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"Now she rests in God’s loving arms beside her beloved husband."

Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox issued the following statement today upon the death of Mrs. Coretta Scott King:

“The passing of Coretta Scott King is a loss not only to our community and to Georgia, but to the nation and the entire world. To her final hours, Mrs. King’s unwavering commitment to non-violence, justice, civil and human rights burned bright: a beacon of hope that reached every corner of the world.

“During Dr. King’s life, Mrs. King was a full and essential partner in her husband’s work to make good America’s promise of freedom and equality for all. Her quiet strength, her strong faith and her commitment to family was the bedrock upon which Dr. King built his timeless legacy.

“Mrs. King’s journey, which began on a small Alabama farm more than 78 years ago, was remarkable and unmistakably American. Before that journey had ended, she had counseled presidents, popes, prime ministers and religious leaders on every continent. Her relentless devotion to Dr. King’s legacy was the driving force behind the creation of the King Center, the King federal holiday, and countless initiatives here and abroad to teach and spread the Gospel of justice and non-violence.

“I was blessed to know her and benefit from her counsel. I join with millions of Americans in praying for God’s comfort for her children and all the members of her loving family.

“Now she rests in God’s loving arms beside her beloved husband. Of this we may be certain: Her eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
Posted by: Morton Brilliant
01:00 PM January 31
Comment [1]

Cathy Cox Kicks Off Campaign Tour

Cathy Cox kicked off her Campaign Tour Thursday on the steps of the state Capitol. The legislators stood with Cathy as she told the public about her plans to meet with people in the Atlanta community and across the state to promote her reform agenda. Even though it was a chilly morning, the crowd was lively. Chants and cheers filled the air as Cathy waved to the crowd leaving the Gold Dome behind her and headed to her first stop at the Atlanta Job Corps.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ponder
08:02 PM January 27
Comment [1]

Reforming Georgia's Government

For all of the talk from our government’s leaders about ethics reform, we have seen our government become less accountable and ethical

Instead of working for all Georgians, our government has become focused on helping the insiders. Under the Perdue administration, corporations have underwritten research to benefit their bottom lines. And within the last two weeks, we saw the need for change when Governor Perdue’s political team forced out our state’s top non-partisan ethics watchdog.

We can do better.

Today I unveiled my plan to promote government reform, accountability and responsibility. This far-reaching proposal will close the revolving door of government, put ethics law enforcement in the hands of a truly independent body, create a tough code of ethics, and reform the way state contracting is done.

You can download your own copy of the plan by clicking here .

Among the specifics of this plan are proposals to:

• Make the State Ethics Commission and the State Elections Board non-political and independent, with their members appointed by the judiciary rather than the governor, House and Senate leadership or political parties.

• Keep partisan politics out of county-wide offices so people are more effectively served.

• Prohibit corporations from underwriting state research that could benefit their own bottom line.

• Require Legislators and state elected officials to disclose whether their personal business or their employer has done business with the state in the past five years or is soliciting business with the state.

• Create an independent State Contracting Standards Board.

I hope that you will take a few minutes to download this plan and share your thoughts with me. I will need your support to make these changes a reality.

We deserve a government that works to create opportunities for all Georgians, not just the insiders. My plan will make government more accountable to the people it serves.

Thank you again for all the help you have provided to our campaign. This is just the first of several plans that we will lay out during this campaign. But none of them can come to be without your continued involvement and support.


Cathy Cox

Posted by: Morton Brilliant
01:03 PM January 17
Comment [10]

In Your Own Words: Perdue and Ethics

When Sonny Perdue’s political team forced out the state’s top non-partisan ethics, we asked you to send a message to the Governor.

And did you ever.

Over the last 24 hours, hundreds of you signed our petition. These are just a few of your comments:

“I am disappointed that your office is playing partisan games. It is alarming that you mounted a partisan attack on the Ethics Commission and that you next plan to reinstate partisan elections for judges. As a lawyer, I can tell you that party politics has no place in the justice system. We need impartial and independant judges who dispense justice without anyone pulling their strings.”
“This is just another attempt at unethical political manuevering to sabatoge honesty in government.”
“Governor Perdue needs to stop trying to control all branches of the government and become more responsible about the decisions that fall within his constitutional powers. He called Gov. Barnes ‘King Roy’ but it looks as though he wants to be ‘Emperor Sonny’. Hopefully, we can have a change in administrations in 2006.”
“Governor Perdue,
I voted for you because of your promises on integrity and efficiency in government. Your personal integrity record does not seem clean. You defend the unethical practices of those you have appointed. You dropped the ball with weak ethics legislation. Accountability is a wonderful thing, and I plan to use it when I vote for governor.”
“The ethics commission should not be a partisan political entity. To be viable it must operate as a non-partisan, objective instrument of our government honoring the intent of the law and rules governing our political process.”

There’s still time to make your voices heard. Sign the petition today.

Posted by: Morton Brilliant
11:59 AM January 06
Comment [3]

Perdue Chastised for Interfering

Saying that “there is legitimate reason now to fear that selection of the University System’s next chancellor might have more to do with politics than probity,” today’s Athens Banner-Herald took Sonny Perdue to task for meddling. The paper also observed that his activites once again raise the whiff of insider dealings.

Full article here.

Posted by: Morton Brilliant
01:07 PM December 06
Comment [1]

Herschel Walker: "It's Not the Party, it's the Person."

Picture of Herschel Walker and Cathy Cox

On the eve of the SEC Championship, Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker joined Cathy Cox for a reception to endorse her campaign for Governor. UGA football fans came together Friday night to meet Herschel Walker, offer their support to Cathy Cox, and cheer on the GA Bulldogs to victory.

Herschel Walker praised Cathy’s roots in rural Georgia and cited their shared commitment to small town values. Calling Cathy Cox “the best one for the job,” he said “it’s not the party, it’s the person.”

Posted by: Elizabeth Ponder
01:34 PM December 05
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Cathy Cox in Newnan

Cathy Cox recently brought her message of change to Newnan. The event brought together Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Among the hosts were two former GOP members of the Georgia Legislature, Neal Shepard and Donna Brooks.

During her address to those gathered, Cox said: “This isn’t about being Republican or Democrat,” she said. “It’s about working with everyone to get things done.”

The full story from the Newnan Times-Herald can be found here

Posted by: David McLaughlin
01:51 PM December 01

New Poll Results

A Macon television station has released a new poll. This appears to be the first public poll of the race focusing exclusively on one region of the state. Some highlights from this look at Middle Georgia:

Only 41% of Middle Georgians rate Perdue’s job performance as good. The remainder have no opinion or rate his performance as poor.
Perdue’s re-elect is at 39%.
In a head-to-head matchup between Cathy Cox and Mark Taylor in the Democratic primary, Cox defeats Taylor by 57% to 19%.
In potential general election matchups against Perdue, Cox polls 26 points better against Perdue than Taylor does.

The full television report can be found here (note: report on governor’s race appears after segment about President Bush’s numbers).

N.B.: Although this poll is consistent with others, remember that the only poll that counts is the one on election day.

Posted by: Morton Brilliant
02:48 PM November 21
Comment [1]

Teachers for Cathy Cox

Saturday morning, teachers and principals gathered together to show their support for Cathy Cox. Introduced by her sister Karen Cox, a principal in the Fulton County school system, Cathy addressed some of the concerns that school teachers are facing today.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ponder
04:54 PM November 20
Comment [4]

Salutes and "Grave Concerns:" More from Macon

Sometimes, the funniest things don’t actually make it into the main story. Some more tidbits from Cathy Cox’s appearance in Macon on Friday:

When Bibb County Magistrate Billy Randall introduced Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox during Friday’s Politics & Lunch meeting, he drew some laughs over his nickname for her: General Cox. Randall explained that once while he and she were state legislators, they ended up on opposite sides of a bill concerning child support issues. Acting with military efficiency, Cox rallied female House members to her side and outflanked Randall. “She whipped those ladies into shape, and they whipped me really good,” Randall said.

Much was also made of Cathy’s childhood home—which was located just over the family’s funeral parlor in Bainbridge.

During her Friday talk, Cox said her south Georgia upbringing was idyllic but odd – odd because she grew up at her family’s funeral home. “You don’t know there’s anything odd about it except none of your girlfriends want to spend the night,” she said.

You can read the full political notebook here.

Posted by: Morton Brilliant
03:06 PM November 20

On the Ground in Macon

Speaking to an overflow crowd in Macon, Cathy Cox took on Georgia’s current political leaders for failing to put the needs of all citizens first.

“This is not government working for everybody,” she said. “This is government working for some special interests.”

Recently, the Perdue Adminsitration ignored the concerns of teachers, doctors, retirees and other state employees, and made changes to the state’s health plan that threatened the quality of health care throughout large parts of Georgia. Cathy cited this as another example of how our current leaders are failing us all.

Cox said she wants a state government that puts education, economic development and the needs of all residents ahead of partisan one-upmanship. “That is not happening in our state Capitol today,” she said. “Right now I do not believe that government is working for everybody in this state.”

The full article can be found here.

Posted by: Morton Brilliant
02:00 PM November 19

On the Road with Cathy Cox

Cathy Cox returned to south Georgia on Monday to visit with friends in Valdosta. Both young and old came out in support of Cathy and her campaign for change. Leaving Valdosta, Cathy stopped in Savannah at the County Officials Association of Georgia Convention to speak with Sheriffs, Tax Commissioners, Probate Judges, and Clerks.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ponder
05:06 PM November 16


Cathy Cox was back in Tifton last night visiting the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, her alma mater. You can read more about her trip here.

Posted by: Morton Brilliant
03:10 PM November 02
Comment [1]

Weekend Report

Cathy Cox spent yesterday meeting with elected officials and community leaders in Albany at GABEO’s fall conference. This afternoon, she’ll be at the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500.

Posted by: Morton Brilliant
12:30 PM October 30

Cathy Cox in Macon

Cathy Cox spoke yesterday at the Funeral Service Practitioners Association’s meeting in Macon. Because Cox’s father ran the local funeral home in Bainbridge, Cathy has a special connection with this group. She spoke about the status of recent and upcoming bills that will be affecting their services, and then fielded questions from the audience.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ponder
10:55 AM October 19

Cathy Cox Returns Home For Harvest Festival

This past Saturday Cathy Cox traveled south to visit with friends and family in her home corner of the state. As Grand Marshal of the Harvest Festival Parade in Donalsonville, Cathy greeted people from Seminole, Decatur, Miller and Early Counties. After the parade, the Opening Ceremonies were held downtown. Cathy kicked off the festival with a welcome and greetings.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ponder
10:38 AM October 17
Comment [2]

Cathy Cox Returns to Hall County

Cathy Cox with students from Gainesville High School

On Sunday, Cathy Cox spent the day visiting and speaking with folks in Gainesville. The day began at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, followed by a stop at Gainesville High School. She was the keynote speaker for a reception honoring high school students involved in Generation Inspiration. This initiative was set up by a group of community leaders who wanted to help students by encouraging them and making sure they do not fall behind their peers. Cathy spoke with them about continuing their education and reminded them that “knowledge is power.” The final stop was at the Hall County Democratic Party Headquarters, where many people that Cathy knew when she worked as a reporter in Gainesville came out & gave their support.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ponder
04:49 PM September 21

Shirley Franklin and Cathy Cox Sit Down Together

Cathy Cox with Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin in September 2005

On Wednesday night, the Women’s Forum of Georgia held an event at the Fay Gold Gallery at which Shirley Franklin and Cathy Cox sat down together to discuss some of the issues facing both Atlanta and Georgia. Moderator Alexis Scott asked questions concerning education, housing, voter ID, and the hurricane victims. The Mayor and Gubernatorial Candidate shared their views on these issues before fielding questions from the audience. The audience took advantage of the unique opportunity of having these two leaders together to engage them in conversations that shed light on many issues that are facing our society.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ponder
12:35 AM September 16
Comment [1]

Report from Savannah

Award Winner Frank Wooten and his wife Lois.

Thursday evening Cathy was the keynote speaker at the Annual Toby Buttimer Awards Dinner in Savannah. Following the presentation of the awards, Cathy gave her speech and captured the audience. When the event finished there was a long line of people wishing to speak with her. I spoke to one young lady that was about to finish college. She had never really been interested in politics mainly because she felt that she was not knowledgeable in the area, but was invited to attend so she went. After hearing Cathy speak she wanted to know how she could get involved and signed up to volunteer on the campaign. She said that Cathy had inspired her to explore the world of politics.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ponder
12:50 AM September 13

Support Katrina Victims

There are several outlets for you to help victims of hurricane Katrina. If you’d like to contribute money, there are many options. Three of them include the Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry and Homeless Fund, the Bush Clinton Katrina Fund and the American Red Cross. Every dollar helps.

If your religious congregation wants to help Katrina victims, please visit this clearinghouse site and register. The Atlanta Journal Constitution is also offering a clearinghouse site for folks who want to help in the Atlanta area. Finally, if you want a host of options, you can consult this extensive list of charitable agencies.

Posted by: Morton Brilliant
06:21 PM September 06


More on Perdue Vulnerability

Be sure to read this interesting article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The headline pretty much sums it up: “Perdue no ‘06 shoo-in, experts say. Depth of support questioned.”

Posted by: Morton Brilliant
02:03 PM September 06
Comment [1]

Georgia Gang Talks Up Governor's Race

In case you missed it, this morning’s Georgia Gang featured a discussion of the Governor’s race. Recent poll numbers from a GOP-leaning firm once again highlighted the appeal of Cathy Cox’s message across party lines. In the poll, Sonny Perdue was at 43% against Cathy Cox, who had a 25 point lead in the Democratic primary.

Panelists pointed out that Perdue’s numbers lagged behind those of former Governor Barnes at this point in his reelection campaign.

Of course, the usual caveat applies: there’s still a long way to go until the election. We’re working hard every day. You should too.

