Pointing to ‘polarized’ Legislature, Kathy Ashe announces retirement

Long-time state Rep. Kathy Ashe of Atlanta, a former Republican-turned-Democrat, has told supporters that, as a result of the “current polarized political situation” in the Legislature, she has decided not to seek an 11th term.

State Rep. Kathy Ashe, D-Atlanta. Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

State Rep. Kathy Ashe, D-Atlanta. Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

What’s odd about Ashe’s decision is that she wasn’t one of those several Atlanta Democrats who were paired by Republicans during last year’s redistricting session. She switched parties in 2001 – just before Democratic control of the state Capitol crumbled, citing the drift of the GOP to “shrill…far right politics.”

Read Ashe’s entire letter to constituents here. A few paragraphs:

While I am confident that I would win with hard work and the backing you and other supporters have generously provided over the years, I want to spend my time and resources more productively than the current polarized political situation permits.

As a “raging moderate,” I am caught between the far right and the far left. The computerized reapportionment process has across the country drawn districts that force primaries to the extremes. There are very few districts where moderation and consensus prevail. In the Georgia General Assembly, as in Congress, moderation is endangered and often scorned or marginalized. I regret that I do not see change coming soon.

Although Georgia has not yet sunk as far as it might, I join with the sentiments of Senator Olympia Snow as she announced that she would not seek re-election to the U.S. Senate….

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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109 comments Add your comment

Shar

April 13th, 2012
12:17 pm

Oh, what a sad loss. She has been a wonderful representative, a strong advocate for families and children, always available to truly listen to her constituents and a very classy person. She will be greatly missed. Thanks, Kathy, for all you have done in those very productive 21 years.

Centrist

April 13th, 2012
12:25 pm

Only ITB Democrats (hence the AJC) care about this retirement. She will be replaced by another Democrat who will little/no impact on legislation.

Centrist

April 13th, 2012
12:26 pm

Should be ITP (Inside the Perimeter) – was thinking “Beltway” for some reason.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 13th, 2012
12:29 pm

@Not Centrist – Its ok. We all make spelling mistakes. You forgot the Not in your name though Strawman.

do ra ra

April 13th, 2012
12:37 pm

good riddance of another opportunistic party switcher

Real Athens

April 13th, 2012
12:43 pm

“Only ITB Democrats (hence the AJC) care about this retirement.”

As usual, spoken like fact from a majority, when in reality ’tis only opinion from a minority. Most people hate to see a voice of reason leave politics regardless of party affiliation.

The political battle over the next few months in this country will be over the middle — even if it’s not in Georgia. Still it’s anyone’s guess where the chips may fall.

Toes the Line

April 13th, 2012
12:46 pm

Kathy represented everything today’s majority will never be: someone with superior intelligence, a sense of service beyond self and party, someone that was not held captive to the most extreme, loud, petty, backward-tugging constituent or ideologue. She could say no to her most loyal, partisan supporters and reason with opponents to find solutions to problems or advance leadership.

On whole, our legislature is a national embarrasment, and Kathy’s departure lowers it further.

DMA82

April 13th, 2012
12:50 pm

@ doo ra ra…Are Democrats who switch to the GOP simply opportunistic party switchers (See also Sonny Purdue and Nathan Deal) or did those folks just simply “see the light of righteousness”?

Look before I leap...

April 13th, 2012
1:03 pm

Some believe the world ends this year because the Earth’s magnetic poles will shift polarity in December.

I think we have a mistranslation from the Mayan texts.

The world comes to an end because the pols are shifting parties.

All joking aside, sorry to see the departure of someone who seemingly had a sense of personal conviction, ethics and intelligence.

DannyX

April 13th, 2012
1:13 pm

“Only ITB Democrats (hence the AJC) care about this retirement. She will be replaced by another Democrat who will little/no impact on legislation.”

A true centrist would see her retirement as a loss.

findog

April 13th, 2012
1:15 pm

Centrist,
Were it not for the financial power of those horrible democrats inside the perimeter Mississippi would have Georgia to look down upon.

