RELEASE: House Democratic Leader Bob Trammell, State Senate District 29 Candidate Valerie Haskins, and rural Georgian Nicole Baxby Assail Brian Kemp’s Policies for Rural Georgia

August 23, 2018

Brian Kemp Continues to Reject Medicaid Expansion, Job Training Investment, and Expanding Access to Capital Despite Rampant Rural Doctor Shortages, Job Loss, and Extreme Poverty

Brian Kemp Doesn’t Understand the Needs of Rural Georgians

ATLANTA — Today in Columbus, House Democratic Leader Bob Trammell, State Senate District 29 candidate Valerie Haskins, Vice Chair of the Harris County Democrats Nicole Baxby, and rural Georgians convened to discuss the current economic regression of rural Georgia under Republican leadership, while assailing Republican Gubernatorial Nominee Brian Kemp’s plans for rural Georgia.

Throughout this election cycle, Georgia Republicans have boasted about this decade’s economic gains here in Georgia. However, last week, the Atlanta Journal Constitution highlighted the adverse living conditions and lack of healthcare access in Webster County, along with the surrounding rural Georgia areas. The devastating effects of harmful Republican policies are clear: due to a failure to expand Medicaid, invest in job training, and remove barriers that prevent access to capital, under Republican leadership, rural Georgia has begun to decay. Brian Kemp’s proposals would only make this worse. Under Brian Kemp, rural Georgia would continue to be left behind.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in Georgia, sixty-four counties have no pediatrician, seventy-nine have no obstetrician/gynecologist, and nine have no doctor. Twenty-one percent of Webster County residents live in poverty and nine percent of households do not have cars. This is not only unique to Webster County. Georgia’s House District 151 -compromised of Calhoun, Clay, Early, Quitman, Randolph, Stewart, Terrell, Dougherty, and Webster counties- is one of Georgia’s poorest areas. There has been little to no investment in these areas, and Republicans’ refusal to expand Medicaid has only exacerbated this income gap.

Rural Georgians have a choice to make this fall. They can continue to tread in the same direction or they can chart a new path and elect candidates who will give every Georgian the freedom and opportunity to thrive. That is why Stacey Abrams, Sarah Riggs Amico, and Democrats across Georgia are the only choice for rural Georgians this November.

“Brian Kemp’s plans for rural Georgia come up short and lacks specifics,” said Georgia Democratic Leader Bob Trammell. “Georgia has played politics with healthcare, and as a result, hospitals have closed around the state. If there’s one thing that we know, when you lose your hospital, it’s very difficult to attract new jobs because healthcare is so important.”

“Rural Georgians have lived under a Republican administration for many years, over a decade. They did not expand Medicaid, and that is denying over half a million people affordable health insurance,” said Georgia State Senate District 29 candidate Valerie Haskins. “I live in rural Georgia and it takes a long time just to get to the hospital myself. Some people have to drive 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and sometimes that can be a life or death situation. And many people where we live don’t have proper transportation.”

“The Republicans have had ten years of being in power where they promised over and over again that they would take care of our rural communities and find innovative ways and solutions to do that. They’ve broken their promise every single year,” said rural Georgian Nicole Baxby. “When Stacey Abrams promises to make Medicaid expansion a day-one priority, she is going to really help serve our rural communities.”

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