Posted by: Morton Brilliant
01:56 PM August 28


Nearly Two-Thirds of House Democrats Endorse Cathy Cox

In the largest single endorsement yet in the 2006 gubernatorial campaign, 51 Democrats in the Georgia House of Representatives (plus one independent state Representative) have announced their support for Cathy Cox, who is herself a former rural legislator. This broad and diverse group of Representatives runs the gamut from freshman legislators to long-time House members. They also hail from every region of Georgia.

�Our campaign is about making government work for all the people of Georgia, and I am honored to have so many legislative leaders embracing our call,� said Cathy Cox.

Recent polling demonstrated Cathy Cox�s strength throughout Georgia, revealing that she leads among every demographic and regional group in the Democratic electorate � whites and African-Americans, men and women, young and old, rural, suburban and urban.

�I am honored to have such strong support across Georgia,� said Cox. Cathy Cox also outraised her primary opponent by more than $600,000 during the recent fundraising quarter.

House members endorsing Cathy Cox:

Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam (District 74, Clayton, Fayette)
Rep. Alberta J. Anderson (District 123, Burke, Richmond)
Rep. Kathy Ashe (District 56, Fulton)
Rep. Mike Barnes (District 78, Clayton, Henry)
Rep. Sharon Beasley-Teague (District 65, Fulton)
Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (District 85, Dekalb)
Rep. Tom Bordeaux (District 162, Chatham)
Rep. Debbie Buckner (District 130, Harris, Muscogee, Talbot)
Rep. Gail Buckner (District 76, Clayton)
Rep. Mike Cheokas (District 134, Marion, Schley, Sumter, Talbot)
Rep. Terry Coleman (District 144, Ben Hill, Bleckley, Dodge, Pulaski, Wilcox)
Rep. Bill Cummings (District 16, Floyd, Polk)
Rep. Douglas Dean (District 59, Fulton)
Rep. Ron Dodson (Independent) (District 75, Clayton)
Rep. Karla Drenner (District 86, Dekalb)
Rep. Carl Von Epps (District 128, Meriwether, Troup)
Rep. Hugh Floyd (District 99, Gwinnett)
Rep. Virgil Fludd (District 66, Fayette, Fulton)
Rep. Pat Gardner (District 57, Dekalb, Fulton)
Rep. Joe Heckstall (District 62, Clayton, Fulton)
Rep. Keith Heard (District 114, Clarke)
Rep. Michele Henson (District 87, Dekalb)
Rep. Bob Holmes (District 61, Fulton)
Rep. Henry Howard (District 121, Richmond)
Rep. Sistie Hudson (District 124, Hancock, Glascock, McDuffie, Putnam, Taliaferro, Warren)
Rep. Carolyn F Hugley (District 133, Muscogee)
Rep. Mike Jacobs (District 80, Dekalb)
Rep. Lynmore James (District 135, Dooly, Macon, Peach, Talbot, Taylor)
Rep. Jeanette Jamieson (District 28, Banks, Stephens, Franklin)
Rep. Charles Jenkins (District 8, Rabun, Towns, Union, White)
Rep. Darryl Jordan (District 77, Clayton, Fayette)
Rep. Jimmy Lord (District 142, Burke, Emanuel, Jefferson, Johnson, Washington)
Rep. David Lucas (District 139, Bibb)
Rep. Randal Mangham (District 94, Dekalb, Rockdale)
Rep. Pedro Marin (District 96, Gwinnett)
Rep. Jo Ann McClinton (District 84, Dekalb)
Rep. Billy Mitchell (District 88, Dekalb, Gwinnett)
Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan (District 39, Cobb)
Rep. Howard Mosby (District 90, Dekalb, Henry)
Rep. Quincy Murphy (District 120, Richmond)
Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (District 83, Dekalb)
Rep. Nan Orrock (District 58, Dekalb, Fulton)
Rep. Bobby Parham (District 141, Baldwin, Putnam)
Rep. Alan Powell (District 29, Franklin, Hart, Madison)
Rep. Nikki Randall (District 138, Bibb)
Rep. Ron Sailor, Jr. (District 93, Dekalb, Rockdale)
Rep. Jay Shaw (District 176, Berrien, Clinch, Lanier, Lowndes)
Rep. Paul Smith (District 13, Floyd)
Rep. Brian W. Thomas (District 100, Gwinnett)
Rep. Pete Warren (District 122, Richmond)
Rep. Stan Watson (District 91, Dekalb, Henry)
Rep. �Coach� Earnest Williams (District 89, Dekalb)

Posted by: Morton Brilliant
05:43 PM August 23


Sen. Curt Thompson Endorses!

A majority of Georgia’s Democratic legislators have endorsed Cathy Cox. In a message to supporters, Senator Curt Thompson explained his decision:

My name is Curt Thompson. I represent District 5 in the Georgia State Senate, and like you, I am endorsing Cathy Cox.

We�re not alone.

A majority of Georgia�s Democratic legislators have joined Cathy Cox�s campaign. Over 6000 of our fellow Georgians have signed up to volunteer. And the list grows every day.

We each have our reasons for supporting her. If you will give me just a few minutes of your time, I will tell you why I�m endorsing Cathy Cox and her campaign for change.

Cathy Cox is the only one who can defeat Sonny Perdue and make our government work for all Georgians. She represents the best of Georgia: the value of a small-town upbringing, the solace and strength found in personal faith, and the enduring power of principles like responsibility, opportunity, and progress.

I know Cathy Cox well. I�ve watched her serve as a tough and effective leader.

Her first action as Secretary of State was to move the largest division of her office out of Atlanta, saving tax dollars and bringing the resources of government closer to the people it serves. She stood up to scam artists and protected us against investor fraud. And she has returned hundreds of thousands of dollars to the taxpayers every single year she�s been in office.

I�m proud to join you as a part of her campaign.

My personal pledge to the residents of District 5 is that �your voice counts.� With your help, Cathy Cox will be the kind of Governor who makes everyone�s voice counts.


Senator Curt Thompson

Posted by: Morton Brilliant
03:34 PM August 23

Example Latest Article

This article should appear on the front page. The excerpt is what actually ends up showing on the front page.

Posted by: Blue State Digital Support
01:53 PM August 23


Democrats serve up barbecue, politics

Democrats serve up barbecue, politics
Macon Telegraph
August 22, 2005

BYRON – About 125 or so Democrats from Middle Georgia braved the blistering heat Sunday afternoon to take in some barbecue and politicking.

The event at Jailhouse Alley Park brought together party faithful from Houston, Bibb, Peach and Crawford counties, and candidates for statewide offices, including gubernatorial hopeful and current Secretary of State Cathy Cox.

“I’m here to meet some good friends,” Cox said. “I’m running for governor to change the tune and tone of politics in Georgia.”

Cox said a change is needed in state government to make it more responsive to all, not just to special interests or those with a lot of money.

“I will be the No. 1 sales agent for the state to bring in the great private sector jobs of the 21st century,” she said. “We Democrats are for economic development for the rest of Georgia, not just Atlanta.”

The party has to appeal to the middle of the road voter who wants government to work for them and their families, she said.

Carol Jackson of Cleveland, a candidate for secretary of state, said state Democrats face the challenge of improving education, which has been hit with budget cuts the past four years, attracting new businesses to the state and ensuring valid elections.

“Let’s get a paper trail for our voting machines,” Jackson said.

Macon lawyer Russell Boston, Democratic chairman for the 3rd Congressional District, helped organize the event and served as master of ceremonies.

In his opening remarks, Boston said the Democratic party was the only one concerned with working men and women in the country.

“We stand for labor, making a living wage in a safe place to work, public education, unfettered right to vote, and safe food, water and air,” Boston said. “I tell you, if Jesus were to return today he would be a moderate Democrat, not a neoconservative Republican.”

In addition to Cox and Jackson, other candidates in attendance included lawmaker Jim Martin, lieutenant governor; Rhyam Reddy of Atlanta, secretary of state; Angela Moore of Lithonia, secretary of state; Carlotta Harrell of Stockbridge, state superintendent of schools.

Wilhemenia Jackson Sibley of Warner Robins said she was there to support Cox’s candidacy.

“I think it’s time for us to have a lady governor, a Democratic lady governor who can make sound decisions for all of us and keep her promises,” Sibley said. “The challenge for the Democrat party is getting voters to the polls.”

Frank Patterson of Macon, a member of the Macon Water Authority, brought along his 14-year-old grandson, Shelby Phan, a student at Jones County High School.

Patterson said the Democrats need to bring their message to the grassroots level and stay positive in their campaigns. He said the U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall-Calder Clay contest last year spurred his grandson’s interest in politics.

“The negative campaigning demeaned the process,” Phan said, adding that he doesn’t see that much political involvement yet on the part of his classmates.

Martin said the party needs to take the same message back to the grassroots level.

“Democrats are for quality health care, economic development and good public education,” Martin said.

Good schools and good educators deserve the public’s support, he said, because Georgians are competing globally for jobs.

Martin added he felt that in Georgia, learning to speak Spanish “is going to be critical for success in the 21st century.”

All candidates agreed that a united party and a clear message would resonate with voters next year.

State Rep. Robert Ray, D-Fort Valley, struck a bipartisan note.

“I get along with people in both parties. It’s good to work together,” Ray said. “I vote the issues, not the party.”

Posted by: David McLaughlin
03:41 PM August 22


Smith, Cummings endorse Cox

Smith, Cummings endorse Cox

Associated Press: Published in the Rome News Tribune

More than 50 Democrats in the Georgia House, including Reps. Paul Smith, D-Rome, and Bill Cummings, D-Rockmart, have endorsed Secretary of State Cathy Cox in her bid for the Democratic nomination for governor next year, her campaign announced Tuesday.

``Our campaign is about making government work for all the people of Georgia, and I am honored to have so many legislative leaders embracing our call,’’ Cox said in a statement distributed by her campaign.

Among those endorsing Cox was Rep. Terry Coleman, D-Eastman, the former speaker of the House. Coleman ran the chamber from 2003 until this past January, when Republicans took control for the first time since Reconstruction.

Cox is challenging Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor for the right to meet Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue on the November, 2006 ballot.

A Taylor spokesman, Rick Dent, said of the endorsements, ``We will make our case to the people of Georgia in the primary, and look forward to the support of these elected officials in the general election against Gov. Perdue.’’

Cox, who is serving her second term as Secretary of State, is a former member of the House, as was her late father.

Posted by: David McLaughlin
03:47 PM August 10


Poll shows Cox with early lead

Poll shows Cox with early lead
Albany Herald
Dave Williams

ATLANTA � Gwinnett County political consultant Ralph Reed is well ahead of state Sen. Casey Cagle in the first poll of next year’s Republican race for lieutenant governor.

The independent poll, conducted last weekend, also shows Secretary of State Cathy Cox continuing to lead Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor in the Democratic gubernatorial contest, while Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue’s job-approval rating continues to hover at just less than 50 percent.

Reed, a former national head of the Christian Coalition seeking public office for the first time, led Cagle 45 percent to 32 percent, with 23 percent undecided, according to the survey conducted by Strategic Vision LLC, an Atlanta-based public affairs firm.

“Republicans want to elect a balanced-budget, tax-cutting, pro-family candidate for lieutenant governor,” said Reed campaign spokeswoman Lisa Baron. “Ralph is that candidate, and that is why he is earning such strong early support.”

The Cagle camp, however, seized upon the response to another poll question showing that 35 percent of the respondents view Reed unfavorably, compared to just an 11 percent unfavorable rating for Cagle.

Brad Alexander, spokesman for the Cagle campaign, blamed Reed’s “negatives” on publicity surrounding the payment of more than $4 million to his consulting firm, Century Strategies of Duluth, to help galvanize public opposition to Indian casinos in Texas and Louisiana. Reed has said he was unaware of the money’s source, which turned out to be other tribes that didn’t want competition for their own casinos.

“Ralph starts with very high negatives that are only going to grow as he refuses to offer an honest and coherent explanation of his disappointing behavior since leaving the Christian Coalition and becoming a high-paid special-interest lobbyist,” Alexander said.

Cagle’s biggest challenge would appear to be building name recognition. When the poll asked respondents whether they view him favorably, 54 percent said they were undecided.

The poll also showed Cox leading Taylor in the Democratic gubernatorial primary race, 48 percent to 39 percent, similar to results from earlier polls.

However, Perdue led both in head-to-head match-ups. The governor was ahead of Taylor, 50 percent to 42 percent, and held a smaller lead over Cox, 49 percent to 46 percent, within the poll’s 3-percent margin of error.

At the same time, Perdue’s job-approval rating in the poll of 800 registered Georgia voters stood at 49 percent. Conventional political wisdom holds that incumbents who are below 50 percent in that category could be in danger.

“That drives up optimism for your opponents,” said Merle Black, a political science professor at Emory University. “It’s cause for concern.”

But Nick Ayers, executive director of Perdue’s re-election campaign, said 18 months before Election Day is way too soon to be worried about poll numbers.

“The governor is not focused on polls. He is focused on education and creating jobs,” Ayers said.

“Cathy and Mark are going to have a spirited Democratic primary. While they’re campaigning, Sonny’s going to continue to create jobs and improve education.”


Do you approve or disapprove of Gov. Sonny Perdue’s job performance?

Approve 49 percent
Disapprove 43 percent
Undecided 8 percent

If the Democratic primary for governor were between Secretary of State Cathy Cox or Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, whom would you support? (Democrats only)

Cathy Cox 48 percent
Mark Taylor 39 percent
Undecided 13 percent

If the election for governor were held today, would you support Sonny Perdue, the Republican, or Mark Taylor, the Democrat?

Sonny Perdue 50 percent
Mark Taylor 42 percent
Undecided 8 percent

If the election were held today, would you support Sonny Perdue, the Republican, or Cathy Cox, the Democrat?