Bill Orvis White

April 13th, 2012
1:17 pm

Every state House needs more back-to-the-basics conservatives who will fight for a culture of life, free markets and educational choice. It’s nice to see more old-line-liberal Democrats retire from politics. Amen, Bill

Pompano

April 13th, 2012
1:18 pm

As one who typically votes Republican, it concerns me to see the Democratic party in our state becoming a non-issue. We need a set of checks and balances – there were a few bills that were floated this year which were especially egregious.

A few more psuedo-Centrists on both sides of the isle would be nice.

Sandra

April 13th, 2012
1:18 pm

@DannyX,
I agree 100%! I am very sorry to see her retire. The nutcases will continue to be in charge and the Republicans have made sure voters have absolutely no recourse through re-districting by protecting their wing-nuts.

atler8

April 13th, 2012
1:20 pm

Centrist:
If you really were a “centrist” you would care about Ashe’s announced retirement, symbolic as it is of the disappearance of the moderate center in Georgia legislative politics.
I guess that your anti-ITP sentiment is hard to overcome though & that’s why you have panned her announcement as not newsworthy.
On another note, you might consider a new moniker here for yourself because if you are a “centrist” politically speaking, we are in trouble!

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 13th, 2012
1:29 pm

@DannyX – Which is why we need a vote every 20 years by zip code, allowing one section of a state to form a new state. Atlanta should not be chained to cavemen.

yuzeyurbrane

April 13th, 2012
1:29 pm

atler8, what took you so long to figure out Centrist is not a centrist. He is either self-delusional or a blogging con artist.

Laurie

April 13th, 2012
1:31 pm

She’s picked the worst time to bow out. There are way to many white men in our legislature, and they are more focused on controlling women’s bodies and keeping their rich friends from paying their fair share in taxes than the real issues at hand. This Sucks!

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 13th, 2012
1:39 pm

@TruthB’s comment in another thread: I revel in your hatred. If by ‘trash’ you mean not a wimp then I accept your insult as a badge of honor.

Ann Romney is a stay at home mom. Great. Good for her. Mother is the most honorable profession any woman can have.

But…wait…where was she when Etch-A-Sketchy was strapping Shamus the Dog to the roof like the sadist he is. Oh, that’s right. Riding shot gun and being silent and obedient like a good LDS wife is supposed to be.

So if that is her ‘calling’ then she should continue that behavior and sit down and shut up instead of playing the victim card ala Sarah Palin.

Liberals need to stop being afraid of offending monsters.

Question Man

April 13th, 2012
1:45 pm

Isn’t the real reason for Kathy’s retirement that she so often failed to be effective?

Auntie Christ

April 13th, 2012
1:48 pm

And here I felt sure that folks from Resaca to Rebecca would be following this story, but regrettably I find via centrist’s profound comment that only people in Ms Ashe’s district will be concerned about her retirement. We should all be thankful that we have a commenter here who so willingly shares his deep and profound knowledge of the GA body politic. What a treasure we have here!

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 13th, 2012
1:48 pm

@Question – Given that she is not hated by every conservative in the state, I’d say she hasn’t been effective. I mean good for her that she’s calling out the morons in the State Legislature (including Incompotent Democrats (HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLO Horse….!!!!) but unfortunately attacking the Republicans is a bit like shooting fish in a barrell. Its so easy that spending most if not all of your time in the floor calling them out for the corrupt psychopaths that they are would be really easy…TOO easy unless you’re trying to be a ‘moderate special snow flake’ and ‘work with everyone.’

You can TAKE a middle road to everything even and still call out corrupt evil, which, God knows, there is on both sides (even if it is not equally on both sides.)

So yes, she was not as effective as she could be, but a rational mind is a rational mind and should be praised as such.

Will

April 13th, 2012
1:55 pm

If you think the radical right-wing extremist agenda in the General Assembly this year was troubling, you haven’t seen anything like what will happen in the next session.

By doing EXACTLY what democrats did when they were charge, the radical republicans have now redrawn the dwindling number of democrats in the GA to an impotent few.

