Ed Lindsey: Republicans will have to look beyond 'bumper sticker' issues in 2018

By Vlada Galan

Former State House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey is no stranger to the issues that matter most to Georgians. With a reputation for rolling up his sleeves and working across the aisle to get things done, he is known for prioritizing practical solutions to real-life problems over partisan wrangling. zpolitics caught up with the former lawmaker to get his unique perspective on the upcoming Governor’s race.

As a member of House leadership, Lindsey understands that being the majority party carries with it the responsibility of governing. During our interview, he focused on issues that surpass party lines because they affect one’s quality of life. The discussion included water, education, transportation, and economic issues statewide.

“People will vote for a leader who will focus on issues that will improve their community and their personal quality of life,” Lindsey stated. “Georgian’s are looking beyond bumper sticker answers.” 

He called out the booming population in Atlanta and the growing disparity between the Metro Atlanta and rural Georgia as significant issues a future governor will need to address. For example, he pointed out that the unemployment rate in Metro Atlanta is slightly lower than the national average, while the rate in rural Georgia is much higher than the national average.

“Rural Georgia is beginning to wither on the vine,” Lindsey stated, adding that economic development is key in those regions. 

The former Georgia House leader also emphasized the importance of addressing education in upcoming elections. 

“Education is a huge problem,” Lindsey stated. “Far too many children in schools are underperforming. Often this is tied to poverty. This issue will be the civil rights issue of the 21st century.” 

Not surprisingly, Lindsey also referenced the inadequate transportation system, despite recent gains in funding, particularly in the Atlanta urban core. He referred to the Metro Atlanta transit issues as the “Tower of Babel,” pointing out the inefficiencies associated with multiple, disjointed transit systems across various metro Atlanta suburbs. This issue ultimately affects the lives of many individuals who depend on public transportation, though there seems to be no real solutions for the average commuter as roadways continue to face mile-long traffic delays due to an ever-growing city population. 

And what about water?

"The metro Atlanta area relies on one of the smallest water sources in the world for a city its size,” stated Lindsey. “Our water issues make us extremely susceptible to drought, we have to conserve and store water and address issues with leaks that cause too much of the captured water to be lost.” 

Lindsey mentioned multiple times the importance of focusing on gateway issues that surpass party lines and open doors into groups that may have not have typically voted with a certain party. While he demurred on speaking about particular candidates in the race, he emphasized that- while the GOP is still heavily favored in Georgia- he expects Democrats to come after the governor's seat and recruit good candidates in 2018. To win, he reiterated that the GOP cannot afford to sit back and assume victory but must “deal with hard issues that don’t fit on a bumper sticker.” 

He went on to say that Republicans need to be the party of progress and reform and that past election victories will disappear if they allow the Democrats to become the political change agent for the state.

"Some people focus on demographics. I don’t like to focus on demographics. Instead, we should be focused on governing well for all Georgians," Lindsey said. 

Vlada Galan is an international political consultant helping conservative politicians get elected throughout the world. A native of Odessa, Ukraine Vlada currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia where she has worked on several state wide races. Vlada may be contacted at VladaGalan@gmail.com.