Sonny Perdue 49 percent
Cathy Cox 46 percent
Undecided 5 percent

If the Republican primary for lieutenant governor were between Ralph Reed and Casey Cagle, whom would you support? (Republicans only)

Ralph Reed 45 percent
Casey Cagle 32 percent
Undecided 23 percent

Source: Strategic Vision LLC

Posted by: David McLaughlin
03:56 PM May 18

Poll finds Perdue, Cox dead even in race for governor

Poll finds Perdue, Cox dead even in race for governor
Atlanta Journal Constitution
James Salzer
Tuesday, April 27, 2005

AJC Poll
If the election for Governor were held today and the candidiates were Republican Sonny Perdue and Democrat Cathy Cox, for whom would you vote?

Cox: 43%
Perdue: 43%
Not Sure: 14%

If the election for Governor were held today and the candidiates were Republican Sonny Perdue and Democrat Mark Taylor, for whom would you vote?

Perdue: 48%
Taylor: 35%
Not Sure: 17%

As fund-raising begins in earnest for the 2006 governor’s race, a new poll suggests Secretary of State Cathy Cox starts with a stronger chance of ousting Gov. Sonny Perdue than does her Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor.

In a Zogby International poll for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cox was dead even with Perdue, Georgia’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction. Perdue, meanwhile, was 13 percentage points ahead of Taylor in a head-to-head matchup.

The poll gave Cox a lead over Taylor among respondents who identified themselves as Democrats. Those two are expected to face off in the Democratic primary. Perdue so far has no announced Republican opposition. The poll of 501 likely voters was conducted Thursday and Friday.

The poll gives Perdue reason to pause, as well as to crow.

Just under half of respondents think the state is headed in the right direction. Political experts usually say incumbents need that figure to be above 50 percent � or at least heading up � to ensure re-election. In addition, about 48 percent think Perdue is doing a good or excellent job. Again, campaign strategists like to see that number over 50 percent.

However, 68 percent of poll participants said they had a favorable impression of Perdue, who has come across as a friendly everyman during his first 2 1/2 years in office, making up for legislative setbacks with a common touch.

Matt Towery, an Atlanta political strategist and former Republican legislator, said it is not unusual for poll respondents to give political figures higher personal approval ratings than job assessments.

“When you start asking about job approval, you get them [respondents] to think more,” he said.

Cox also had a high approval rating, 62 percent, while 47 percent had a favorable impression of Taylor.

The promising numbers could help Cox make up some of the fund-raising ground she has ceded to Taylor, who raised $1.3 million in the final nine months of 2004, while Cox didn’t start collecting money until this year.

“This will really produce a new conventional wisdom about the Democrat primary,” Emory University political scientist Merle Black said of the AJC poll.

Margaret Sanders, 41, of Norcross, a poll respondent who works in the finance department at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, said she leaned toward Cox even though she thought the state was heading, slowly, in the right direction.

“I think maybe because she’s a woman, she will tackle education and family issues,” said Sanders, who added that she thought Perdue had done a good job. “Maybe it’s that Southern blood, but I’m a Democrat.”

Freddy Johnson, 68, a retiree from suburban Augusta, told pollsters he supported Perdue.

“I think he has tried to get the economy going in the right direction,” Johnson said. “I know he does not go for abortion on demand. I know he is not for the homosexual agenda.”

While Cox only recently began raising money, her face probably was seen more on TV last year than Perdue’s or Taylor’s because of a media blitz targeting investor fraud that her office ran for several months. The ads were paid for by the private Investor Protection Trust. Critics charged that she used the money to further her political ambitions.

Morton Brilliant, Cox’s campaign manager, said of the poll: “It’s very early, but already it looks like the numbers bear out what we hear, that folks like Cathy’s message of change. Folks have been watching Perdue and Taylor running things the past few years, and they are not happy with what they’re doing.”

Rick Dent, a consultant for Taylor’s campaign, responded: “This poll is just another in a long series of polls that show Sonny Perdue is extremely vulnerable to our Democratic candidates. And we believe in the next 18 months, Mark Taylor’s record of protecting HOPE scholarships, creating jobs and expanding family health care, and his ability to get things done, will prevail over both Cox and Perdue.”

Nick Ayers, who runs Perdue’s re-election campaign, said he expected a close race between the incumbent and the Democratic nominee. But he found good news in Perdue’s popularity numbers.

“Georgians overwhelmingly support Sonny because he’s conservative, principled and has a mainstream agenda for the state,” Ayers said. “Mark and Cathy have both enjoyed good poll numbers in the past, but now they’ll have to answer tough questions about how they stand on issues like gay marriage and the voter ID bill.”

Black, the Emory expert, said the fact that fewer than half of the respondents say Perdue is doing a good or excellent job provides Democrats with reason for hope.

“If he were running with two-thirds of people saying he is doing a good job, it would look bleak for Democrats,” he said.

Posted by: David McLaughlin
11:19 PM April 27


"I won't vote for." by Dan Ponder

The following is the speech Donalsonville businessman and Cathy Cox�s campaign manager, Dan Ponder, delivered during Cox�s kick-off rally for her 2006 gubernatorial race Tuesday in Willis Park in Bainbridge.

What a pleasure and an honor it is for me to be here today to offer my endorsement and support to Cathy Cox as Georgia�s next governor. When I left politics five years ago, I would never have imagined that I would become actively involved in a statewide race. I was content to be involved on a more local level with the races of several Republicans, including Saxby Chambless, Johnny Isakson and George Bush.

So today, I want to answer the question that many of you have on your mind. What is a Republican, with solid credentials in his party�s politics, doing chairing the campaign of a Democrat for governor?

It is a question that I love to answer because it gives me the opportunity to say why I believe that Georgia needs Cathy Cox as our next governor.

I believe that our state, and indeed our country, have succumbed to the politics of divisiveness, where honest debate and opinion takes a back seat to partisan politics. Personal attacks are accepted. Power is the paramount concern. Honest dissent, even within parties, is viewed with scorn and often not tolerated by leadership.

I believe that what is best for Georgia can indeed be what is best for all Georgians, regardless of their geographic location, their race, their socio-economic status or their party. I believe that we can hold those that represent us to a higher standard of governance, where bridges are built and not burned.

At very few times in history, does a person in political life arrive at a time and place that is made for their skills and training. I believe that Georgia is ready to make history by electing a person that does not represent the Republican Party, the Democratic Party or the Libertarian Party, but rather who openly runs on a platform of working with and for Georgians, all Georgians.

I won�t vote for Cathy Cox because she is a liberal or conservative. I will vote for her because she graduated from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, the University of Georgia School of Journalism and the Mercer University School of Law. She understands the role that education must take in our state�s future. She is a person with experience and values that transcends labels and enables her to see our state from different perspectives.

I won�t vote for Cathy Cox because she is from a small town, but rather because she also moves easily within the metro areas of our state. She grew up with small-town values, but understands the importance of Atlanta and other cities within our state and how for our state to be successful, all areas must prosper and grow.

I won�t vote for Cathy Cox because she was raised in a small family business, but rather because she has overseen an office that deals with the largest corporations within our state. She has taken the Secretary of State�s office to new heights within our state, leading the way by decentralizing offices, increasing efficiency by harnessing the power of the Internet and implementing our hugely successful electronic voting system.

Cathy doesn�t just make promises � she delivers results.

I won�t vote for Cathy Cox because she is a woman, but rather because she is a leader and role model for Georgians, male and female alike. I raised my two daughters to believe that if they set their standards high, worked hard and kept their focus they could be anything they wanted to be, including governor. I won�t vote for Cathy because she is a woman, but I am very proud that Georgia has reached the point in its history where being a woman is not the issue, but rather which person will be the best governor for our state.

I won�t vote for Cathy Cox because she talks about her faith, but rather because she quietly lives her faith without judging others. Her high moral standards and personal character make her a leader of substance leading by example rather than words.

I won�t vote for Cathy Cox because I agree with her on every issue, but rather because she has a vision for this state. She is a big picture thinker who understands politics. To reach our potential as a state, she knows that we must find ways to be more inclusive of all Georgians. It is not about winning, but rather about leading.

And finally, I won�t vote for Cathy Cox because she is a Democrat, but rather because she is a Georgian. She is committed to working with all parties, to building up rather than tearing down, to hearing all sides and to keeping her door open to new ideas and solutions, regardless of who gets credit. Cathy doesn�t just say this, she actually believes it and understands that if we can unite people behind that kind of leadership that we can take Georgia to greater heights than we ever believed possible.

I stand before you today, not as a Republican supporting a Democrat, but rather as a Georgian supporting a Georgian. There is only one call that could have returned me to politics and that is the call of my friend, your neighbor and the right leader for this time in our state�s history.

Cathy Cox. She can be Georgia�s next great governor.�Dan Ponder

Posted by: David McLaughlin
03:15 PM April 22

Cox "Rox" at Kick-off

Cox �Rox� at kick-off
Bainbridge Post Searchlight
April 22, 2005

�We�re for Cathy� signs ringed the square in downtown Bainbridge Tuesday and posters with slogans like �Cox Rox� dotted Willis Park as hundreds of supporters attended the first official gubernatorial campaign rally of native daughter and Georgia�s current Secretary of State Cathy Cox.

Although security was posted in front of the gazebo and throughout the park, Cox walked freely through the welcoming crowd, greeting everyone warmly and occasionally stopping to give someone a hug or bending down to shake hands with even the youngest members of her constituency.

�This is the town square where I grew up. What better place to begin our journey � a journey to building the kind of Georgia that our children and grandchildren deserve,� Cox said.

She said downtown Bainbridge was the playground for her four sisters and herself where they experienced a magical quality of life with safe neighborhoods and streets, close friends and family, good school, thriving churches and businesses.

�Georgia�s future must be just as strong and secure as the Georgia of my childhood�in fact it must be even stronger and more secure,� Cox said.

She said partisan politics is keeping the state from realizing its enormous potential. She wants to make sure all families have access to first-class health care and all children are provided with a world-class education. She also wants to give families more time together by �waging a war on traffic gridlock.�

She proposes a new covenant with Georgia based on responsibility, opportunity and progress. This means setting priorities�including making children No. 1�by investing in education and the teachers who provide it, providing accessible health care and by making communities safe places to raise children.

It also means providing good jobs for Georgia�s children once they have received a good education. She said high-paying jobs can be brought to every corner of Georgia.

Cox said she will lay down the law on spending tax dollars by �spending less and spending smarter� and said she knows how to do that. In the last 10 years she�s been secretary of state, more work than ever is being accomplished with fewer employees in her office than were used a decade ago.

�We will change the way we do business in Georgia and put our customers first,� Cox said. �We will also encourage responsibility, like I did when my office cracked down on deadbeats who didn�t pay child support or student loans. Responsibility is the keystone of our society. That�s a lesson I learned here in Bainbridge, and it�s a value I intend to honor as your governor.�

She closed her remarks by saying, �I still believe that Georgia is the kind of place where a small-town girl can grow up to be governor � and where all our sons and daughters can follow their dreams to be anything they want to be.�

�Let me tell you something�

Newspaper publisher and event emcee, Sam Griffin�whose father, Marvin Griffin of Bainbridge, served as governor of Georgia from 1954 to 1958�introduced several people who endorsed her candidacy.

Colquitt-Miller County Fire Chief Craig Tully was one of those speaking in support of Cox and said he met her when she was getting ready to run for state representative.

One of his best friends, Jimmy Holt, convinced him to let Cox come to the fire department and speak to the crew. Tully said he didn�t want to hear what she had to say, figuring she was just another lady making promises about all she was going to do. But he gave permission for her to come anyway and then was deliberately late for her speech.

�I came in late and she was answering some pretty tough questions from my bunch. They put her very much on-the-spot,� Tully said. �But she handled herself so well, she did something I have never seen anyone else ever do, and that was totally impressed every one of them.�

Cox called Tully�s friend the next day saying she didn�t feel she had done well and Holt told her she did fine but asked for one more favor. He asked Cox to go see Tully and start an argument about anything, it didn�t matter what.

�A couple of days later, I looked up and I said, �Oh, Lord, here comes that woman again.� She came in there and I forget what she picked it on, but she started an argument and it was a good one. She and I argued for two hours or longer,� Tully said. �But let me tell you something. That day, I found out who Cathy Cox was. That day she won my support lock, stock and barrel. I�ll support her in anything she does because I found out who she was and what she stood for.�

Tully said Cox is the kind of person Georgia needs because she demonstrates the leadership needed in the state.

�I generally measure people by just three little things,� Tully said. �I measure them by morals � by character � by integrity. She doesn�t worry about her reputation, or what other people think about her � Cathy Cox has character 100 percent. Her integrity is beyond reproach and she�s not afraid to stand up for the things that are right. I think we are lucky to have her � I am very proud to be called her friend.�

Griffin introduced several other people including City Councilman Luther Conyers, Cox�s Sunday School student Anne Maxwell and Cox�s nephew, Steven Bench.

Conyers said Cox was trained almost from infancy for the task that lies before her now. He said she�s been a hard worker all of her life who ran for the General Assembly and won her late father�s, Walter Cox, seat before going on to become the state�s first female secretary of state.

Maxwell said Cox taught her at the First United Methodist Church and learned from Cox, among other things, that the best way to respect everyone is to view them with love.

�She became a role model for the values we share,� Maxwell said. �As she began to rise through leadership positions in Georgia, she became a hometown hero for me.�

Bench said his �Aunt Cathy� is smart, a good listener and an honest person who cares about others and the state.

�My Aunt Cathy is also gutsy. She put together the plan for our new voting system when nobody in the country was doing anything about their old systems and she made it work,� Bench said. �Heck, with guts like that, she could be on my fantasy football team.�

Bench said Cox always has time to do little things that make a big difference, like cooking his favorite tomato pie with basil.

Campaign chairman Ponder

Ponder began his remarks by saying the toughest crowd he ever faced was the Miller County Fire Department where Tully is chief.

�And I want to thank my good friend, Craig Tully, for pointing out in front of hundreds of my friends and all of the press around the state that Cathy Cox was the only one that ever impressed him,� Ponder said.

Ponder said when he left politics five years ago he never imagined he�d be involved in a statewide race. Even though he is a Republican, he believes it is time to leave partisan politics behind in favor of a united political front to combat the ills currently plaguing the state.

