“Most Georgia voters already know that we’re on the wrong track. They know that the policies we have now aren’t working for our schools, our hospitals and for many people who live here. And in large numbers, Georgia voters want to see their local schools fully funded with full calendars and no teacher furlough days,” Long said.
“Georgia voters want to see the Affordable Care Act fully implemented so that we don’t leave more than 650,000 people without health insurance. The key is make sure voters are informed when they walk into the ballot box and to have competitive races across the state,” he said.
Though it is non-partisan, Better Georgia is most assuredly a progressive organization.
“We have one single goal: build a progressive majority in Georgia,” Long said.
Long spent the better part of his career working in media. He’s worked for CNN, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Atlanta Business Chronicle. But most recently, he was at media relations / PR firm Jackson Spalding.
Long also sits on AID Atlanta’s board of directors.
“I left a great career at a great PR firm because I truly believe Georgia’s state government isn’t living up to its full potential,” Long said. “In fact, I believe our government is hurting most Georgians. Conservative policies and lock-step conservative leaders are pushing Georgia back and making the state look more like Alabama and Mississippi.”
Better Georgia has already raised more than $200,000 in 2013. An overwhelming majority of donations are from small, individual donors, according to Long. The average donation is just $43.
“We started with a single donor and a $10,000 check to now more than 4,000 donors,” Long said. “98.8 percent of those are small donors. For too long, the political debate in Georgia has been limited to the right and the far right. Better Georgia is here to change the political debate so we can change the state.”
LGBT rights, like adoption, employment non-discrimination and marriage, are important causes for Better Georgia, Long said. The reality, however, is that until Georgia’s political climate under the Gold Dome changes, it’s unlikely much progress can be made on gay rights.
“We are a multi-issue organization and we’re prepared to fight for progressive values on any topic,” Long said. “But it’s important to remember that every statewide elected official and a supermajority of the General Assembly are all conservative Republicans. We need to fight them where they are.
“That means that LGBT issues won’t play a large role in the General Assembly. Our conservative leaders simply don’t care enough to advance any meaningful legislative. To change Georgia law, which currently allows for workplace discrimination of gay, lesbian and transgender workers, we will need to replace most elected leaders and their conservative agenda,” Long added.
The task will not be easy, Long acknowledged, but he argues that many of the issues Better Georgia hopes to highlight fall within how mainstream voters actually feel. He hopes Better Georgia can find support among the state’s dissatisfied voters.
Top photo: Bryan Long (at right with U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.) says he founded Better Georgia in 2011 with the mission of building a progressive majority in the state legislature, but LGBT issues are unlikely to advance in the near future. (Courtesy photo via Facebook)