Republicans now literally control every branch of Georgia government. God have mercy on us.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 13th, 2012
1:58 pm

@Will – God knows what we elected. If He didn’t stop the Holocaust, I’m not expecting much mercy for Georgia.

zeke

April 13th, 2012
2:05 pm

so much for centrist’s cred….what a maroon

Marlboro Man

April 13th, 2012
2:06 pm

It would be nice if we could get the whole bunch replaced.

Georgia, The " New Mississippi "

April 13th, 2012
2:11 pm

@ Toes the line…. ” On whole, our legislature is a national embarrasment, and Kathy’s departure lowers it further ”

+ 1 on that

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 13th, 2012
2:11 pm

@MM – You get what you vote for.

Look, Occupy has its flaws like everyone else, I mean the general assembly protocols are nonsense (Occupy GA not Georgia ‘GA’ (full of Incompotent Democrats btw Horse)) but at least they’re out DOING something.

Even the non astro turf Tea Partiers (ie…not Strawman’s) and Paulistas are DOING something.

The same cannot be said of 95% of Georgians.

jw

April 13th, 2012
2:12 pm

If she is a Lawyer………………………………….GOOD RIDDANCE.

honested

April 13th, 2012
2:14 pm

Will,

True dat! The knuckle draggers that will crawl forth from the next election will scare everyone.
Then we will have a General Assembly session that will keep courts busy for 10 years.

So much for the oxymoron ‘republican leadership’.

Tom

April 13th, 2012
2:16 pm

Picture a bell curve (normal distribution). Kathy Ashe basically went from approaching the mean from the right to approaching it from the left. She was definitely well-within one standard deviation from the mean.

Basically, the ones who can stay within roughly TWO standard deviations from the mean will be the ones to get things done. Outside of these, you’ll only find those who prevent things from getting done.

Luckliy, many of the worst “outliers” will simply continue to fade into history.

Centrist

April 13th, 2012
2:22 pm

Democrats claiming Kathy Ashe as a superior, intelligent, with a sense of personal conviction, and ethics does not make any of that so. I have no basis to form any opinion about her other than she switched parties the wrong way to stay in a minority party which never made her effective as a legislator. I can’t see that her retiring, or another replacement minority (Democrat) party member will make a difference.

She may be all those things that Democrats here laud upon her, but a retiring member of any party taking shots at their opposition does not move me at all.

Look before I leap...

April 13th, 2012
2:23 pm

“It would be nice if we could get the whole bunch replaced.”

Perhaps, but replaced with what?
To my way of thinking, it’s like replacing a Ford with a Chevy. So what? Same materials, same design, same workmanship, same pricing and same warranties.

I think that many folks enter politics with honest and sincere intentions. They want to improve the way of life for their families and neighbors. Then the reality of the system and the momentum of political power move them completely off the dial and moral compass.

I like the idea of a republic and a quasi-democratic system in theory. In practice, it does not work so well because the process does not recognize the inherent flaws of humans.
Self-promotion, greed and a craving for acceptance (all variations of EGO).

If we treat our officials like rock-stars, they will act like rock-stars.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 13th, 2012
2:31 pm

@Tom – November 2010 begs to disagree. Americans will elect Crazy + Even More Crazy if it is sold to them right.

@Straw Man – Her pot shots don’t move you? Have you considered prunes and other sources of fiber? That might help a great deal…..

@Look – That’s why you let representatives make the laws and let the people veto them in direct democracy. The whole thing. ALEC can bribe a few hundred people….to bribe an entire population they generally have to have something that people will actually want in there, and if they lie or trick them, then people can still veto the law retroactively. If a law must maintain a majority at all times to function, suddenly you end up with both less corruption and less government.

Look before I leap...

April 13th, 2012
2:31 pm

“Luckliy, many of the worst “outliers” will simply continue to fade into history.”

Still waiting for the 3rd place finisher in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant to fade.

Tom

April 13th, 2012
2:41 pm

Aaron, many (I would venture to say even most?) of those who were the most-energized by the TEA movement are much more moderate than you would be willing to believe. Keep in mind, the true TEA movement was solely focused on non-social issues and fought to maintain the focus on fiscal responsibility, constitutionally-limited government and free market economy. This is how the movement attracted so many who (like me) are strong fiscal conservatives but socially moderate/libertarian (small “L”).