�I believe that Georgia is ready to make history by electing a person that does not represent the Republican Party, the Democratic Party or the Libertarian Party, but rather who openly runs on a platform of working with and for all Georgians,� Ponder said.

He said Cox is such a person who has experience and values that transcends labels and helps her see the state from different perspectives.

�I stand before you today, not as a Republican supporting a Democrat, but rather as a Georgian supporting a Georgian,� Ponder said. �There is only one call that could have returned me to politics and that is the call of my friend, your friend and the right leader for this time in our state�s history � Cathy Cox.�

�This is the town square where I grew up. What better place to begin our journey � a journey to building the kind of Georgia that our children and grandchildren deserve.�

Posted by: David McLaughlin
03:13 PM April 22

Cox brings much to race for governor

Cox brings much to race for governor
Marietta Daily Journal
Thursday, April 21, 2005

The small city of Bainbridge in southwest Georgia might seem an unlikely springboard from which to launch a bid for governor, but that’s where Democratic challenger Cathy Cox hails from. And seeing as how the current occupant of the Governor’s Mansion was able to base his own campaign from the even smaller middle Georgia hamlet of Bonaire and unseat an incumbent governor, there’s every reason to think Ms. Cox might have the same fortune.

Cathy Cox kicked off her campaign on Tuesday on the square in Bainbridge before a crowd of 500 or so – an impressive turnout for a town of just 12,000. As you might expect, she’s a down-home girl and has stayed true to her small-town roots, even after earning a journalism degree from the University of Georgia, a law degree from Mercer University and serving two terms in the Georgia General Assembly representing Bainbridge.

Now a resident of Atlanta, Ms. Cox is in her second term as Georgia secretary of state, and has won high marks for her successful efforts to make our state the first in the country to employ a modern, uniform computerized touch-screen voting system in each county. She also has pushed hard to make campaign contribution reports available on the Internet.

Ms. Cox will have company in her quest for the Democratic nomination, of course. Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor also is expected to run, and also would be a strong candidate. Other candidates could surface as well.

Interestingly, both Ms. Cox and Taylor, as well as the man they are seeking to upset, Gov. Sonny Perdue, all have roots in rural south or middle Georgia. That’s a rarity for sure in an era when metro Atlanta’s economic and demographic clout usually dominates the state.

Although Perdue wields the clout of incumbency, he is perceived by many observers as vulnerable. He has been a low-key leader for the most part, with few major initiatives to his credit thus far. Moreover, he has left many state residents shaking their heads over his ardent support for the pro-secrecy bills introduced in this year’s state legislative session, which would have slammed the door in the public’s face on a variety of issues.

Georgians will not choose their next governor until November 2006, some 19 months away – an eternity in politics. But next year’s race is shaping up as a good one that will present Georgians with at least three strong candidates and three competing visions.

Posted by: David McLaughlin
11:35 PM April 21


Cox faces Taylor in battle of South Georgians

Cox faces Taylor in battle of South Georgians
Apr 21, 2005, 5:41 PM
Bainbridge—Cathy Cox could make history as Georgia’s first woman governor. But she’s broken political ground before.

The 46-year old Bainbridge native followed her father’s footsteps into politics. Walter Cox was mayor of Bainbridge and served 16-years in the General Assembly.

Cathy Cox attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College then earned a journalism degree from the University of Georgia. She later graduated from Mercer University law school and practiced law in Atlanta and Bainbridge.

Cox represented Decatur and surrounding counties in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1993 to 1996 then served three years as Georgia’s assistant Secretary of State. In 1998 she became Georgia’s first woman Secretary of State. She won re-election in 2002 in a landslide, winning 146 of 159 counties.

She became a national leader in election reform and led Georgia to become the first state in the country to deploy a uniform electronic voting system in every county.

If Cox wins the election, she won’t be the first Georgia governor from Bainbridge. Marvin Griffin served one term from 1955 to 1959, succeeding legendary Herman Talmadge.

Griffin and Cox share a connection to the Bainbridge Post Searchlight. He was editor of the newspaper which his family owned, and she worked as a reporter there. Griffin was a staunch segregationist, but dramatically increased spending on black schools. He died in 1982.

The race for the Democratic nomination for governor will include another South Georgian, Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor of Albany. It will be a hard fought campaign. Both candidates have had their eyes on the governor’s mansion for years. Mark Taylor has amassed a huge campaign war chest, exceeding well over one million dollars already.

His campaign says there’s no way Cathy Cox can compete. She says, however, that the people of Georgia can’t be bought and electing a governor should not come down to who has the most money.

Posted by: David McLaughlin
03:18 PM April 21
Comment [3]

Cox kicks off governor's bid

Cox kicks off governor’s bid

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/20/05

BAINBRIDGE � Cathy Cox on Tuesday came back to the small town square where she played as a child to formally launch her bid to become Georgia’s first woman governor.

The two-term Democratic secretary of state promised to end “partisan gridlock” at the state Capitol and proposed a “new covenant with the state based on “responsibility, opportunity and progress.”

“I’ll be a governor who can work with anyone and everyone, Republican or Democrat,” Cox told a crowd of about 350 supporters gathered in Willis Park in the center of Bainbridge, a southwest Georgia city of 12,000 people. “Anyone with a good idea for Georgia will be welcome at the table.”

Surrounded by family members who live in the area, Cox spoke a block from the funeral home once operated by her late father, Walter Cox, who was Bainbridge’s mayor and spent 16 years in the Legislature. Her family lived upstairs, she said, and she and her sisters window-shopped along the square after dusk, “skipping safely along the streets here when the stores closed.”

On Tuesday, those stores were festooned with handmade “We’re For Cathy!” posters as the hometown girl came back to step onto the biggest political stage of her life.

Cox, 46, is headed for a bruising Democratic primary battle against Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, who is better funded and has lined up support from several African-American leaders for a contest in which black people make up 50 percent of the vote. The winner of the primary, still 15 months away, will face Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue in the November 2006 general election.

Political scientists predict Cox will appeal strongly to women, who make up more than half the Democratic primary electorate. Cox and Taylor are both articulate politicians who have planned for years to seek the state’s highest office.

Wearing a dress with a silver brooch studded with rhinestones, Cox pointed to her success implementing Georgia’s electronic voting system, vowing to bring that record of accomplishment to the state’s highest office.

“Let’s help parents raise the healthiest children,” she said. “Let’s make sure every family has access to first-class health care. Let’s provide every child with a world-class education. And let’s give families more time together by waging a war on traffic gridlock.”

Ellison Willis, 72, and his wife, Virginia, came out to show their support for Cox.

“I’ve known her since she was a child,” said Willis, who considers himself an independent. “She’s an honest girl, and I think she’d make a fine governor.”

Cox is Georgia’s first female secretary of state and was the first female legislator elected from Decatur County. She and her husband, attorney Mark Dehler, currently live in DeKalb County.

Posted by: David McLaughlin
11:37 PM April 20
Comment [1]

Cox Launches Bid to Take Governor's Mansion

Cox Launches Bid to Take Governor’s Mansion
Georgia Governor’s Race Heating Up

BAINBRIDGE, Ga.—Secretary of State Cathy Cox returned to her hometown, where she’s known as “Our Favorite Daughter,” to launch her campaign for governor Tuesday, promising to bridge the gap between Republicans and fellow Democrats in the Legislature and to set priorities that improve the lives of all Georgians.

“It a time for a change,” Cox said to a standing ovation from a crowd of 500 surrounding the bandstand in the live oak- and magnolia-lined town square. “It is time for a new vision for Georgia (and) that is whyI want to be your next governor.”

Cox, 46, said she would make children a top priority, so they can grow up educated, healthy and capable of succeeding. She also said she would use technology to create high-paying jobs.

“Technology has opened enormous opportunities to grow our small towns—and we deserve a governor who puts job growth first—for all parts of Georgia,” she said. “With the right leadership, we can make the next decade the ‘boom’ time for our small and medium-sized communities and bring high-paying jobs to every corner of the state.”

Cox, who is serving her second term as the state’s chief elections official, is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue in the November 2006 election. If elected, she would become the state’s first female governor.

Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, a well-established politician with a hefty campaign chest and a strong network of supporters, is expected to oppose Cox in the Democratic primary.

“This is not going to be a race about money,” Cox said when asked about Taylor’s war chest. “I think that’s another thing Georgians are sick and tired of: Thinking that money is all that matters in politics.”

Cox, who has degrees in journalism and law, became the first woman attorney in Bainbridge, a city of 12,000 in extreme southwestern Georgia. She was in the Georgia House from 1993 to 1996 and has been involved in politics since childhood. Her late father, Walter, was the town’s mayor and also served 16 years as a state representative.

At the bandstand, which was decorated with red bunting and red, white and blue flags, the master of ceremonies was Sam Griffin, publisher of the Bainbridge Post-Searchlight and son of the last governor from Bainbridge, Marvin Griffin, who served from 1955-59.

Five speakers speakers praised Cox’s integrity and her determination and concern for the people. One of them was Steven Bench, her 10-year-old nephew.

“Tough is her middle name, and there isn’t anything she can’t do. She’s a fine aunt, and she’ll make a terrific governor,” Steven said.

Luther Conyers, a Bainbridge city councilman, said Cox “has been a hard worker for all of her life. If you give Cathy the opportunity, she will lead Georgia. She is going to walk into the mansion as the first female governor of Georgia.”

Cox said she is willing to work with people of all political parties to improve the state. She said she decided to run because she has grown weary of the political infighting at the state Capitol.

“I watched the endless fighting in our state House over the past three months and I wondered to myself what can they be thinking?” she said.

In 2002, Perdue became the state’s first Republican governor in more than a century. Party switches gave Republicans control of the Senate after Perdue’s election, and last year the GOP took control of the House.

Cox criticized the Legislature for “spending more time debating the legalization of sparklers and hair braiding than they did in considering the entire $17 billion state budget.”

“Georgia’s agenda should begin in the governor’s office,” she said. “We deserve a governor who really leads. We deserve a leader who spends more time bringing people together than dividing them along partisan lines.

“We will govern with a new spirit,” she said. “We will say ‘no’ to the partisan gridlock and gimmicks. I’ll be a governor who can work with anyone and everyone, Republicans or Democrats. Anyone with a good idea for Georgia will be welcome at the table.”

A spokesman for Perdue declined to comment specifically about Cox’s candidacy.

“It seems a bit early for politics,” said Perdue spokesman Dan McLagan. “The governor is focused on doing the people’s business and enacting important legislation. But we certainly look forward to a spirited Democratic primary.”

That will have to wait at least one day. A spokesman for Taylor’s campaign declined comment.

Posted by: David McLaughlin
03:22 PM April 20
Comment [1]

Cox rally initiates 2006 race

Cox rally initiates 2006 race

Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox visits her hometown of Bainbridge to officially enter the 2006 gubernatorial race.

April 20, 2005
Albany Herald
Dave Williams

BAINBRIDGE � Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox returned to her hometown Tuesday, kicking off her campaign for governor next year in the town square where she played as a child.

“I still believe that Georgia is the kind of place where a small-town girl can grow up to be governor,” Cox, D-Decatur, told more than 300 cheering supporters gathered in Willis Park, a block from where she grew up on the second floor above her father’s funeral home. “With your help, we can make it happen.”

Cox, 46, had long been expected to seek the 2006 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and had formed a campaign committee in December. She likely will face Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, D-Albany, in the primary race for the right to challenge Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue.

During the hourlong rally, Cox hammered on what is quickly becoming her main campaign theme � the need to get away from the partisan politics she said has become a hallmark of the governor’s office and General Assembly.

“Instead of serving the people, too many politicians spend their time fighting with each other,” she said. “Instead of working for us, they’re wasting our time and your money.”

Vowing to appeal to voters of all political persuasions, Cox has named former state Rep. Dan Ponder, a Republican from Donalsonville, as her campaign chairman, and he introduced her Tuesday.

It’s a message that hits home with the Rev. James Bush, pastor of the Greater Pines Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Albany, who attended the rally.

“I’m a little tired of the mudslinging by both parties,” he said. “I feel like Cathy can bring some closure to that.”

Cox touted her experience managing the secretary of state’s office for two terms as good training for the broader responsibilities of being governor. She said the agency is serving far more customers than a decade ago, when she first came aboard as assistant secretary, with fewer employees.

“If I can do that as your secretary of state, then I can make it happen throughout state government as your governor,” she said.

While not mentioning Perdue by name, Cox also said she would take a different approach to some issues from the current governor.

She criticized cost-cutting steps taken by the administration that have delayed reducing class sizes and temporarily locked out children from the state’ PeachCare for Kids health-insurance program when their parents don’t pay their premiums on time.

Before becoming secretary of state, Cox spent two terms in the Legislature, where she represented the Southwest Georgia House district once served by her late father, Walter.

Miller County Fire Chief Craig Tully said she impressed him and his colleagues from the day in 1992 when she met with them to seek their support.

“She believes in what she believes in and stands up and fights for it,” said Tully, one of several speakers at Tuesday’s rally who gave personal testimonials on behalf of Cox. “When we needed something, we went to Cathy, and she looked out for us.”

Downtown Bainbridge was abuzz Tuesday well before the late-afternoon rally began. Streets were blocked off around the square, and banners with the message, “We’re for Cathy,” hung from a host of storefronts.

“We love her,” said Gloria Reeves, owner of Reeves Linens and Gifts, just across from the square. “She’s done a very good job in what she’s done, and she’s coming back to her roots to get her sendoff … What better place would you come to but your home?”

Posted by: David McLaughlin
03:19 PM April 20
Comment [1]

Cox launches campaign for governor

Cox launches campaign for governor
by Tom Crawford, Capitol Impact
April 20, 2005

Bainbridge—The little girl who grew up with her sisters atop a funeral home just a block from the town square returned to her hometown Tuesday to begin the biggest adventure of her political life—Georgia’s 2006 race for governor.

