The Sixth Congressional District of Georgia is facing a tough decision approaching the June 20th runoff of Republican candidate Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff. The race to replace former Congressman Tom Price began in April, when Ossoff came a couple percentage points short of 50 percent and a runoff date was declared. If he does gain the percentage needed to win this would be the first time a Democrat represented the sixth district since 1979.
Many see this special election as an opportunity to demonstrate the power liberals have in the United States, especially in the Deep South in light of President Donald Trump’s election in November. The issues surrounding Georgia’s special election range from either candidates’ experience to social issues and issues of the environment.
Republican candidate, Karen Handel, is the former Georgia secretary of state and chairwoman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners as well as a familiar face in Georgia’s conservative community. At 55 years-old a seasoned veteran in politics she seems the obvious choice to fill the Sixth District’s congressional seat. However, as her district’s demographic is changing so are their desires in those who represent them.
The Democratic candidate is Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old documentary filmmaker who has already raised over $20 million for his campaign, making it the most expensive congressional campaign in United States’ history. While many consider a Democratic candidate in the Deep South an underdog, Ossoff is proving them wrong by bringing in a set of younger, progressive and environmentally conscious voters in the Sixth District.
“When I go to Washington, I will be informed by scientists, not lobbyists,” said Ossoff. “When it comes to environmental policy, and I will work to make Georgia a clean energy economic powerhouse.”
Ossoff’s stance on the environment differs greatly from that of Handel’s who doesn’t have a clear stance on climate change and doesn’t address the topic on her campaign website. Climate change is an issue dividing the country especially after President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement.
On his website Ossoff states, “There is a clear scientific consensus that climate change is driven by human activity and that it threatens global prosperity, health and security. This not just the opinion of activists; it is the studied conclusion of our country’s distinguished scientists. Our military and intelligence agencies agree.”
Environmental activists are searching for someone to stand up against Washington to protect the planet and to many Ossoff is that person.