For the first time in United States history, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has been voted out of his post, just days after Congress averted a government shutdown with a short term funding measure. With razor thin margins dictating the balance of power in Congress, multiple legal challenges to recently redrawn political maps, and seemingly increasing political polarization, one must work across the aisle and build broad coalitions in order to accomplish legislative victories. So, why was this very action punished by Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s removal?
Zoom out: In 2021, the once every decade process of redrawing our state’s political maps took place. Several states across the country, including Georgia, have since become subject to litigation over partisan gerrymandering allegations. Just days ago, Federal judges selected a new Congressional district map for the State of Alabama, drawn by a court-appointed special master. This came after the Supreme Court upheld a Federal court ruling, that the redrawn Alabama Congressional maps violated the Voting Rights Act.
In Georgia, there is the looming potential for a Special Session of the Georgia General Assembly to be called for the purpose of redrawing our own state’s district maps. Multiple legal challenges have been brought claiming similar violations of the Voting Rights Act as seen in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and other states. The result of these court cases could mean shifts in the balance of power in Congress and various state legislatures, including possibly an even narrower margin for Republicans in Georgia who currently control both the state House and Senate.
Why this matters: The balance of power in the State House currently sits at 102 to 78 with Republicans holding the majority. In the State Senate the Republicans hold a 33 to 23 majority. The Georgia Congressional delegation also favors Republicans with a 9 to 5 majority.
By using the resources of the ForestPAC to support candidates on both sides of the aisle, investing in research funded by the Georgia Forestry Foundation, and building a strong communications and grassroots network, the GFA is continuously laying the ground work to position pro-forestry policy to advance in the Georgia legislature and even in Congress.
“We as a single organization ultimately do not get to choose who is elected, that is up to the voters of Georgia,” GFA President & CEO Andres Villegas said. “However, we must always position ourselves to win regardless of who is in power.”
Our strategic focus: We will remain active with our advocacy efforts in Atlanta and Washington, ensuring that those who are elected to represent us have the information and data needed to make the best decisions for Georgia, the number one forestry state in the nation. Your support of the ForestPAC, Foundation and staying engaged with your legislators and local elected officials is a critical step that positions GFA to be successful despite the ever changing political conditions.