Cathy Cox launches her campaign for governor at Bainbridge rally.
Secretary of State Cathy Cox kicked off her campaign with a rousing speech to more than 300 people in Willis Park at the center of Bainbridge, where she tried to stake out a position between Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, Democratic Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, and the two major parties.

“Instead of serving the people, too many politicians spend their time fighting,” Cox said, referring to the ongoing struggle between Republicans and Democrats for control of state government. “They’re wasting our time and your money. Politicians need to stop fighting each other and start fighting for Georgia’s families.”

Cox and Taylor will face off in what is widely expected to be a grueling, bruising slog for the Democratic nomination. Whoever survives that July 2006 primary will then have to take on Perdue in the November general election.

As she tries to get her message out to voters over the next 15 months, Cox said she’ll draw on the lessons and values she learned while being raised in this town of 12,000 that pins down Georgia’s southwestern corner, a region distinctive for its wiregrass and Spanish moss-festooned oak trees.

Her late father, Walter Cox, served as mayor and state representative while running Cox Funeral Home, which still stands just a block from the town square.

Cox recalled how she and her three sisters used to play in the town square and go window shopping along Bainbridge’s storefronts “dressed in our nightgowns.”

On Cox’s visit back to her hometown, the stores around the downtown area displayed hand-painted “We’re for Cathy” signs in their windows. The walls of the Dairy Queen on U.S. 27 were decorated with several pen-and-ink drawings of local landmarks that were sketched by Cox’s mother, Mary Barber Cox, who continues to reside in Bainbridge.

“The future of Georgia rises and falls with our small towns,” Cox said after briefly recounting those childhood days. “So, thank you, Bainbridge, and thank you all. I stand here today as a result of what I learned here.”

Her goal as governor, she said, would be to work through the partisan bickering and enact a “covenant with Georgia” that would upgrade the state’s education, healthcare and economy.

“It’s time for a new vision for Georgia,” Cox said. “We will say “no” to the partisan gridlocks and gimmicks. I will be a governor who can work with anyone and everyone.”

Cox, 46, is in her second term as secretary of state and will be running against a Democratic opponent, Taylor, who had an earlier start in fundraising. Taylor’s campaign has also been stressing early commitments of support from African-American political figures.

“Money, money, money, money,” Luther Conyers, a black Bainbridge city councilman, told the crowd at Cox’s rally. “We gotta have money to finance this campaign. It is time for us to step up to the plate.”

The audience in Willis Park included several African-American legislators: Rep. Nikki Randall (D-Macon), Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam (D-Riverdale) and former House member Lawrence Roberts of Albany.

Two men active in the Southern heritage movement, who were heavily involved in the debate over keeping the Confederate battle emblem as part of the state flag, also showed up for the Cox event: Jack Bridwell of Moultrie and Randy Phillips, a former legislator from Harris County who wore an “I’m for Cathy” button.

“I think the future of the whole Democratic Party is riding on this governor’s race,” Phillips observed. The Cox campaign will be chaired by another former legislator from southwest Georgia, Donalsonville businessman Dan Ponder. Ponder, who switched to the Republican Party during his tenure in the House, noted that he got involved in the Cox effort after working for the elections of such Republicans as Saxby Chambliss, Johnny Isakson, and George W. Bush.

“I think people will identify with Cathy as a genuine leader before they’ll identify with her as a Democrat,” Ponder said. “I was the first Republican ever elected down here, but the courthouses are still largely Democratic. Cathy is viewed by these people as a bridge between the parties.”

Cox would become the first female governor of Georgia if she were elected, but not the first governor from Bainbridge. That honor goes to Marvin Griffin, who was lieutenant governor and governor during the 1950s.

Griffin’s son, Sam Griffin, is editor and publisher of the family-owned Bainbridge Post-Searchlight (where Cox once worked as a young reporter) and served as emcee for Cox’s coming-home party.

“She is the best hope for rural Georgians to become an integral part of the state’s growth and economic prosperity,” Griffin said.

As the campaign rally officially ended, Cox spent several minutes exchanging hugs with friends and supporters and posing for pictures.

“You know how it is in a small town, you’re related to everybody, and I claim you all,” she said.

Posted by: David McLaughlin
03:16 PM April 20


Remarks of Cathy Cox Kickoff of 2006 Governor's Campaign

Remarks of Cathy Cox Kickoff of 2006
Governor’s Campaign
Bainbridge, GA – April 19, 2005

Thank you.

Well – this is it!

This is the town square where I grew up. What better place to begin our journey – a journey to building the kind of Georgia that our children and grandchildren deserve.

My family lived upstairs in Cox Funeral Home – just a block away from where we’re standing. Most funeral homes don’t come with a playground – so my sisters and I had all of downtown Bainbridge as our personal front yard.

We chased each other around this park, playing hopscotch on the sidewalk. We raced up and down the courthouse steps across the street. We fed the goldfish in the pond in the square. We window-shopped in our nightgowns after dusk, skipping safely along the streets here when the stores closed.

I was brought up here with a magical quality of life – safe neighborhoods and streets, close friends and family, good schools, thriving churches and small businesses.

My sisters and I were raised in a family of warmth and respect… by two parents who taught us the importance of hard work at an early age. My dad, Walter Cox, who so many of you knew and loved, told us he didn’t care what we studied in college, but we sure better be prepared to earn a living the day we graduated!

My Father also made sure that my sisters and I were in Sunday School every Sunday – no excuses.

As I grew older, attending Sunday School was important, but teaching it was even more meaningful. Counseling the Methodist Youth Fellowship, singing in the church choir, and being part of activities at the First Methodist Church here shaped my life and influence every decision I make today.

This town welcomed me back into its embrace after I earned my college degrees in agriculture and journalism and became a practicing lawyer – and you surrounded my family with love when my Dad died of cancer in 1989.

In Bainbridge, I saw firsthand that the future of Georgia rises and falls with our small towns. This is where I learned that opportunity is available to anyone, as long as you’re willing to work hard and do your best.

So, thank you, Bainbridge. Thank you, all. I am standing on this stage because of you. I am the product of what you have taught me.

I learned so much here in Bainbridge about what life can be in this state.

Georgia is one of the 10 largest states in this nation. There is no reason Georgia cannot be in the top 10 categories of everything that’s important. We SHOULD be, and working together we will be.

As Secretary of State, I’ve made us first in the nation in the improvement of our elections – but I want to be the governor who moves us to the top of the ladder in every other area:

Let’s help parents raise the healthiest children. Let’s make sure every family has access to first-class health care. Let’s provide every child with a world-class education. And let’s give families more time together by waging a war on traffic gridlock.

Georgia’s future must be just as strong and secure as the Georgia of my childhood – in fact, it must be even stronger and more secure. And it can be – if we are willing to select leaders with a vision, and with courage, to make it happen. It can be if we elect leaders who make progress their top priority rather than partisanship or power plays under the gold dome.

Like many of you, I watched the endless fighting in our statehouse over the past three months and wondered, “What in the world are they thinking?”

Our legislative leaders spent more time debating the legalization of sparklers and hair braiding than they did in considering the entire $17 billion state budget. Partisan politics is holding us back from realizing this state’s enormous potential.

Georgia’s agenda should begin in the governor’s office. We deserve a governor who really leads. We deserve a leader who spends more time bringing people together than dividing them along partisan lines.

My friends, the governor’s office not an entitlement… It is no one’s birthright. The governor’s office belongs to those who want to make Georgia better… And most importantly, the governor’s office belongs to us – to every Georgian, no matter who we are or which town we call home.

But somehow, that’s been lost in the capitol.

Instead of serving the people, too many politicians spend their time fighting with each other.

Instead of reaching their hands across the aisle, they turn their backs and offer angry words. Instead of solving problems, they grab more power and cut back-room deals.

Instead of working for us, they’re wasting our time and your money.

Do you agree with me that we need to change the way they do business in Atlanta?

Do you agree that politicians need to quit fighting each other – and start fighting for Georgia families?

And do you agree that we need to stop the political nonsense once and for all?

Well, my Dad taught me that you can’t keep doing things the same way and expect a different result.

My friends – it is time for a change. It’s time for a new vision for Georgia.

And that is why I want to be your next for Governor.

During this campaign, I will propose a new covenant with Georgia. A covenant based on responsibility, opportunity, and progress.

Our covenant will be a solemn agreement between Georgia’s government and her people. Our covenant will remind those you elect just who runs the show – and that’s you, the people.

We will govern with a new spirit. We will say “no” to the partisan gridlock and gimmicks. I’ll be a governor who can work with anyone and everyone, Republican or Democrat. Anyone with a good idea for Georgia will be welcome at the table.

We will set priorities – and our children will be priority number one. I want my niece and nephews to grow up here and ride their bikes down the street without a care in the world – and I want them, and kids throughout our state, to grow up and succeed.

Making children our priority means opening the doors to Georgia’s great PeachCare health insurance initiative – rather than the current policy which locks out thousands and thousands of kids.

We will invest in education. That means assuring that children are well prepared to learn when they enter our school doors.

It also means honoring our teachers and treating them like the professionals they are, cutting class sizes and meeting the individual needs of each and every child. And it means keeping our promises and securing the HOPE scholarship.

And once our young people get that great education, they need good jobs. Technology has opened enormous opportunities to grow our small towns – and we deserve a governor who puts job growth first – for all parts of Georgia. With the right leadership, we can make the next decade the “boom” times for our small and medium-sized communities and bring high-paying jobs to every corner of the state.

Our covenant with Georgia will lay down the law on spending your tax dollars. It’s a simple premise: Let’s spend less, and let’s spend smarter.

You see, I know a little something about doing just that. In the 10 years I’ve been in the Secretary of State’s office, we’re incorporating more businesses, licensing more professionals, registering more voters, serving more customers with FEWER state employees than we had a decade ago.

You heard right� we’re actually doing more with less!

If I can do it as your secretary of state, then I can make it happen throughout state government as your governor! We will change the way we do business in Georgia – and put our customers first.

And we will also encourage responsibility, like I did when my office cracked down on deadbeats who didn’t pay child support or student loans. Responsibility is the keystone of our society. That’s a lesson I learned here in Bainbridge, and it’s a value I intend to honor as your governor.

And finally, our covenant with Georgia means remaining on guard in a different and sometimes dangerous – world. With Georgians on the front lines, we must do right by our national guard and support our servicemen and women – and their families – in every way possible. We have to protect our citizens against attacks of all kinds – whether it’s crime on the corner or fraud aimed at their finances. That’s why I stood up to the scam artists who targeted the hard-earned savings of our seniors. And that work must continue.

I promise you this – when I am your next governor, we will shake up state government. We’re going to be bold. We’ll put everything in government under the microscope, and ask whether it can be better. And then, we’re going to make changes and set our standards high.

Folks, I know how to work hard – I’ve done it all my life. I can bring people together – that’s how I’ve gotten things done. And I know when to stand strong for what matters.

That’s why I’m supported by Republicans, Democrats and Independents. That’s why I’ve won in counties other Democrats lost. I won because the conservative, common-sense values that I learned right here in Bainbridge are shared by Georgians near and far.

You see, I know that it is not only Democrats who yearn for our public schools to succeed. We all do.

And it is not only Republicans who want business to flourish. We all do.

I can still remember the days when Georgia’s leaders knew that—and put the interests of our state and our people ahead of politics.

When we win this race, that day will come again.

Thank you all for being here. When I look at you today, I see a huge crowd – but not a crowd of strangers. I see my friends and family, from Bainbridge, from Southwest Georgia, indeed from all over this state.

I am joined by so many of my friends and family that I can’t even begin to thank you all personally. My Mom, Mary Cox, is here, my sisters Karen, Glennie and Kim are here with my brothers-in-law Steve and Hal. You met my nephews Steven and Walt and my niece Peyton. My mother-in-law Connie Dehler, my sister-in-law Jan Morgan, and my niece Kim Morgan are also here. And of course, in a small town, you’re kin to almost everyone in town – so I claim you all!

I do want to single out one person who is [standing] here beside me, and that’s my husband Mark. For those of you who don’t know, Mark is a former Army Ranger. So he knows how to fight – and he’s ready for this one. Thank you, Mark – it feels good to have such a great guy in my corner!

My friends, the campaign to change Georgia has begun here today!

I still believe that Georgia is the kind of place where a small-town girl can grow up to be governor… and where all our sons and daughters can follow their dreams to be anything they want to be.

With your help, we will make it happen. So mark it down: January 8, 2007. I want each and every one of you celebrating with me on the steps on our beautiful Capitol as we begin a new era for Georgia.

Thank you!

Posted by: David McLaughlin
03:11 PM April 19


Cathy Cox goes home to Bainbridge to declare she's in governor's race

Cathy Cox goes home to Bainbridge to declare she’s in governor’s race
‘This is absolutely where . . . my heart is’
By JIM THARPE The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, April 18, 2005

A woman used to breaking molds, Cathy Cox will try to shatter one of historic magnitude beginning this week in small-town Georgia.

The two-term secretary of state plans to step up to the podium Tuesday afternoon in her hometown of Bainbridge and, with all the trappings of an old-fashioned political rally, launch her bid to become the state’s first woman governor.

“This is absolutely where my roots are and where my heart is,” Cox said of the city of 12,000 in extreme southwestern Georgia. “I was born and raised here; my mother and my two youngest sisters still live here. The people who have known me from birth are here. They have supported me in everything I’ve ever done.”

Once the applause of the hometown crowd fades, the 46-year-old Cox, who lives in DeKalb County, will need all the support she can muster. She will have just fired the first shot in what is expected to be the most combative, winner-take-all Democratic primary in years.

Before she can even begin to contemplate a 2006 race against Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, she must face Democratic Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, a longtime politician with deep pockets and a vast political network that includes top leaders in the African-American community.

Political observers predict a bitter primary fight as the two practiced campaigners, who have planned for years to seek the state’s highest office, square off.

“It certainly doesn’t have to be [a bitter fight],” Cox said. “That’s up to the candidates. But if early indications are anything, that’s not the way Mark Taylor plays the game. That doesn’t mean I have to engage in it.”

