Melvin Everson reflected today on the culmination of 16 months of hard work in his drive to be elected the first Republican Labor Commissioner in Georgia history.
“I think I’ve seen about every Interstate, back road and dirt road in this state,” said Everson, the first African-American Republican elected in a contested election in Georgia since Reconstruction. “That’s where the votes are though. I’ll put it this way, I’ve paid a lot of gas tax all over the state.”
Everson began running for Labor Commission in April of 2009 while incumbent Michael Thurmond was still looking as though he would seek re-election. “I saw a need for major conservative reform in the Labor Department, especially in light of the growing unemployment in the state,” Everson said. “Once Thurmond decided not to run for Labor, this race got more popular, I looked around and said ‘Where were y’all 8 months ago when I was on the road talking about reform and bringing jobs back?’”
The reform platform that he is proposing includes making the Labor Department a partner in economic development, updating IT to stop fraud and ensure no one shirks their responsibilities and that illegal aliens never receive unemployment benefits, partnering with the state’s Technical Colleges to establish an ‘entrepreneurship curriculum’ and creating a one-stop shop online for small business start ups…the real job creators.
“I have really enjoyed this campaign,” Everson said. “Most recently though, I have had the honor to defend my friends in the Tea Party from the charge of racism. This is a fight I’ve continually had for years. The conservative values that the Tea Party folks and I share are what’s best for people of all colors. I hope that in some small way my election can help show that to people and help to push back against those that would divide us along racial lines like the Reverend Al Sharpton.”
If Everson wins the primary tomorrow, he would be in position to be the first African-American Republican elected statewide not only in Georgia, but in the South. Everson and his wife Gerri will be watching returns Tuesday night at the Rose and Crown Tavern, 1931 Powers Ferry Road, Atlanta 30339. The event is being hosted by The 9-12 Project and other 9-12 endorsed candidates will be in attendance.