Friday, October 28, 2011

Amazing Grace

One of my, and millions of others', favorite hymn is "Amazing Grace." I am always moved when I hear it. But I have never been more moved than when I heard it on the Youtube clip of Wintley Phipps. I think you will love it and be moved as well. Spirituals.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It is Your Time to Shine

Tired of what politicians do?
Out for themselves and not for you?
It's time to do what the Falcons do.
Rise Up!
This is their theme song, yes that's true;
But this can be your theme song too!
Put in your words and it IS you!
Rise Up!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Does Georgia Need a Veteran's Court

A friend of mine, knowing my concern about veterans and their treatment, suggested I take a look at a concept called Veterans Court. For openers, here is an article on Veterans Court. I found it to be interesting and worth looking in to. I'm an very concerned about our Veterans, who risked so much for us, being forgotten as we draw down two wars. I say, never forget the debt!

Why Job Training for the Unemployed

The very idea of allowing the unemployed to get tuition free technical job training seems to upset some folks. To me it just makes sense both economically and morally.
Economically, the investment in job training for those on unemployment will lead to jobs and remove the unemployed burden to taxpayers. It will also help provide a technically qualified work force that will be an attractor for new businesses.
Morally, it is neighbor helping neighbor in the best way. We've all heard the adage, "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime." That is what we would be doing.
Now, detractors will say we can't afford to foot the bill for the school costs of the unemployed. They say, "Look at the Hope scholarship. We have had to reduce the amount of the money Hope provides due to the lagging economy." But of course, they don't say we have reduced paying out that money to those who are wealthy enough not to need it for their schooling.
Take the gentleman I spoke to last night. He was a college graduate, but in a field little in demand. He wanted to train in a new technical trade to support his family, but the rules of the system forced him to scrape together all the money to pay for it himself while he was barely scraping by. Yet the student from a family making over $250,000 a year has his tuition to college paid for so he can drive a BMW. I think there is a better way.
In fact, while the University System accepts the scholars and the well healed, the Technical College System is the path to a good job for those wanting to work in the technology fields. I believe the Technical College System could afford to waive the tuition of the unemployed in order to allow them training. During the time I spent in that system, I saw it was able to grow its bureaucracy, much like the K through 12 public school system, has done. If cost were the only factor, it could trim some of that bureaucracy to make up the difference.
As I said, getting the unemployed trained in new skills and employed helps us all, both economically, making the costs of training them an investment, and morally, doing the right thing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Radio Daze

My appearance on the Al Gainey show today reminded me of a bushwhack debate I had in South Hall last year when my 5 minutes to give opening remarks turned out to be less than three. Although told "This will be by phone for 8-10 minutes live," I was told at just over the two minute mark that I had one minute to wrap things up. Interestingly enough, the average time my fellow candidates had was 7 minutes. I am told I should have expected to get less than half the time the Republicans did, but I never really thought Al Gainey would do that. I'm sure he was just coming up against a hard break as the other candidate interviews had run long. In any event, had I been given equal time, the interview might have gone something like the following:

AL: Good Morning Paul Wayne Godfrey

PAUL: Good Morning Al. You know, the last time we talked we agreed on an issue-the disparity in water rates in Hall County versus the city of Gainesville. And lo and behold, the city addressed those disparities and layed out a plan that will make the rates more equitable. I had thought about seeing if we could agree on some issues this time.

AL: You are running for the 25 district seat vacated by James Mills. Why don't you tell us something about yourself and why you are running?

PAUL: Well, I'm Dr. Paul Wayne Godfrey. I served 23 years in the military and retired a Lt. Colonel, then I spent 15 years teaching people how to learn a career and get a job. I am retired from both now and want to continue that service I have given throughout my life.

AL: Tell us what you think are the major issues facing Georgia today?

