary stress on teachers and staff.

“As we all know, Critical Race Theory is not taught in elementary through high school, not even in colleges. Usually you run into it in law school. I am just sad that that was pumped up to be something it’s not,” Manley said.

“It’s going to cause stress and chaos on the teachers.”

Wright said teachers are taught how to teach and what they should be teaching in a fair and equitable fashion.

“Parents do have a right to know what their children are being taught, but I have a problem with parents telling teachers what to teach because a good many of these parents are people who, perhaps, were not A-B students themselves, and, perhaps, do not understand the subject matter as well as they should,” Wright said.

OTHER TOPICS

Both candidates concluded their forum by reiterating why they were the ideal candidate for the job.

Wright mentioned her past work with regulatory issues as a managing nurse and  committed herself to the audience as a dedicated candidate.

On the other hand, Manley discussed the state of our government on a national scale, and said that he was the man to fix it.

“People are trying to help us lose our democracy, and that’s not something we should stand for … We want to send people to the Capitol and stop the clown show, and I believe that I will be serious and focused to get the job done,” Manley said.

Election Day is May 24 and polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To check your voting precinct, as well as to check your voter registration, visit https://mvp.sos.ga.gov/s/.