Rep. Taylor speaks at Tea Party meeting

Some Decatur County citizens had the opportunity to potentially meet their future state representative Monday evening, as State Rep. Darlene Taylor (R-Thomasville) spoke to the Bainbridge Tea Party.

Decatur County’s current state representative is Gene Maddox, a Republican from Grady County, who has elected not to run for re-election next year. The county currently lies entirely in District 172.

A planned redistricting will split Decatur County’s representation into two different districts — the northern half will be in District 171, while the southern half will be in District 173. District 172 will be shifted east to include parts of Colquitt and Tift counties.

Taylor represents the current District 173, which contains parts of Thomas County, Cairo and Whigham, and if re-elected she would continue to represent that district if it expands to encompass southern Decatur County. District 171 is currently represented by Jay Powell, an attorney from Camilla, Ga.

Taylor is a businesswoman who said she was called into politics by friends and family members who convinced her to run.

“I tried to come up with every reason in the world why I couldn’t do it, but God would knock down every obstacle that was in the way,” she said. “Finally I was convinced it’s what He was calling me to do.”

Taylor described herself as a “grandma with grit,” and said she did not go to Atlanta to make friends.

“If there’s a bill that I don’t like, I will vote ‘no’ and I don’t care if I’m the only one who votes no,” she said. “I don’t want any new laws that are senseless and hurt our citizens.”

She said that when her business needs something, like a new computer, she will go out and sell an account or product to make that purchase possible. She noted that government doesn’t always operate by the same common-sense business standards.

“Our government often writes bad checks, and then comes to the back pockets of the taxpayers to bail the government out,” she said.

Taylor explained that the redistricting was necessary because of a population increase in the 2010 Census. She said that the southwest region of Georgia lost population overall, which explained why the districts had to grow in size to encompass more area.

“I know that everyone would like their own county self-contained, but that wasn’t possible,” she said. “There are several districts where you have representatives of the same party who are pitted against each other for one seat now. It’s a mess, and very few people are happy with the new map, but it’s what we’ve got right now.”

Taylor said the U.S. Department of Justice must approve the new redistricting map, and it is likely they will not approve it until as late as March 2012. It is also possible the federal government could throw the map out entirely and re-draw the lines, but she did not think that would be the case.

“I don’t think there is any gerrymandering or other shenanigans like there was in past years,” she said. “It’s a fair map, overall. I’m just happy that they did a good job of keeping the rural counties together with each other. We are all agricultural-based and have a lot more in common with each other than we do with larger cities.”

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