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We’re celebrating our third-year anniversary at Our Body Politic! We started this journey covering the 2020 election, so let’s continue on that path by covering one of the states that will be key in the next election – Georgia. On this episode of Our Body Politic, host Farai Chideya, speaks with Kendra Davenport Cotton, CEO of the New Georgia Project about mobilizing voters in the Peach State. Then Farai speaks with Georgia State Representative Mesha Mainor about her decision to switch parties and become the first Black Republican woman serving in the Georgia Assembly. We round out the show with a report by host Farai Chideya about the efforts by the Burning Man festival to diversify, straight from Burners of color.

We reached out to the Democratic Party of Georgia to respond to Rep. Mainor’s party switch as well as the following statements she made on the show:

  • Representative Mesha Mainor says education, public safety, and family values are at “the bottom of the totem pole” for the Democrats.
  • Representative Mesha Mainor says the legislation the Georgia Democrats are passing or are working to pass is “detrimental to Black communities, especially underserved Black communities.”
  • Representative Mesha Mainor says the Democratic Party wants to be inclusive “to everything except to faith.”
  • Representative Mesha Mainor states the Georgia Democrats were against a special-needs scholarship bill.
  • Representative Mesha Mainor states the Georgia Democrats supported defunding the police in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and that “now [the Georgia Democrats] are saying they never even said that, which is completely untrue.” 

The Democratic Party of Georgia promptly directed us to their website to reiterate DPG Chair Congresswoman Nikema Williams’s following statement:

“Rep. Mesha Mainor’s switch to the GOP is a stinging betrayal of her constituents, who elected a Democrat to represent them in the state legislature.

“House District 56 deserves a representative who will do the job they were elected to do, including fighting for high-quality public education. Georgia Democrats look forward to electing a strong Democrat next year in H.D. 56 who will serve the people, not personal political ambitions.”

We also contacted the Georgia Department of Education for a response to Rep. Mainor’s following comments on schools in the 56th District:

  • Representative Mesha Mainor states that 40 years ago, the schools in Georgia’s 56th District were “failing” and they are “still failing, and they’re actually in worse condition than they were 40 years ago.

We have not heard back from the Georgia Department of Education yet, but we’ll update you as soon as we do.