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    James Beverly steps down from Georgia House Minority Leader role after four years on the job

    By Itoro N. Umontuen,

    2024-03-08
    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0Yf0Ak_0rlOzwxm00

    Dr. James Beverly, the Minority Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, has announced he’ll step down from his role at the end of 2024 Legislative Session, which ends on March 28. Additionally, Beverly, a Democrat from Macon, will not run for re-election. Beverly represented the 143rd District since his election in 2013. He also has been Minority Leader for the last four years. But, Beverly’s district entirely shrunk after the special session on redistricting in December 2023.

    “50% of my district is new within a new county, Houston County,” explained Beverly during an exclusive conversation with The Atlanta Voice . “Which means that I have to go down to Houston County to shake hands, have town hall meetings in order to be elected in a space where I don’t know anybody down there. Because there’s never been a Democrat to represent that district at all for the last sixty years.”

    Beverly led the House Democrats with a pragmatic approach. Being the party in the minority, he felt as though incremental progress is better than an outright aggressive approach. But, as the demographics in Georgia are currently shifting to a more progressive-minded electorate, the Georgia Democrats were able to pick up seats. As a response, Beverly says Georgia Republicans have been co-opting their agenda.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0rjkh9_0rlOzwxm00
    Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, Dr. James Beverly, D-Macon, delivers a portion of the Democratic Party’s response to the annual State of State Address inside the Georgia State Capitol on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

    “But every year that I’ve been in leadership, we picked up seats,” explained Beverly. “So that’s number one. This year they co-opted our agenda, right? We talked about maternal mortality. Now they’ve created a commission. We talked about gun safety. They have the gun safety boxes that we have discussed. We talked about Medicaid. Nobody’s talking about Medicaid more than Republicans this year, more than anytime since I’ve been here. Nobody’s talked about it. Last is going to be reproductive freedom and housing. “We just got a housing tax credit. So all the things that we put out there are now moving in a direction where it’s going to be good for Georgians in a value proposition that Democrats have had been placed in a way where I think the public will start to say, ‘wait a minute, what are you doing?’ And I think it’s going to bode well for us over time.”

    However, Beverly looked back and explained why he ran for office in the first place. He wanted to address poverty in his district. The first bill he wanted to pass didn’t go anywhere. But, Beverly experienced a breakthrough with his second bill. Many years later, Beverly says he now has the ability to make a deeper impact in Macon through various business ventures; and thus, is the reason why he describes this moment as a pause.

    Beverly described the five things someone doesn’t commonly find in the Black community and won’t find in poor communities: A bank, a grocery store, a doctor’s office, an after school program that you want to see your kid through and reliable transportation. He says he has an opportunity to aggregate resources, put them in these affected communities and monitor the effects in these neighborhoods.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=35u9sr_0rlOzwxm00
    Georgia House Minority Leader, Dr. James Beverly, D-Macon, delivers remarks on Monday, January 22, 2024 inisde the Georgia State Capitol. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

    “The second bill that I was involved in was creating something called the Macon-Bibb Community Enhancement Authority whose sole job is to shrink Category Four poverty areas. Well, that bill passed about eight years ago.”

    That bill paved the way for the vast construction projects that are taking place along Interstates 16 and 75 in Bibb County. There were stipulations that called for a minimum wage of $15 an hour. It also created pathways for individuals to learn how to build houses and attend technical school. But, Beverly owns a small shipping company and it could be involved in the process of building homes.

    “I can build a 1,500 square foot house in 15 days or less,” explains Beverly. “So the speed of the market and all the things that go with building in a very efficient way with some really high quality materials. It’s just as fascinating to me as a human being, but more importantly, I can create a workforce within that space to move forward.”

    As this chapter comes to a close, Beverly isn’t characterizing this move as a retirement. He has not ruled out re-entering politics, say, in 2026 as an advisor or running for statewide office. However, he says he is at peace with his decision. Beverly never thought when he ran for office that he’d be the Leader. That was not part of his plan. But, gaining intimate knowledge of how the levers of government works he believes will serve him well in his next chapter.

    “So with that, though, I’ve aggregated enough knowledge and I know enough things about how this place moves,” explained Beverly. Two years from now we’ll see. We’ll see. But at least I have the time if I do decide to run for something statewide, or to help someone win statewide. It will be sober minded, without the same pressures that I have to deal with today.”

    The post James Beverly steps down from Georgia House Minority Leader role after four years on the job appeared first on The Atlanta Voice .

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