Taylor’s camp already has attempted to label Cox “a liberal.” That’s serious political bad-mouthing in a conservative state that voted strongly for President Bush in 2004 and, for the first time in more than a century, elected a Republican-controlled state Legislature.

Recently, Taylor’s forces have questioned whether Cox can raise enough money to be an effective candidate.

“It’s going to be a very expensive race,” Taylor campaign spokesman Rick Dent said. “She can’t raise the money to beat us. She can’t raise the money to beat Sonny Perdue, and we can.”

Cash contest?
Taylor’s last campaign disclosure, filed late last year, showed that he already had raised $1.7 million, and his next report � due June 30 � likely will show his coffers have swelled considerably. Taylor’s campaign staff last week declined to reveal just how much he has raised.

Cox, who only recently began raising campaign cash, also declined to say how much she has amassed, but said fund-raising is going “exceptionally well.”

“I’m happy folks think we’re the underdog,” she said. “My opponent continues to try to persuade people I can’t raise money. We’ll be looking to surprise some people on June 30.”

Cox said her message of improving education, finding regional transportation solutions and bridging the partisan divide will decide the primary race, not who has the most money. She pointed to the 2002 gubernatorial election when underdog Perdue defeated Democratic incumbent Roy Barnes, even though Barnes vastly outspent his Republican opponent.

In a general election, Cox predicts she can pull Republican as well as Democratic votes, which any Democrat must do to beat Perdue.

“If you look at the 2002 results, I was the only Democrat on the statewide ballot that actually won Gwinnett and Cobb counties,” she said. “And I did exceptionally better than any other Democrats in the Republican-leaning counties.”

Cox is well-acquainted with breaking molds. She was the first female legislator from her county and Georgia’s first female secretary of state. In her current job, she is best known for moving the state to an electronic voting system.

She has been in politics since childhood, when she helped her father, Walter, campaign. He was mayor of Bainbridge and served 16 years in the state Legislature. Emory University political science professor Alan Abramowitz predicted Cox will be a serious contender in an arena where few women have ventured.

Only two dozen women have been elected governor in the nation’s history. Only three � Lurleen Wallace in Alabama (1967); Martha Collins in Kentucky (1984); and Kathleen Blanco in Louisiana (2003) � have been elected in the South, excluding Texas. That state has elected two female chief executives, Miriam “Ma” Ferguson (1925) and Anne Richards (1991).

“I think she has a pretty favorable image statewide, especially among Democrats, because of her performance as secretary of state,” Abramowitz said. “There is a generally positive view of her, though it’s hard to tell how deep that goes.”

‘Get something done’
Many political observers expect Cox to run strongly among women voters, who make up a majority of those who cast ballots in the Democratic primary. Cox said she doesn’t plan to stress gender in her campaign but does think women bring something unique to the table.

“My experience in watching women in politics is that they’re in it to get something done and not just to get a title or power,” she said. “And I think that will be a very healthy aspect of my candidacy.”

Posted by: David McLaughlin
11:35 PM April 18


Cathy Cox Priorities: Education, 'growing all of Georgia'

Cathy Cox Priorities: Education, ‘growing all of Georgia’
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, April 18, 2005

Secretary of State Cathy Cox is seeking the 2006 Democratic nomination for governor. Her opponents will include Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor in the Democratic primary.That winner will face incumbent Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue. Cox discussed the race with Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Jim Tharpe.

Q: What do you bring to the primary race that Mark Taylor does not?

A: How many hours to you have? I think there will be virtually unlimited contrasts between me and him, from your first impression to your last impression. From our life experiences to our life histories and work experiences to what we have as a vision for Georgia.

Q: What role do you think gender will play in the race?

A: I’m not necessarily going to be talking about the fact I’m a woman candidate. When I stand up, they’ll know I’m different from the other guys in this race. But I do think people are sick and tired of the meanness and the fighting and the partisan divide that I think are hurting our state. I think voters generally believe women aren’t as interested in playing those kinds of games and are willing to give female candidates the benefit of the doubt that they will do things differently, as I intend to do.

Q: In a general election campaign against Sonny Perdue, how would you, a Democrat who backed John Kerry, appeal to Republican voters in a pro-Bush state?

A: Just like I’ve done in my previous elections. I can’t tell you who it is out there that’s voting for every other Republican, but crossing over to me. But they know the kind of person I am. They know I’m not in politics to focus on partisan divides. They know I’m looking for common sense solutions that make a difference to people. That’s the reason they’ll feel comfortable voting for me next year.

Q: As governor, what would be your top priorities?

A: The top priority would be education. Education up and down the map affects everything else we do. We’ve got to make some dramatic improvements in public education. The more we invest in education, the more we save in the criminal justice system. The more we invest in our children, the healthier they’re going to be � people with better educations know more about nutrition and keeping themselves in good condition. The more we do in education, the better off we will do with economic development. We’ve got to grow all parts of Georgia. The Atlanta region will grow whether a governor does much or not. We’ve got to grow the parts of Georgia outside Atlanta, so they can stand on their own and provide great job opportunities in our small and medium-sized communities. We’ve got to look for regional transportation solutions and have a governor who’s willing to bring people to the table and get things done. The governor has to play a leadership role in addressing the regional transportation needs of metro Atlanta.

Q: Two years ago you said you would wait to see how the Perdue administration performed before deciding whether to run for governor in 2006. You’ve apparently decided you can do a better job?

A: I have come to that conclusion. I felt like the Perdue administration deserved a chance. I’ve seen virtually nothing out of them except partisan attacks and things that are doing nothing to accomplish good works for Georgia. I see a complete lack of priority-setting, taking the easy route of making across-the-board cuts in the budget instead of setting priorities and finding ways to fund those priorities and address the real problems of this state.

Q: What is your greatest success as secretary of state?

A: Being creative and innovative in delivering services to Georgians in everything we do. We’ve been doing things creatively and out-of-the-box since my first day in office � decentralizing state government and moving state jobs around the state instead of concentrating them in downtown Atlanta has saved the state enormous amounts of money because it’s cheaper to operate outside of Atlanta. We revolutionized [through the Internet] the way people do business with our corporations sections. That has been of enormous benefit to the business community. We moved to electronic voting and Cal Tech and MIT published a report about a month ago that said we went from having the second worst [voting] accuracy rate in 2000 to the second best accuracy rate in 2004.

Q: How’s fund-raising going?

A: It’s going exceptionally well. People have responded generously all over the state. We’ve had support from Republicans and Democrats.”

Q: How much have you raised?

A: We’ll say June 30 (when disclosure reports are due). I’m happy folks think we’re the underdog. My opponent continues to try to persuade people I can’t raise money. We’ll be looking to surprise some people on June 30th.” “I think his (Taylor’s) strategy is nothing matters but money. That’s a lesson I thought everyone would have learned after 2002.

Q: Do you anticipate a bitter primary?

A: “It certainly doesn’t have to be. That’s up to the candidates. But if early indications are anything, that’s the way Mark Taylor plays the game. That doesn’t mean I have to engage in it.”

Q: Why is it important for you to launch your campaign in Bainbridge?

A: “This is absolutely where my roots are and where my heart is. I was born and raised here; my mother and my two youngest sisters still live here. The people who have known me from birth are here. They have supported me in everything I’ve ever done. The folks here really want to be the peanut brigade of the 21st Century.”

Q: Some years back you were in the homecoming parade here?

A: I was in the homecoming court and rode in the parade in an evening gown in a bass boat. It wasn’t just a bass boat. It was a bass boat with nice fringe taped around the sides.”

Posted by: David McLaughlin
09:49 AM April 18


Cox gets ready for 2006

Cox gets ready for 2006
Gwinnett Daily Post
By Dave Williams Staff Writer
Sunday, April 17, 2005

DECATUR – Many politicians sport “vanity walls’’ in their offices, rows of photos of themselves posing with famous people they have rubbed elbows with during the course of their duties. But a different kind of photo of Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox is on display on the fourth floor of the Capitol.

She’s just a teenager from tiny Bainbridge, not yet the first female Democrat elected to a nonjudicial statewide office in Georgia, taking part in a mock legislature with a youth leadership group.

“I give credit to that program for really hooking me on politics,’’ Cox said last week at her temporary campaign office, where she’s laying the groundwork to run for governor next year. The former southwest Georgia legislator and two-term secretary of state will enter the race officially Tuesday at a rally in her hometown.

It’s a prize that Cox, 46, has had her eye on for years. “As a legislator and a statewide official, you see how much influence the governor can have to do good,’’ she said. “It’s the ultimate opportunity to shape Georgia in a meaningful way.’’ Cox also has politics in her blood. Her father, Walter, who served as Bainbridge’s mayor, was elected to the Legislature the year after she took her trip to the Capitol.

But Cox didn’t start her political career immediately. She spent three years after college as a newspaper reporter, then went to law school and became a practicing lawyer for a decade. It was during that time that Cox was elected to the General Assembly, winning her father’s House seat in 1992, three years after he died.

Cox left the Legislature in 1996 when she was appointed assistant secretary of state. Two years later, she was elected secretary of state, then won re-election in 2002 with the most votes among statewide Democratic candidates.

Management experience
Cox will rely heavily on the record she has built as secretary of state in pitching her qualifications to become Georgia’s next governor.

Both jobs require management skills, and Cox points to the huge increase in business her office is handling now compared to when she joined the agency – from voter rolls to professional licenses – with fewer employees to do the work.

She also has spearheaded a host of innovative changes in service delivery, from the lesser known relocation of the office’s Professional Licensing Division from Atlanta to Macon – saving tax dollars and boosting middle Georgia’s economy – to the highly publicized introductions of early voting and electronic voting to Georgia.

Cox pushed for early voting for five years before finally getting it through the Legislature in time for last year’s election. She said 12 percent of Georgia voters cast their ballots before Election Day, even though early voting was allowed only on the five weekdays before election week.

Cox said the only downside to what otherwise was a major success was the long wait in some large counties, including Gwinnett, where elections officials hadn’t anticipated how popular early voting would be and only had one site available.

Georgia was a pioneer in electronic voting after the debacle in Florida in 2000 that delayed the outcome of the presidential election.

Cox reacted quickly to the nearly 94,000 “under votes’’ in Georgia that year, ballots in which no presidential vote was recorded. She convinced lawmakers to spend $54 million, funds the state got back later from Congress, to bring statewide electronic voting to Georgia in 2002, a year she happened to be on the ballot.

“A lot of people thought I was taking a huge risk, but it had to be done,’’ she said. “That’s my management philosophy: You don’t sit on your hands when a problem needs to be addressed.’’

Paper ballot flap
More recently, Cox found herself leading the opposition to a push by Republicans and some citizen activists for equipment allowing voting machines to spit out paper receipts to increase public confidence in the system’s accuracy.

“I think there ought to be an audit trail to the electronic voting machines,’’ said Sen. Bill Stephens, R-Canton, who stepped down as Senate majority leader last week to run for secretary of state.

But Cox argued that existing technology is too cumbersome to be practical and, in some cases, doesn’t have enough safeguards to guarantee ballot privacy.

“To her credit, she stepped up under torrents of criticism on electronic voting,’’ said Sen. George Hooks, D-Americus. “She’s a pretty tough cookie.’’ While Cox has been a strong advocate for electronic voting and other technological innovations in her office, she has not tackled the broad range of subjects voters will expect a gubernatorial candidate to address.

“It has not been my responsibility as secretary of state to go out and pontificate on every issue the Legislature addresses,’’ she said. “Even when I’ve had opinions in some cases, I’ve kept them to myself.’’

On the other hand, Cox’s likely opponent in next summer’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, has been Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue’s sharpest critic on a variety of topics. Taylor’s overtly partisan approach could help him in the primary, said Merle Black, a political science professor at Emory University.

“The Democratic primary is made up of voters who are hard-core Democrats,’’ said Black. “Taylor has been a point man for the Democratic Party in a more visible position as lieutenant governor.’’

Appeal to women
But Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia, said Cox also has some attributes that could work to her advantage in a primary setting. He said the most obvious is that she’s a woman, and women made up nearly 60 percent of the voters in last year’s Democratic primary. “Cox will attract women who otherwise vote Republican to ask for Democratic ballots,’’ said Bullock.

Indeed, Cox said her strategy is to reach out to voters of all political stripes. To drive that message home, she has chosen former Rep. Dan Ponder, a Republican from Donalsonville, as her campaign chairman. “Neither party dominates the landscape,’’ she said. “The people who win statewide races in the future are going to be Democrats who can attract Republicans and Republicans who can attract Democrats.’’

Bullock said one sign of how Republicans view Cox’s potential as a gubernatorial opponent is that GOP insiders tried to recruit her to switch parties. She said four “emissaries’’ urged her last fall to turn Republican and run for lieutenant governor. “You don’t go out and try to recruit someone you see as a weakling,’’ said Bullock. “I think Republicans are scared to death of her.’’

Posted by: David McLaughlin
09:52 AM April 17


Cathy Cox - a pace setter: Opens gubernatorial campaign here Tuesday

Cathy Cox – a pace setter
Opens gubernatorial campaign here Tuesday
Bainbridge Post-Searchlight
By CAROLYN IAMON April 15, 2005

The little girl who grew up living above a funeral home in Bainbridge and playing on the courthouse steps in her nightgown is running for governor of the State of Georgia.


If she wins the race she will be Georgia’s first female governor. But then, Cathy Cox is accustomed to firsts.

She was Decatur County’s first female lawyer, its first female legislator and the first woman to be inducted into the Bainbridge Rotary Club. She is also Georgia’s first woman secretary of state. Governing magazine named her in 2002 as one of the 11 public officials of the year, making her the nation’s first secretary of state to receive that honor.

What factors contributed to the development of such an extraordinary pace setter?

As the oldest of four daughters of Mary and the late Walter Cox, Cathy always demonstrated a strong sense of responsibility and leadership, according to her mother.

