“We Need Ossoff and Warnock in the Senate”

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Emily McLaughlin, Co-President, Staff Writer

The US general election may have passed this November, but the voting is not over yet. Two key US Senate races remain undecided in Georgia, and the seats are still up for grabs. This specific election in Georgia was too close to call after the November 3rd election, and so a runoff is now being held. For those new to the voting process, a runoff election is a follow-up election, in which the two top candidates of a race run against each other. This occurs when neither candidate meets the required margin of the vote to be declared the winner of the election. Georgia requires a candidate to win a majority of votes (50%+1) to be elected to office, according to the state’s election laws. In November of 2020, the two top candidates of each race did not meet this requirement. In one election, Republican Senator David Perdue is running against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff. The other race is between Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock and Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler. The Georgia runoff election is being held on January 5th, but early voting began on December 13th. 

You may be asking yourself, Why should I care about an election taking place in Georgia? Of course, that is a valid inquiry. I am writing this from my home in New York, and you are most likely reading this in New York as well. It’s true that whoever ends up winning this election will not be our state senator. However, that does not mean it will not impact New York and America overall. This runoff is particularly interesting and important because of the weight it holds in our federal government. The outcome of this election will determine which party controls the Senate. The Republican party currently has control of the senate, with a 50-48 margin. If the Republicans in Georgia win either of the two seats, they will maintain control. However, if the Democrats win both seats, the margin will now be 50-50, and with the Vice President being the tiebreaker, the Democrats will gain control. The current Vice President-elect is Democrat Kamala Harris, and she will be sworn in on January 20th. If you care about the enactment of legislation, this race should be important to you.

Personally, I am rooting for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock to take the senate seats in this election. I am an advocate for progressive policy and change, and the Democratic party has proved time and time again that they are the most willing to move in that direction. I feel strongly that not every Democrat deserves to be rallied behind. Policy is more important to me than party. However, I am confident in supporting Ossoff and Warnock. 

Meet Jon Ossoff

Jon Ossoff is a Georgia native who grew up in Atlanta. At just 33 years old, he serves as the CEO of Insight TWI, a media production company that investigates corruption, organized crime, and war crimes for international news organizations. Ossoff’s company has successfully investigated and exposed sexual slavery of women and girls by ISIS, crooked judges, foreign officials who steal U.S-funded food and medical aid, contract killers, human traffickers, war crimes, and bribery, all in recent years. Insight TWI has won hundreds of major awards with Ossoff’s leadership. Prior to becoming a successful CEO and flourishing as an investigative journalist, Ossoff worked as a national security aide for Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson. While in this position Ossoff drafted legislation, investigated the mass surveillance of American citizens, and worked to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. During his time involved in congress, he was mentored by Congressman John Lewis, a former champion of the Civil Rights movement. 

Let’s go over a few of Ossoff’s policies/promises…

For COVID-19 relief, Ossoff wants to boost hospitals and overall health response, as well as speed up the containment process of the virus. This means equipping medical experts to track the virus while maintaining privacy and other civil liberties. Ossoff wants to work on “shoring up” Americans’ finances, providing Americans with financial stimulus during this time of economic uncertainty. He understands that we cannot social distance indefinitely, so the government needs to continue to give aid to hospitals and virus tracing efforts. While doing this, Ossoff wants to continue to build healthcare capacity, and then distribute the vaccine to all Americans once possible.

Ossoff says he will vote to protect and strengthen Medicare, and supports offering all Americans a public healthcare option as an alternative to private insurance. Ossoff firmly believes that your insurance is your choice: Americans should be free to continue private insurance,  with a public option possible as well. He also promises to vote to crack down on price gouging by drug companies in order to make more generic medicine available, and vote to strengthen the Affordable Care Act’s protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. 

