Opinion: Bee for the Nguyen
The future of democracy runs through Georgia
Let me start off by saying that I will not be writing pieces like this often. I enjoy providing you all with the news and the facts. I am trying my best to avoid announcing my preferred candidates in Georgia’s high-profile races, especially in this contentious political environment.
But the race to be Georgia’s top elections official is just too important for me to stay quiet. The safety of our elections and the future of our democracy are going to run right through the Peach State this November.
For these reasons, I have decided to support State Rep. Bee Nguyen in the race for Secretary of State.
There is an all-out assault on the right to vote here in our state. We have seen it first hand. After a razor-thin presidential election, former President Donald Trump and his campaign did everything they could to try and overturn the results.
Bee was at the forefront in the fight to stop them. In December 2020, the Trump campaign provided state lawmakers with a list of voters who they believe illegally cast ballots in the 2020 election.
Bee spent dats going door to door, making phone calls and reviewing voter registration files to see how accurate the list was. One of the voters on the list was a resident of her DeKalb-based House district.
“If you are going to take the names of voters in the state of Georgia and publish their first, middle and last name, their home address, and accuse them of committing a felony, at the very minimum there should have been an attempt to contact these voters,” [Nguyen] said in an interview after the hearing. “There was no such attempt.”
And of course we all heard the former President’s now-infamous phone call with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which he frantically urged the Republican to “find” enough votes to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory. The phone call is now the subject of a grand jury investigation.
Bee also heavily criticized S.B. 202, the 2021 election overhaul that limits access to dropboxes, adds a photo ID requirement for absentee ballots and reduces the powers of the Secretary of State over the state election board. She called it the “omnibus voter suppression bill” and dismissed it as a response to the lies pedaled by the Trump campaign after the 2020 election.
Last month, Republican legislators passed a bill that would give Georgia’s top law enforcement agency more investigative powers over our elections. Supporters say that the bill is needed to protect the integrity of our elections, while critics said that the bill could scare voters of color away from the ballot box.
Bee took to the House floor to voice her opposition to the bill. “It’s April 2022 […] and here we are, still rehashing an election that was held in November of 2020.” She said that her office continues to receive emails asking lawmakers to decertify the 2020 election. She encouraged her colleagues to stop passing bills predicated on the Big Lie.
Bee, the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, also emerged as a prominent voice against violence towards the Asian-American community. In March 2021, two metro Atlanta spas were targeted in a horrific shooting spree. Eight people were killed in the massacre — including six Asian women.
In a recent interview, Bee told WABE that recent bills that take aim at the discussion of race in classrooms will make it difficult to address what led to these attacks. “What we also need to do is teach the history of Asian people living in this country and also have room to talk about the current events happening as well,” she said.
Look, I’m not just supporting Bee because she’s a phenomenal candidate who truly cares about every Georgian’s right to vote. I’m supporting her because I am scared. Scared that we are turning back the clock on voting rights. Scared that many voters no longer have confidence in our elections. Scared that the former President and his allies are trying to do everything they can to install hand-picked officials to do his bidding in the 2024 election.
What we saw after the 2020 election should have frightened every single one of us. Election officials receiving death threats, lies about the integrity of our elections, a former President encouraging state officials to overturn results, and a violent mob being unleashed on our nation’s Capitol.
Thankfully, none of these tactics were successful and democracy prevailed. But if the former President’s endorsed candidates are elected to key offices across the country, there will be nothing stopping him from behaving like this again in 2024.
Unfortunately, I am afraid that most of the damage caused in 2020 is irreparable. One election is not going to do much to restore trust and confidence in our elections.
But electing Bee is just one step in the right direction. Now, more than ever, we need a Secretary of State who will put facts first and will fight to protect every Georgian’s right to safely cast a ballot.
Bee is a fighter, a champion and an advocate. But more than anything, she is a friend. I couldn’t be prouder to support her campaign for Secretary of State, and I hope you all will join me.
Early voting in the May primary begins on Monday. I hope my fellow Georgia Democrats will join me in voting for Bee.