Recalling an occasion when her husband, Walter, was to be installed as president of the Georgia Funeral Directors, she and Walter had already traveled to Jekyll Island for the conference. They decided they wanted the four girls to be present for the installation and made arrangements for the girls to be put on a bus in Bainbridge and make the trip to Jekyll Island. The parents contacted funeral directors in towns along the way to check on the girls’ progress. Cathy was 10 or 11 years of age at that time and highly incensed and insulted that her parents were having them met at each stop. She believed she was perfectly capable of handling her sisters and herself on the trip.

One of Cathy’s younger sisters, Glennie Bench, remembers Cathy as a teenager being “the perfect oldest sister, the typical first child, over-achiever, smart, mature, serious – all the things that the rest of us were not!”

However, both Glennie and her mother cite Cathy’s sense of humor and enjoyment of a practical joke.

Glennie gives a couple of examples.

“Cathy’s senior yearbook had a strange picture of a student that no one seemed to know. She had a kooky hat on and was missing one front tooth. Her name was listed as Ima Freak. Of course, it turned out to be Cathy in disguise,” said Glennie.

“She has always been good about remembering birthdays and holidays with a card. Anyone in our family was apt to get a greeting card from her, but the thing we looked forward to was seeing what she had written and glued to the envelope. She would cut pictures from The Post-Searchlight of us or of other people and would write a cartoon bubble quote coming from the mouth with some hilarious statement,” recalls Glennie.

What to be

What did she want to be when she grew up?

Her mother says, if anything, she wanted to be a landscape architect. After high school graduation she completed a two-year associate degree in agriculture at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and to this day dearly loves to work in the yard and garden whenever she has time.

Politics is in her blood, though.

Her grandfather, E.W. Cox, was mayor of Bainbridge. Her father, Walter Cox, had a record of public service that included city councilman, mayor of Bainbridge and spending 16 years in the state General Assembly. Helping her father in his election campaigns no doubt spurred her developing interest in governmental affairs. Her mother said she also discovered she was very interested in oratorical contests and entered every one she heard about. Working as an intern in Atlanta really clinched her desire to become involved in state government. She dearly loved it from day one, according to her mother.

Cathy also had a love and talent for writing.

While working to obtain a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia, she spent vacations as an intern writing for The Post-Searchlight. Following graduation she went with The Gainesville Times for a couple of years, then came home to work full-time for The Post-Searchlight, writing and doing research on former governor and newspaper publisher, Marvin Griffin, while she saved money to attend law school.

As a student at Mercer University Law School, Cathy distinguished herself as editor of the Law Review and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She practiced law with Hansell & Post in Atlanta for two years, then came back to Bainbridge and joined the firm of Lambert, Floyd and Conger, where she was an excellent lawyer, according to Harold Lambert. He describes her as having enormous ability and talent, a person of very high moral character and ethical behavior.

In the political arena

Cathy’s own political career began in 1992, when she was elected to the state legislature representing Decatur, Seminole, Miller and Early counties.

She began serving her first term in 1993, was elected to a second term, and, during the middle of that term, she left the legislature to begin serving as assistant secretary of state for three years.

She ran for secretary of state and was elected in 1998. She is now serving her second term in that office, where she has once again distinguished herself and the state of Georgia as a national leader, this time in election reform. Georgia is the first state in the union to establish a unified election system in all counties. The electronic voting touch-pad system implemented by Cox’s office has revolutionized voting in the state and become a model for others.

Cathy is herself a model for others, especially for women. She believes it is important for women to assume positions of leadership in politics and that the time for women in politics has come. An article from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quotes Cox as saying, “The good thing for women in politics is that the meaner and more partisan it gets, the more people are open to the idea that a woman might not play all of those games, and might be more of a consensus builder who will focus more on getting things done than beating people over the head with a partisan agenda.”

She has taken a strong stance on the importance of education.

“So much of what we deal with in the state comes back to education,” she said. “Not only is education important to the economic development of the region and state, but it is important to health care. If we know how to eat well and care for ourselves we will have better health,” she continued.

She also maintains that improving education will have an impact on reducing the crime rate. She reasons “the best crime prevention is having a job.”

When it comes to jobs, Cathy said one of her main priorities as governor will be rural economic development. She recognizes the need to strengthen parts of Georgia other than Atlanta and major cities.

“With technology, a business can be located almost anywhere,” she said.

She sees a need to bring job opportunities to Southwest Georgia and other rural areas of the state, by stressing the quality of life and amenities that are available in the areas away from the traffic and congestion.

Cathy is coming home to downtown Bainbridge to kick off her campaign for governor “in the place and with the people who taught me everything I know about leadership and public service,” said Cox in a recent statement. “I will talk about what Bainbridge and Southwest Georgia mean to me and how growing up here has shaped the vision I have for Georgia. I will address the issues of education, health care and transportation, all critically important to the state,” she promised.

The campaign kickoff will be Tuesday in Willis Park at 4 p.m.

Bainbridge native and Georgia’s Secretary of State Cathy Cox will launch her gubernatorial campaign Tuesday in Willis Park at 4 p.m.

Posted by: David McLaughlin
11:35 PM April 15
Comment [2]

Cox's launch set Tuesday in hometown

Cox’s launch set Tuesday in hometown
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Jim Tharpe – Staff
Thursday, April 14, 2005

Cathy Cox will return to her small-town roots Tuesday to officially launch her campaign to become Georgia’s first female governor.

Cox, 46, is serving her second term as secretary of state, and will start her campaign in Bainbridge, where she grew up. Her late father, Walter, once served as mayor there and represented the area 16 years in the state Legislature.

“I will reach out to Georgians in every part of the state,” Cox said in a statement. “That’s why it’s wonderfully appropriate to begin this journey in the place and with the people who taught me everything I know about leadership and public service.”

The campaign kickoff will be in Willis Park in downtown Bainbridge at 4 p.m.

The event signals the start of what is expected to be a bitter Democratic primary battle for the party’s nomination. Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, who has a vast political network and is better financed than Cox, is also seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue in the November 2006 general election. Perdue is the state’s first Republican governor in more than a century.

Georgia, like most other states, has never elected a female governor. But Cox believes her time has arrived.

“The good thing for women in politics is that the meaner and more partisan it gets, the more people are open to the idea that a woman might not play all of those games, and might be more of a consensus builder who will focus more on getting things done than beating people over the head with a partisan agenda,” Cox said in an earlier interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She could not be reached for further comment Wednesday.

Cox is well-acquainted with breaking molds. She was the first female legislator from her county and Georgia’s first female secretary of state. Her gubernatorial bid, however, puts her on a much larger and more competitive stage.

Two dozen women have been elected governor in the nation’s history. Only three of those—- Lurleen Wallace in Alabama (1967), Martha Collins in Kentucky (1984) and Kathleen Blanco in Louisiana (2003)—- have been elected in the South, excluding Texas. That state has elected two women chief executives, Miriam “Ma” Ferguson (1925) and Anne Richards (1991).

Posted by: David McLaughlin
09:54 AM April 14


Bill Shipp: Cox playing a waiting game as Republicans continue show under the Dome

Bill Shipp: Cox playing a waiting game as Republicans continue show under the Dome
Athens Banner Herald
March 9, 2005

Halloo, Cathy! Calling Cathy Cox! Are you still out there some place? We have barely heard a peep from you lately. Just want to make sure you’re OK.

A Capitol girl can’t be too careful these days. With all these macho Republicans goose-stepping around the rotunda, hardly anyone seems safe. Least of all, Cathy Cox, the Georgia secretary of state and Democratic candidate for governor.

Before Cathy dropped out of sight a month or two ago, she was everywhere. You may remember Cox starred last fall in a smash-hit series of public-service TV commercials. She warned old people to be careful of crooked money schemes. TV critics gave Cox two thumbs up for her performance. Said she ought to get an Oscar or an Emmy or whatever. Said she was a natural for the tube. Republican leaders blew up. They carped that she had no business doing those commercials. It just wasn’t fair – even if a private foundation paid for them.

Then Cathy’s screen went dark. At the end of December, the TV contract ran out. Except for attending an occasional awards dinner or making a luncheon speech, the Democrats’ great female hope all but faded away.

Her winter replacement: The Grandest Republican Show on Earth. Gov. Sonny Perdue and his legislature took over the airwaves and the headlines.

Never have Georgians seen such a display of power – or such an avalanche of legislation intruding into their private lives. Perdue and his New Order legislature also gave big business the kind of blank checks and tax breaks the tycoons never envisioned. For the suits, working with the Georgia legislature was suddenly more fun than opening bank accounts in the Caymans or seeking new plant sites in Pakistan.

Corporate lobbyists never looked happier. But Perdue and his boys weren’t satisfied with dabbling in the boardrooms. Private bedrooms and personal relationships became an inviting hunting ground.

Proposals to limit or ban abortions piled up. One such notion is on its way to becoming law. A statute to complicate and prolong painful divorce proceedings appeared ready to zip through the Grand Old General Assembly. Another plan – known as the “Mad Dads’ Bill” – was hatched to ease the child-support burden on absentee fathers.

Everywhere you looked, Perdue’s battalions stamped “secrecy” on their doings. Poor Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor tried valiantly to fight back, but the Republican juggernaut overran most of his positions. Taylor, a Democrat also planning to run for governor, continues to battle on, almost alone.

So where is Cathy Cox? She remains mute. She watches. She endures the insults of the occupiers. She smiles. And she waits.

For the truth is, Perdue’s army may have walked into an ambush. Though the new Republican regime counts a female legislator or two among its compliant mascots, Georgia women are generally disgusted at what they have witnessed in Atlanta in the past two months. Plus, they don’t like Perdue. At least, that is what Cathy Cox’s forces believe. They may have closely guarded statistics to prove it.

So they’ve decided to stay out of sight. Cox’s people probably wouldn’t utter a sound right now, even if the state’s legislative leaders showed up for work wearing brown shirts and jackboots – which is not out of the question, by the way.

Cox’s forces know demographics are on their side. Men make most of the noise. But women control politics in Georgia. Get this: Most Georgia women vote Democratic – even if they were a deciding factor in the defeat of incumbent Democrat Gov. Roy Barnes in 2002.

Consider the statistics in the last two elections for governor:
� In 1998, 57 percent of voters in the July 21 Democratic primary were women. Forty-nine percent of voters in the Republican primary were women. More than 54 percent of voters in the general election were female. Barnes defeated Republican multimillionaire Guy Millner, 52 percent to 44 percent. Barnes swept the female vote.

� In 2002, 58 percent of the Democratic primary voters were women; 49 percent of Republican primary voters were women. In the general election, 54 percent of all voters were women. Yet Democrat Barnes lost in the general election partly because women schoolteachers voted en masse against him. Their education-union leaders persuaded them Sonny Perdue was a better choice. Female voters are not likely to make that mistake again, Cox’s strategists believe.

Women are in ascendancy in Georgia politics. A woman, Shirley Franklin, is Democratic mayor of Atlanta, Georgia’s largest city. Karen Handel, Republican, chairs the Fulton County Commission, the state’s largest county. Another Kathy Cox® is state school superintendent. K. Cox may have won her post mostly because voters confused her with the more popular and higher-profile C. Cox.

In any event, gubernatorial candidate Cathy Cox is expected to reappear as soon as this caveman-dominated legislature picks up its clubs and creeps back into the bush. You can bet she will set to work immediately organizing the state’s majority female voters to expel the Neanderthals from high office in next year’s election.

Posted by: David McLaughlin
12:30 PM March 09
Comment [1]

Warm GOP welcome for Cox

Warm GOP welcome for Cox
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Feburary 24, 2005

Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox came to Gwinnett Wednesday to discuss the evils of investment fraud. But the appearance of the Democratic gubernatorial contender in this GOP-dominated county may have greater lasting significance than just a 20-minute speech to the Chamber of Commerce.

“I am keenly aware that I was the only Democrat on the statewide ballot in 2002 who actually won in Gwinnett County, so I appreciate your friendship and your independent thought,” Cox told a ballroom packed with county business leaders.

Cox also carried GOP-dominated Cobb that year. Her only announced Democratic primary rival, Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, lost both counties.

It’s a point Cox will likely repeat during return visits to the suburbs for the 2006 election.

Political experts say Gwinnettians can expect to see Cox much more often. Why? Because if there is a future for the Democratic Party in Georgia, it lies in Atlanta’s suburbs, they say.

That future might also hinge on the party’s ability to field candidates who are women—- now the party’s largest voting constituency, according to exit polls from recent elections.

White men, on the other hand, are now the party’s smallest voting bloc. “The theory is, if Cox wins the Democratic nomination, she will be able to peel off women who consider themselves Republicans,” said University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock.

Exit polling strongly suggests that Georgia’s white men have become unshakably Republican in their voting patterns—- 72 percent GOP, if independents are excluded.

But women, while majority Republican, are much less tied to the GOP, the same data show. The theory that women, particularly white women with moderate to conservative positions, could hold the key to restoring the Democratic Party in the South remains unproven.

In 2003, while Republicans seized governorships in California, Kentucky and Mississippi, Louisiana Democratic Lt. Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, who fit that profile, won the governorship of that state. But last year, Inez Tenebaum, a popular South Carolina education superintendent, failed to turn her crossover appeal into a U.S. Senate election victory.

“The test for [Cox] will be if she can translate the support she’s generated as secretary of state into the much more competitive world of gubernatorial politics,” said Merle Black, an Emory University political scientist.

“The nature of the competition changes. Her primary challenger is a strong opponent,” Black said. “If she wins the nomination, she faces an incumbent [GOP Gov. Sonny Perdue] whose party seems to be on the upswing.” Black and Bullock agreed that Cox’s expected focus on the suburbs is smart politics.

So, too, is touting issues with bipartisan appeal. On Wednesday, Cox urged her audience to consider the impact of investment fraud on economic development.

The secretary of state, who also holds the title of state commissioner of securities, said her office is currently investigating investor scams that have resulted in $70 million in losses for duped customers.

“And I’m not talking about a few millionaires who lost it big on a bad deal,” Cox said. “I’m talking about thousands of hardworking Georgians, many of whom lost their entire life savings after a lifetime of work because they got caught up in one of these scams that, as your momma told you, sounded too good to be true.” Cox was warmly received.

