As published in the Savannah Morning News:
Georgia voters may be struggling with their pick for a president this year on Nov. 8, but the choice for a U.S. senator is as clear as a North Georgia mountain stream: incumbent Sen. Johnny Isakson.
For voters who have soaked up all the vitriol and wiped off the mud thrown in the nasty race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, it’s refreshing to support a candidate for public office in Washington who has been a model of decency and honor and sensibility. If more candidates were like Johnny Isakson, then Washington and this nation would be better places.
Mr. Isakson, a Republican, is Georgia’s senior senator. He is seeking his third term and is facing Democrat Jim Barksdale and Libertarian Allen Buckley.
Mr. Isakson is a fiscally conservative, pro-jobs lawmaker who has never voted for a tax hike and has been a huge ally of Savannah’s port, one of Georgia’s largest stimulators of jobs. The senator has worked for harbor deepening and to secure funds to help ship more goods to and from the port by rail. The senator also has supported the nation’s military, which is important to Georgia and its many military bases, including Fort Stewart and King’s Bay. On important national security issues, Mr. Isakson, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stood strong in voting against the Obama administration’s nuke deal with Iran, a terrorist state that is determined to develop its own nuclear weapons that could one day be turned against the U.S., and its allies in the region, including Israel. Prior to casting his “no” vote on that misguided pact, Mr. Isakson called it “one of the most important votes I will ever take as a member of the Senate.” Mr. Isakson has been proven correct on that account, as Iran has ramped up its belligerence since Mr. Obama got his way.
Mr. Isakson is also correct on important economic matters. He and Georgia’s junior senator, David Purdue, are a good team in the Senate, supporting efforts to balance the nation’s budget and reduce its crushing debt. It’s no coincidence that both Georgia senators are among the few in the Senate who have real-world business experience. Mr. Isakson should be kept on the job to help more Georgians keep theirs.
The senator is one of the few lawmakers of either party who doesn’t see compromise as a dirty word. His willingness to work with Democrats to enact legislation that’s good for the nation is a strength, not a weakness. His pragmatism is a virtue that has won him many Democratic converts, like Atlanta-area Rep. David Scott, who said he is pulling for Mr. Isakson over Mr. Barksdale.
“I’ve always voted for Johnny Isakson,” the seven-term congressman told Atlanta’s WXIA-TV. “He’s my friend. He’s my partner,” Mr. Scott said. “And I always look out for my partners.”
Former Gov. Roy Barnes took it one step farther in a comment he made last year when Democrats were trying to find someone credible to run against Mr. Isakson, which proved to be a big challenge: “Even Democrats like me like Isakson,” Mr. Barnes said. “If all Republicans were like Johnny, I would be a Republican.”
Mr. Isakson also has a tremendous work ethic. He’s the only senator who chairs two committees: Veterans Affairs and Ethics. He faithfully maintains a brutal workload, despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last year, a credit to his physical stamina and his dedication to public service. More elected officials would benefit from having only an ounce of his diligence.
Mr. Isakson is the kind of lawmaker who pays attention to details and genuinely cares about his constituents. A good example is Kate Puzey, a 24-year-old Peace Corps volunteer from Cumming. Miss Puzey was brutally murdered in Benin in 2009 after she blew the whistle on a Peace Corps teacher who allegedly was sexually assaulting young women. The teacher was fired, and Miss Puzey had her throat slashed not soon after that. The senator read an obit about her murder, then was motivated to meet with her parents and to travel to Benin to fight for justice for their daughter. When he returned to Washington, he introduced the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act, which has been signed into law. It provides the same whistleblower protection for Peace Corps volunteers that was already being provided to federal employees.
The senator has a soft spot for other American victims who have suffered abroad while serving this country, For example, he has fought to ensure that the American victims of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis were able to seek justice for their 444 days of captivity.
Finally, if Hillary Clinton is elected president, it’s critical that the Senate remain in Republican hands, as a backstop to unbridled liberalism, a more activist Supreme Court, uncontrolled spending and the piling on of more debt. Mr. Isakson can be counted on to be a conservative check on a left-leaning president.
Georgia also will benefit by keeping Mr. Isakson on the job because seniority still matters in the Senate. A three-term Republican senator in a GOP-controlled Senate should wield considerable clout, which can only help Georgia, its port and its military bases.
While Mr. Barksdale and Mr. Buckley have attempted to argue that Mr. Isakson is too tight with the business establishment — a clear ploy to play on the angry mood of many of today’s voters — their messages largely fall on deaf ears in the case of Isakson, one of the few lawmakers who are the real deals when it comes to serving Georgians and getting results.
As Rep. David Scott, a Democrat, has said, “Johnny Isakson’s not just anybody. He’s done stuff. He’s worked stuff,” Scott said. “Judge him by the work.”
That’s excellent advice. We did exactly that, which is why we recommend that voters return Johnny Isakson to another term in the Senate.
Read more here: http://savannahnow.com/editorial-opinion/2016-10-27/support-johnny-isakson-georgias-senate-race