Thompson: People don’t know the impact their vote makes

(The Center Square) — Jeff Thompson has seen it repeatedly: Politicians saying they represent the people, then casting their ballots differently.

“That’s why I’m in politics because that disgusts me,” Thompson, grassroots engagement director with Americans for Prosperity-GA, said. He spoke with The Center Square recently during the office’s opening.

Do people understand that every time a government votes, whether on tax or legislation, it ultimately trickles down and affects them?

During election season, people get so caught up in that, and then they don’t follow how these people are voting — and they don’t know the impact that their opinion, their vote actually makes. But people, if they knew what they could do, the power that they have, and that they should be checking on what’s going on — [that’s] the power that we have as a group of people to make a huge difference.

What are some of the biggest concerns people have expressed to you?

They’re concerned with the economy. They’re also concerned with some of the more social issues — just common decency. People, it seems, for the last few years, have just been at each other’s throats.

What are one or two of the top issues you would like to see Georgia lawmakers consider as soon as they return to the Gold Dome?

Full repeal of certificate of need. I’d also really want more educational freedom — school choice. Some kids don’t learn in every situation. We had [school choice for] some of the ones that were failing in college and career readiness. I’d like to see it for everybody because it shouldn’t just be one group.

Why is school choice so controversial?

The thing that really bothers me about it is we went out, and we asked people that were considered conservatives; they want it — at almost 80%. If you look at the left, they want it as well. It’s a topic that close to 80% of Black parents want. But then you look, and you get zero Democrat votes in the Senate, one vote in the House [from Mesha Mainor], and she just left. And so, what bugs me about it is often how people say, ‘Oh, we represent you as a people,’ and then they go down there; where are they to be found?

What do you say to somebody who says I can’t make a difference anyway, so why bother?

I think of that parable or the story of that guy [where] all the sea turtles are washed up on the shore, and he keeps throwing them back, and the person said, ‘Hey, you can’t make an impact.’ He’s like, ‘Well, I saved that one; I saved that one. A little bit can help, and you never know — that one sea turtle you threw back or that one vote you threw back, it could be the one that made a difference. If everybody took that attitude of ‘Hey, I can’t make it,’ nothing would ever happen.

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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