PAUL: Well, for me there are four major issues. They all revolve around money, and that's the issue of jobs. We seem to have reached a dry spell in attracting jobs into Georgia, and this needs to be addressed.
Another area is people. For example, take the area relating to support of our veterans. Veteran Health care is an issue that the American Legion Post 328 in South Hall has been concerned about. Now, the recent VA decision to expand clinic services in South Hall is one example of the kind of support the veterans should have. As a Veteran and a Legionnaire myself, I applaud that addition, as I know you do as well. But, there are other issues relating to our Veterans that we need to address, especially as they come home from the wars. We certainly don't want a Tommy attitude like we had after the Vietnam War. Rudyard Kipling captured this sentiment in his poem Tommy. Part of it goes:
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
A problem in being accepted into a major state college by a local veteran is an indicator of what I'm talking about. His score on the graduate school entrance exam, the GRE, was second only to one person that college accepted for the program. Although he was accepted by another state college, I fear the turn down may have been motivated by that anti-Tommy attitude.
AL: You've got one minute to wrap things up.
IF I had been given the time-
PAUL. On the bright side, I'm happy to say that efforts by our local government to support our troops, such as the Library systems support for the Legion sponsored "Stand Down" a couple of weekends ago to help homeless and unemployed Veterans, and Wounded Warriors, have been praiseworthy.
Another area that I think we owe people is that of our senior citizens. Many are on fixed income and often have to choose between medicines and food when managing their budgets. But just when they have it balance, lo here comes their property tax bill. Now, true, many can reduce this with their Homestead exemption if their income is well below the poverty level. I think they should be able to exempt all property taxes that do not pay for services they receive when they are 65 or older, but at least, the threshold that lets seniors exempt needs to be raised above the poverty level.. The recent action in the state house to lower the age at which some tax benefits can be realized are encouraging, but I think we should do more.
Well, as you know, a good portion of our property taxes go to pay for education. Now, as a former teacher myself, I absolutely support education, but education dollars need to focus on the classroom and not the boardrooms of the school administrators. I believe if we consciously applied that principal, we would find the education levels of Georgia's students to be the envy of the nation, like we are now in postsecondary workforce education. Education for Georgians is a major thing that will help those out of work find work, and especially workforce education. That's why I believe that every unemployed Georgian receiving unemployment should be afforded the opportunity and incentivized to at least enroll in a job education program like those delivered by our technical colleges. That will not only prepare them for new jobs, but also help bring in businesses by offering businesses an educated and prepared work force.
Now, everything costs money, especially when the government does it. That's why I believe we need to find ways to foster cooperative work among our states multiple levels of government. Consolidation of services has a potential of significant cost savings, as does having joint planning projects so that all local and state governments are pursuing the same goals. We need this same level of cooperation among the state representatives who have the interests of their district at heart. We need to recognize that South Georgia and Metro Atlanta may have different priorities and we need to work cooperatively and address the needs of the entire state, not just one region. I believe the first duty of every member of the Georgia House is to represent their district to the utmost of their abilities, and second, they need to work cooperatively with the other members of the house in doing what is best for Georgia, and I intend to pay attention to these needs.
Of course, there are many more things I could identify that need attention. Why, there were 182 House Bills in 2011 that Survived Crossover day ranging from Coin operated amusement machines (HB 164) to immigration law (HB 87). But one representative can only do so much in one year, and that is the term remaining for this seat. And someone who thinks they can achieve a positive difference with platitudes of good business principals or touts their leadership ability without a plan to lead will get nothing done. In my 23 years military service I commanded three units and was the deputy for the fourth. Leadership principles I understand, but what is most important is a leadership plan. That's what earned the outstanding unit awards.
If I had more time, I could hammer away at more problems. We all know the landscape of house seats is changing and even some of the candidates for this seat will end up in mixed county seats next year. I happen to live in the only district that is drawn to be wholly Hall County. I hope to win this election so I can serve Hall. If I do, I am convinced the people of Hall will see what I can do and elect me to serve them again.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What's So Special About Senior Citizens?

The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia reports ( ) that 10.2% of senior citizens above the age of 65 are below the poverty level. They say that the fixed income Seniors they serve wish they could buy both food and medication, not to mention paying their non-exempt property tax. Even when this poverty problem of seniors is recognized, about the only relief is to freeze the value of the property. Of course, with declining property values due to the current economic situation, this is a bad thing. There are bad things other than the property tax issue I have listed that affect senior citizens. Relief in that area is only a first step. I fully intend to look at all the issues that affect elders and will fight to correct them all, one at a time if necessary. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Veteran Treatment

I was asked, why the hassle about the Vets? Why, we treat them fair and complete! Don't we say, "Thank you for your service" whenever we meet? It is true that most are treated with a degree of courteous respect. Of course, that has been true at certain times throughout the history of warfare. But wars draw down, and memories of the great deeds done are forgot. I believe the following clip expresses that turn quite well: Tommy Atkins, by Rudyard Kipling.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Six Seven Candidates, but Two Choices

     The newly vacant House District 25 seat has certainly drawn a slew of folks claiming to be Republicans. There is a new found Republican party zeitgeist dressing as fiscally and morally conservative, touting a caring for the "middle" class, courting the Tea Party by claiming to despise those evil taxers, and wrapping themselves in the cloak of States' Rights. Their continued belief that big business has a soul and the rich really care unless you ask them to pay notwithstanding, this creates a bandwagon that every politician in Georgia seems to want to climb onto.
On the other hand, the Democrats are clothed Nationally as Blue Socialists (what happened to Red being the socialist color?) who only want to see government grow and control our lives.  There are actually people in both parties that emulate these two distinctions. However, having lived several score years myself and seen this changing of vestment take place, I still know who, by and large really cares about the voter in Georgia, abhors government intrusion in our lives, and seeks government no bigger than is essential to the needs of the people. I guess I really am a Democratic-Republican, the original name of the Democrat party that held to those high principles. That is why I am still a Democrat in the vein of those great statesmen of Georgia's past, from Carl Sanders who left office just before I entered the military, to Zell Miller who took office as Governor just as I left the military.
     Now, I freely admit, as a friend of mine told me, the Democrat party is like a big ship with lots of passengers and crew of differing motivations and persuasions, and there are parts of the ship where I just don't want to go. Today, I am inclined to even stay away from the bridge. Although I hope the Captain of the Ship means well, I don't completely agree with the direction the current crew in charge of the bridge is taking us as a country.
     But I do know the direction I want to go for Georgia. That is also why I am joining this madding crowd in this election, not to become one of them, although the labels they brand themselves with will undoubtedly encourage many to vote for them. I seek to give the voters a sane choice. I ask that voters not be just a crowd follower after a party label or slogan. Look at all the candidates' qualifications and goals before you make a choice, and vote with your head. If you merely vote with your heart you are likely to either get heartburn or be heartbroken with the results. I have made my qualifications and issues public at and invite everyone to visit.