Friday, September 28, 2018

VIOLENCE INVOLVING FIREARMS: Week 3 of my midterm Georgia 7th District "constituent journalism" Q&A with my candidates for Congress, Rep. Rob Woodall (R) and challenger Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) [UPDATE: Why this was my last Q&A in the series]

11/7/18 UPDATE: I live in Georgia's 7th Congressional district, a suburb northeast of Atlanta. In September 2018, as a journalism experiment I began conducting a constituent Q&A with incumbent Rob Woodall (R) and challenger Carolyn Bourdeaux (D), providing both candidates with a weekly opportunity to share their positions on issues of concern to thoughtful voters.

Congressman Woodall's representative Derick Corbett declined to participate and he failed to respond to my subsequent weekly questions. Jake Best, Ms. Bourdeaux's communications director, enthusiastically agree to participate.

After three weeks of posts, Mr. Best missed our agreed-upon deadline and asked to change the frequency from once a week to every other week to which I agreed. He also agreed to respond to my fourth inquiry (dated September 30) requesting Ms. Bourdeaux's position on the Violence Against Women Act.

Despite repeated friendly e-nudges from me, I never received any further correspondence from the Bourdeaux campaign, so I ended my experiment.


This item is the third of the weekly Q&A series I'm conducting with candidates for the 2018 Georgia 7th Congressional District (where I live and vote), incumbent Rep. Rob Woodall (R) and his challenger.for the seat, Carolyn Bourdeaux (D).

Last week Congressman Woodall went first, so this week is Ms. Bourdeaux's turn.


Q: Citizens of good will across the political spectrum are concerned about violence involving firearms. Do you consider the problem to be serious and, if so, how serious? What solutions if any would you attempt to implement in order to address the problem?

BOURDEAUX: Gun violence is a major problem across our country, and it is one where I believe we can implement common-sense solutions supported by the vast majority of Americans.

To begin, I grew up around guns. My father owned a gun. My grandmother shot squirrels off her bird-feeder from her upstairs porch with a bb gun. My grandfather passed on to my uncle a wonderful historic gun collection, and many members of my family are hunters. But we were taught from an early age that guns are weapons, and owning a gun is a serious responsibility – it’s time that our country recognize this as well. I have spoken with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents on this issue, and I see common-ground.

Most of us agree that we need to ensure universal, comprehensive background checks with mandatory waiting periods. We need to close the gun show loophole. We must ban bump stocks, restrict civilian access to military-style assault weapons, and restrict access to high capacity magazines.

And most of us agree that schools are not the place for guns – our children’s safety must come first, but adding more weapons in schools in not the solution. Our children deserve to live in a world where their biggest worry is studying for a math test, not whether or not they'll live through the week or watch classmates and teachers die in front of them. These are serious problems, and I believe we can implement these changes and solutions to make our communities safer.


In response to my invitation to participate in this project, Congressman Rob Woodall's campaign representative Derick Corbett e-mailed me, "I appreciate the generous offer and your zeal to participate in the race. Unfortunately though, as I consider our bandwith and your offer, we have to say no thank you."

I politely replied that the Bourdeaux campaign had agreed to participate; that in the interests of GA 7th District constituents, I hoped he'd reconsider; and that each Monday I'd send him my questions. (Our correspondence is posted here.)

Re: this week's question, I sent multiple e-mails and a fax with my question (for which I obtained confirmation of receipt) to Congressman Woodall and to Mr. Corbett. For the third week in a row, I didn't receive a reply.