She sat at a table with some of Gwinnett’s most prominent businessmen, including Wayne Mason, who pulled out her chair for her prior to the meal. Cox drew laughs when she quipped that her staffers were puzzled over her invitation to speak to a Gwinnett audience.

The same staffers, she said, suggested the chamber may have confused her with another Cox. “They ask me,” said Cox, ” ‘Do you think they think you’re the Republican [state Schools Superintendent] Kathy Cox?’ ”

Posted by: David McLaughlin
02:36 PM February 24

Cathy Cox: 'We've come a long way'

Cathy Cox: ‘We’ve come a long way’
Columbus Ledger Enquirer
Secretary of State notes strides, pushes for more progress for equality
Feburary 24, 2005

The numbers are certainly encouraging. Of registered voters in Georgia, almost 55 percent are women. In last November’s election, women made up 56 percent of Georgians voting.

It seems like an awfully good time for someone to run for election as the first woman governor of Georgia. Cathy Cox certainly thinks so. “Timing is important,” said Cox who was in Columbus Saturday afternoon, “and those numbers were certainly part of the equation in my decision to go for the Democratic nomination.”

Cox, the state’s first woman Secretary of State, now in her second term, won re-election with 61 percent of the vote. That’s another nice number.

She was not in town to campaign, however, but rather to deliver a Women’s History Month address at Columbus Technical College. The program celebrated “Women on the Rise” and was sponsored by state Rep. Carolyn F. Hugley of Columbus, presently the minority whip in the House.

Local women honored for achievement and service in areas that included business, the arts, politics, corporate governance, community revitalization and education, were Gail Daniel, Millie Carrion, Theresa Tomlinson, Evelyn Turner Pugh, Audrey Tillman, Deidre Williams, Pat Hugley-Green, Phyllis Jones, Alice Pate and Susan Peters.

“We’ve come a long way,” Cox told the audience that included local legislators Calvin Smyre and Debbie Buckner. “Fewer than 100 years ago, women didn’t have the right to vote in Georgia, now the state legislature is 20 percent women.”

Noting that a woman is now the chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court as well as the state’s secretary of education, she told those gathered that “women must continue to break down barriers and keep pushing against that glass ceiling so that years from now only in history books will we read about inequality for women.”

After the program, Cox was asked what issue she felt was most important to women voters. “Education always tops the list. Good education translates into opportunity. Georgia class sizes must get smaller. Also, we need to get teachers more involved in the process because they are the experts, not the bureaucrats,” she said.

A native of Bainbridge, Ga., Cox said her “heart is in rural Georgia” and that the next decade needs to be boom years for business in places around the state “other than Atlanta.”

Hugley said that Cox was chosen as the day’s speaker because, “I couldn’t think of a better woman role model than Cathy Cox.”

Cox said wherever she goes, she encourages more women to follow in her footsteps and get involved in politics and run for office. “The excuse I hear most,” she said, “is that politics is too mean.

That, and the women are still the primary caregiver for their children. But we need young women to get involved because their perspective is so important.”

Posted by: David McLaughlin
10:26 AM February 24


Voting Made Easy

Voting Made Easy
Editorial from the Rome News Tribune
Feburary 21, 2005

THE REASON for the huge success of Georgia’s first attempt at early voting last year was convenience. Allowing voters to cast ballots on the Monday-Friday before the election makes it easier for them to fit this essential component of representative democracy into their increasingly busy schedules.

In the November general election, some 12 percent of all votes were cast during the advance period almost 390,000 of them. In Floyd County, 2,579 voters turned out “ahead of time.”

Figuring that more of a good thing would be even better, Secretary of State Cathy Cox is asking the General Assembly to extend the advance voting period from one week to two. Evon Billups, the local election supervisor agrees, saying “I think an extended period would be easier than trying to cram it all into one week.

We’d be able to serve the public better.” Both are probably wrong. Adding to the time frame would only lengthen the period in which voting is more convenient. That’s not the same thing as actually continuing to make it more convenient, which is what should be addressed.

SUCCESSFUL as the debut of early voting was in Georgia, availing one’s self of the opportunity during limited hours remains inconvenient for many. In addition, an extended period would increase the risk of some closing campaign event “a major goof or scandal” that might cause a voter to change his/her mind after having already cast the die and not being able to take it back.

There’s also an added expense factor involved, although this is a poor objection. It’s too expensive to make voting more convenient for the public?

Anybody care to run for office on such a platform?

Some politicians “primarily Republicans” fret about making voting too easy, which they believe might encourage “seldom” voters who are often assumed to have Democratic leanings to show up.

Well, based on last year’s romp by Republicans in Georgia while scads of voters took advantage of early balloting, it is a bit difficult to find any ground for such a fear.

What is actually necessary is legislation and a Golden Dome atmosphere that encourages increasing convenience during that current single week of advance voting.

FOR EXAMPLE, voting hours should be extended to Saturday, which is not presently allowed. Voting hours should include evenings.

And either/or more advance polling places or ones easier to get to should be encouraged. For example, even if Floyd County only keeps one advanced polling place (it really should have at least two, one in the mall) it could be relocated to the main library.

There voters would have access Monday through Saturday and as late as 9 p.m. They also would be able to avoid the steep steps at the current location in the Historic Courthouse which, to put it mildly, are challenging to senior citizens.

With the current M-F, 8-5 hours everyone locked into a M-F, 8-5 job has great difficulty in voting early “and that’s still a lot of folks”, almost none of whom can just walk off the assembly line or leave their cubicle to go vote.

Given the high early turnout and often long lines, it is also not something easily squeezed into a lunch hour.

If early voting were made a lot more convenient just in that single week, might not the turnout leap from last year’s 12 percent to 25 percent?

LET’S FACE IT: Making voting easier is nowhere near as difficult or expensive as the state engineering a road or solving the Medicaid problem. If the legislature can’t handle this one practically overnight, the voters have a bigger problem than not having ready access to the ballot box.

Posted by: David McLaughlin
02:38 PM February 21

What scares Republicans

What scares Republicans
Editorial from the Rome News Tribune
Feburary 14, 2005

IF YOU’RE a Georgia Republican it appears that Cathy Cox, the Democratic secretary of state, must be at least as scary to face at the polls as, say, Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Herman Talmadge.

Why else the constant attempt to make her invisible before her expected challenge to Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2006 / assuming she can defeat an equally scary Democrat in Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor.

The reigning GOP first throws her offices out of the Capital, then cuts her operating budget while most others get increases, and now a bill has been introduced in the House to ban any elected official from making public-service ads with state funds.

Whoops! Not too clever in that the public-service TV ads featuring Mrs. Cox, which seek to inform citizens about investment scams, aren’t even being paid for with state funds but rather from Georgia’s share of a national lawsuit settlement against nine investment firms. It’s sort of like using the tobacco settlement money for all those ads warning kids not to start smoking. Even should this ludicrous bill pass it can’t achieve the GOP’s objective.

NOT ONLY THAT, but Mrs. Cox is the spokesperson in only four of the seven ads / and doesn’t identify herself in any one of them. She doesn’t have to. That her face is already so well known to the electorate that she may be more recognizable than Nicole Kidman / or Sonny Perdue / should really, really scare the Republicans.

The measure purportedly is aimed at keeping those in office from using their position to enhance their visibility for future campaigns. It would even ban local incumbent sheriffs from showing themselves in uniform in campaign ads. This would be like saying that George W. Bush can’t use a podium with the presidential seal or an American flag in his campaign appearances.

This effort to try to strip a potentially potent opponent of visibility should make one wonder what the Republican Party’s internal polls are showing. After all, it is almost two years to the gubernatorial election and the GOP is firmly in control of the state’s executive and legislative branches. This should be a time for the “ins” to be amassing a record of legislative and administrative accomplishments that would make them unassailable at the polls.

INSTEAD, THEY seem intent on treating Mrs. Cox like a Joan of Arc they want to burn at the stake before she can even strap on her armor. They might be wise to remember that, in the end, Joan of Arc was declared a saint.

Posted by: David McLaughlin
02:40 PM February 14

Cox: Expand Early Voting in Ga.

Cox: Expand Early Voting in Ga.

ATLANTA (AP)—Georgia’s early voting period would be expanded from one week to two under a plan announced Tuesday by Secretary of State Cathy Cox.

A bill introduced on Cox’s behalf in the state House also would allow local election officials to hold advanced voting during evening hours and on Saturdays.

Georgia allowed non-absentee early voting for the first time in November’s election. Nearly 390,000 people voted the week before the election—just under 12 percent of the total electorate.

“Last fall, the public showed just how much they liked advanced voting and, in many communities, the response nearly overwhelmed county election officials,” said Cox, who oversees Georgia elections. “Our proposal would spread out the flow of voters and permit counties to better accommodate large advance voting turnouts.”

Cox’s proposal, sponsored by Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Atlanta, would not allow voting on the Saturday immediately before an election.

Cox, a Democrat who has announced plans to run for governor, had pushed for longer early voting periods before last year’s changes were approved. Georgians were allowed to vote on the Monday through Friday before the election.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Posted by: David McLaughlin
02:41 PM February 01

Cox pushes "personal" economic development

Cox pushes “personal” economic development

Associated Press

By John M. Willis

Georgians should take more interest in their personal economic development, said Secretary of State Cathy Cox.

Cox, speaking Thursday at the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce�s 45th annual banquet, said while groups such as the chamber celebrate building infrastructure and industrial park and recruiting new business and industry, too few Georgians are knowledgeable about their personal financial picture.

�We have done little in our own state to help people handle the money they earn in the course of a lifetime, and many Georgians end up in financial ruin after a lifetime of working,� she said.

That is why Cox, whose office licenses and regulates brokers and securities sold in Georgia, said her office has embarked on a major effort to help Georgians understand their finances and avoid scams.

�We have seen little done in our school systems and colleges to help people understand their investments,� she said. �It has become apparent to me over the years that Georgians from all walks of life lack the basic information they need to handle financial decisions.�

The result, Cox said, is an epidemic of financial fraud in the state.

�Our office is investigating investment losses of more than $70 million from just last year,� she said.

Using $5.4 million the state received to settle an investment fraud lawsuit, Cox�s office last year began an ambitious educational program to warn investors about the potential fraud and has conducted a series of financial seminars across the state.

�Using part of that settlement, we had the University of Georgia do a survey of what Georgians knew about investments,� she said. �One of the things we learned is that less than 7 percent of people in this state had any idea that they could go to the Secretary of State�s office to report investment fraud.�

Some of those educational efforts have become bogged down in state politics.

Republicans howled that Cox, who plans to challenge Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2006, was wrongly using her office to boost her name recognition, especially by appearing in some television ads highlighting investment scams.

Two House Republicans this week proposed a bill to ban any public officer from producing public service ads with state funds. One of the bill�s sponsors, Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Garden City, said the Cox ads were �just used for name recognition to run for office.�

If approved, the bill would apply to more than just the state�s constitutional officers. The measure would also ban the use of any public uniform in campaign ads, meaning local sheriffs wouldn�t be allowed to send out campaign mailers showing themselves in uniform. Also off-limits would be official seals or emblems in campaign materials.

�I have written both of the sponsors of that bill and told them that I will not apologize for trying to make Georgians � especially the most vulnerable of our citizens � more aware of a multi-million dollar problem,� Cox said after her speech.

More than 400 members of the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce attended the banquet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Posted by: David McLaughlin
02:42 PM January 26

Cox Files to Begin Ga. Governor Campaign

Cox Files to Begin Ga. Governor Campaign
Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox Files Papers to Begin 2006 Campaign for Governor

Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox announced Monday that she will run for governor in 2006, making her the second Democrat working to deny re-election to Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue. Democratic Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor announced earlier.

In an announcement posted on her Web site, Cox said she believed the time was right for her to run. She filed the paperwork Monday that allows her to begin raising money for the campaign.

“I believe Georgia is ready for a governor who takes us beyond partisan one-upmanship and is willing to work with people of all political parties to get things done,” she said in the announcement. “I will be that kind of governor.”

Cox, 46, is serving her second term as the state’s chief elections official. During her tenure, Georgia became the first state in the nation to deploy a uniform electronic voting system.

Perdue spokesman Dan McLagan said the governor intended “to remain focused on the job of governing and working hard for the people of Georgia. There will be a time for politics and that will come well after the important and upcoming legislative session.”

Just two years ago, Perdue became the first Republican governor in more than 130 years of Georgia history, ousting Democrat Roy Barnes. He gained control of the state Senate through party switches shortly after his election, and this year was instrumental in a GOP electoral takeover of the state House.

“That is part of a tone I want to change in government,” Cox said in an interview. “We’ve got to get beyond one party trying to dominate and being unwilling to work with people of another party. I’m not going to expend any of my energies convincing people to switch parties. I want to build consensus between Republicans and Democrats, not further divide them.”

In the last six weeks, four Republican activists asked her to switch parties, three of them suggesting she run as a Republican for lieutenant governor, Cox said.

“I take that as a good sign I am the kind of candidate that can attract Democrat and Republican support,” she said.

Charles Bullock, a University of Georgia political scientist, said that is his take, too.

“She’s going to have strong appeal in the Democratic Party and some reach among independents and Republicans,” he said.

Both Democrats pose formidable challenges for Perdue, he said. “They should be able to raise the money they need. They have name recognition and contacts around the state. It should make for an exciting summer of 2006 as they go head to head.”

In a hint of what may be the bruising primary contest to come, Taylor spokesman Rick Dent said, “Now we will see if Mark Taylor’s experience, his record on schools, jobs and protecting families and his moderate views on the issues can beat a liberal like Cox in a Democratic primary.”

A poll conducted in October by Zogby International for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV suggested a tough re-election battle for Perdue against either Cox or Taylor.

Perdue led Taylor 44 percent to 41 percent and was tied with Cox at 41 percent each in the poll of 503 likely votes. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Posted by: David McLaughlin
02:45 PM December 28
Comment [1]