Ossoff promises to be an ally to immigrants, LGBTQ+ community, and Women’s reproductive rights. On the topic of immigration, Ossoff is Pro-Immigration and Pro-Strong Borders. He wants to control who comes into the country while respecting human rights and remaining a haven for people fleeing persecution and striving for opportunity. With the LGBTQ+ community, Ossoff will defend marriage equality, adoption rights, and the expansion of federal anti-discrimination statutes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. For Women’s reproductive rights, Ossoff is outspokenly Pro-Choice. He promises to only vote to confirm federal judges who pledge to uphold Roe v. Wade and preserve a woman’s right to choose. Through his investigative journalism, Ossoff’s teams have gone undercover to expose how dangerous, unqualified, and unregulated abortion providers kill thousands of women in places where safe abortion services are not available legally. It is important to Ossoff for women to have safe access to such services. 

Meet Reverend Raphael Warnock

Reverend Raphael Warnock grew up in public housing in Savannah. Despite his family facing economic hardships, he was able to go to college and earn his Ph.D. in systematic theology. After earning his doctorate, he was ordained as a minister. Fifteen years ago, he was chosen to serve as Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former pulpit of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. His Christian faith has always been a big part of his life. Reverend Warnock believes his impact does not stop at the church door and has been an advocate to expand health care coverage and to ensure hardworking Georgians can make a living wage. He has worked first hand with struggling Georgia families, and he wants to make sure their voices are heard in Washington. 

Let’s go over a few of Reverend Warnock’s policies/promises…

 On the issue of Climate, Warnock is very passionate about preserving our planet for younger generations. If voted into the senate, Reverend Warnock promises to push for rejoining the Paris Climate Accords and to build upon the international commitment to fighting climate change. He also will advocate for marginalized people to receive training and education to participate in the green new economy and jobs. Reverend Warnock is prepared to use his seat in the senate to set goals for carbon reduction and robust climate standards for infrastructure and automobiles, encourage investments in clean energy, and hold companies that contribute to pollution accountable. 

Criminal justice reform is also very important to Reverend Warnock. In his ministry, he has spoken out against the current system and its failures. Reverend Warnock wants to responsibly fund police departments, and improve the relationships between the police and the communities they serve. In order to allow this to happen, Reverend Warnock understands that this will require investing resources into the training police. He hopes to create bonds between the police and citizens, and improve trust in the police for people from various demographics. In the Senate, Warnock will also work to reform the bail system, end mass incarceration and end the use of privatized prisons that monetize off of the high incarceration rate. Mass incarceration is a huge problem in America, the country contains only 5 percent of the world’s population while having nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. (Washington Post)

Reverend Warnock wants to rebuild an economy that works for everyone. In the Senate, he promises to vote to fund unemployment in order to fund those who have been hurt by the pandemic. He wants to encourage technical and vocational training, and apprenticeships, help small businesses and advocate for a liveable wage. Reverend Warnock promises to protect the dignity of the worker, and work to support transparency around economic development programs. 

Both of the men are running on very similar platforms, and these were just a few of the policies they are supporting. If you are interested to learn more about what policies they are supporting, I suggest checking out each of their campaign websites. I gained my understanding of their political platforms through their websites, they were extremely informative and user friendly. Visit https://electjon.com and https://warnockforgeorgia.com 

With the runoff being held in just a few days, the polls are getting close. According to Projects FiveThirtyEight, as of yesterday Jon Ossoff has a +0.9 lead over Senator David Perdue, with a projected 48.5% of the vote. Senator Perdue stands with a projected 47.6% of the vote. In the race between Reverend Raphael Warnock and Senator Kelly Loeffler, Reverend Warnock has +1.8 lead, with a projected 49.2% of the vote. Senator Loeffler is projected to have 47.4% of the vote at this time. 

I am ecstatic to be writing this in support of two politicians I truly believe in. Both Reverend Warnock and Ossoff have appealed to younger demographics, and rallied members of Gen z to vote for them. This has proved to positively impact their campaign. If I lived in Georgia and was a year older, they would definitely have my vote. I truly hope that they will both be able to maintain their leads, and bring their ideas to the US Senate.