Nearly two weeks ago, Georgia Senator Doug Collins claimed Democrats were “in love with terrorists.” The comments drew immediate repudiation from many including for US Attorney Preet Bharara. Bharara said that he would “max out” whoever was running against the congressman.
One of the Democratic hopefuls in Georgia’s 9th District is Army Veteran Devin Pandy. We spoke with Pandy about his plans for the district and about Collins’ comments as well.
Hill Reporter: Republican Doug Collins is currently the Representative in Georgia’s 9th District. You hope to be his 2020 Democratic opponent. What do you see as the District’s biggest needs?
Pandy: Small businesses and farmers are disproportionately affected by the increased costs of foreign goods due to the unnecessary tariff war instigated by Donald Trump. This tariff war, the cause of one of America’s most recent and most devastating economic distresses, has necessitated a $28 billion farming bailout. A bailout some small farmers have yet to receive. It is critical that Rural Georgia, and the rest of rural America, be recognized, represented, and compensated for their contributions to national and international agriculture.
Hill Reporter: You will be facing off against Antwon Stephens and Dan Wilson in the Districts primary. Why are you the best Democrat for the job?
Pandy: None of the candidates in the District 9’s primary has held political office before, but I believe that I bring the maturity, leadership skills, and dedication to service that will best represent the needs and concerns of the voters in the district. I am mission-ready to focus on the needs of the people of the Rural Georgia from day one. As a bi-partisan Democrat I will support legislation that benefits our country and the district, regardless of which party introduces it, although I do believe that, in general, Democratic policies are better overall for the voters in our district. Beyond the primary, I also feel I am the best candidate to defeat Doug Collins, or any other Republican should Collins decide not to seek reelection. District 9 is my home, Rural Georgia’s are my people, and I hope they see fit to elect me their representative.
Hill Reporter: You served in the military for a number of years. What skills did you learn as a Warrant Officer that could help you as a lawmaker in Washington?
Pandy: Warrant Officers are a rare breed in the Army, serving as Technical Experts with three specific duties; Advising Commanders, Leading Combat, and Providing Guidance and Instruction in Their Field. This translates to educating my fellow Congresspersons on the specific needs of my District and State, leading my party cohorts and Republican counterparts in common-sense bi-partisan legislation, and providing sound, practical, fact-based advice to House leaders and the President. Warrant Officers are Subject Matter Experts (SME) in their field. I will serve in Congress as the SME for my district, ensuring all issues are addressed and resolved at the Congressional level, and that the residents of Rural Georgia enjoy a life of liberty and prosperity.
Hill Reporter: What are the 3 biggest issues facing the country that you would like to tackle as a congressperson?
Pandy: First, democratic and ethical values have been on a major decline since the arrival of the current administration. All members of Congress must reaffirm their oaths to the Constitution and their promise to put country over party. Then, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents must vow to work together, amicably reaching across the aisle to ensure all legislation is based on the needs of the American people and security of the country, not on enriching large corporations and the wealthy.
Second, we MUST tackle the overwhelming effects of climate change. We need to admit that climate change is real and trust the scientific evidence that proves it. The Green New Deal sets forth a package of proposed legislation that already takes this evidence into advisement. If not for the current admin’s desire to please their megadonors who would lose money with zero carbon and zero-emission statutes, misleading information about climate change would be minimized and support of the Green New Deal, or something else that tackles this global-wide existential threat, would be more universally accepted.
Third, the voting rights of millions of Americans are in jeopardy. Right here in Georgia, our own Governor refused to recuse himself as Secretary of State, whose office oversees the election process, in the 2018 election cycle during his race for Governor. As a result of Georgia’s extremely aggressive “use-it-or-lose-it” maneuver, more than 560,000 voters had had not recently participated in elections were purged from the rolls. Of those purged, an estimated 107,000 people who would have been able to vote if not for the purge were prevented from exercising their Constitutional right to vote. It is clear that without federal legislation created to protect voters at the state and local levels, voters of certain demographics will continue to be disenfranchised in favor of those in power.
Hill Reporter: Former US Attorney Preet Bharara was furious over Rep. Collins’ comments about Democrats and terrorists and promised full-throated support to anyone who would take Collins on. Have you been in touch with him?
Pandy: Let me first say, Mr. Bharara was completely justified in his fury at Doug Collins’ comments. I think most of us felt that cringe. Representative Collins’ words were hurtful, vitriolic, and just plain wrong! He did issue an apology on Twitter, which I was initially suspicious of. As it turns out, he sent a fundraising email to his supporters just 45 minutes prior to his apology with the Subject line, “I will not apologize.” So, which one is it? I’ll tell you. It was no apology. I’m not sure who follows him on Twitter to see his apology, but I know who watches Fox News, and I can guess who his emails target; his base–Trump’s base. They may not have seen his tweeted apology, which seems to be the gamble, but they surely saw his reprehensible comments made on national television and his targeted, doubling-down, refusal to apologize.
No Dem Left Behind recently threw their support behind Pandy. You can see the press release here.
You can follow Devin on Twitter @devinpandy and check out his campaign website here