Look before I leap...

April 13th, 2012
2:45 pm

@AVBM

A direct democracy is both inefficient and chaotic.
And many if not most people can’t be bothered to delve into the details and thoughtful introspection required to make such choices.
We elect (hire) people to make those decisions for us. If we don’t like the decisions they make, we vote them out, or so the theory of republicansim goes. The two main issues are:
The system is rigged to keep those who are in power, in power.
It is very difficult to get rid of bad legislation. So many bad laws remain on the books (local, state and federal) it is mind-boggling.

GaBlue

April 13th, 2012
2:53 pm

How sad that we’re losing somebody who cared about doing the job!!!!

We have a choice, you know. We can (A) continue to elect hyper-partisan “representatives” who do the bidding of either their own financial futures or the noisy fringe elements while solving no actual problems, or (B) set our expectations higher and support those who will set their egos aside and work together to for the responsible application of our government toward the betterment of the entire state.

I don’t know about y’all, but I find Georgia’s constant status at the bottom of every good list (and the top of every bad list) BORING. The 1950s are never coming back, so let it go. Let’s get fired up instead about the possibilities of moving forward in a positive direction. Our kids deserve better than this crap.

Centrist

April 13th, 2012
2:53 pm

Usually these blog posts degenerate during the day, but “Look Before I Leap”, and “Tom” are making articulate posts which I heartily agree with.

Look before I leap...

April 13th, 2012
2:56 pm

@Tom

You have espoused my personal view to a perfect “T”.

But, the TEA party movement was almost immediately conscripted by social conservatives who viewed the GOP as nothing more than Democrats who were pro-life and pro-gun.

I am by nature a Libertarian. But the Libertarian movement is riddled with moon-bats who refuse to acknowledge that there is benefit to governmental control in some areas. The question is what is the appropriate level for said control? Municipal, County, State or Federal?

Centrist

April 13th, 2012
3:02 pm

@ Look – Again agree on Libertarian moon-bats and why I am not really a Libertarian, but a centrist.

Disagree over the TEA party having been “conscripted by social conservatives”. There are some who have tried, but other than that group called Peachtree which only stole the TEA party name – it hasn’t worked. Social issues are NOT part of the TEA party movement – but liberals (media) pretend it is in order to be able to denounce the core issues they ALSO dislike.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 13th, 2012
3:06 pm

@Look – I agree with you re: Libertians. Ironically, despite the fact that I’m a statist on the Lib scale, I do believe having as small a government as possible.

I just think the fundamental underpinnings of what moral authority a government has and can do are much greater than any libertarian (ie, for example, limiting speech.)

Small government is good however. In any capacity, because the larger the institution, the more corrupt it is.

Direct democracy is inefficient and most people can’t be bothered to look at things, but, quite frankly, if the mob simply can veto a law, then representatives can pass laws, but the mob can stop totally agregious laws like SOPA or …almost anything the Georgia State Legislature passes when it becomes aware of it.

The constitution was written in a much more primitive time. Direct Democracy Veto is much more plausible now than 200 years ago.

@Tom – Maybe. I admire and like many tea party folk on the front lines, but on the other hand, Club for Growth and many other ‘purely economic’ think tanks like ALEC seem to put pressure on moderate republicans 100% of the time, threatening to primary them.

I think your circle may be more of the exception than you realize.

@Strawman – Way to nod that head!

The Limbaugh Dialectic

April 13th, 2012
3:09 pm

Centrist has “outed” himself as a closet-Republican by writing: “I have no basis to form any opinion about her other than she switched parties the wrong way” — from Republican to Democrat.

A true “centrist” would have a judged a person on the content of the character, not by party affiliation.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 13th, 2012
3:19 pm

@TLD – The truth is always in the details if you watch for it.

“Centrist” isn’t.

TD does indeed perform personal attacks.

Most of the right wing people on here are slightly to extremely racist, selfish and self centered.

Many of the democrats take great offense to being insulted at their cowardice which enables the Republicans to get away with what they do.

Some of the moderates are only that way because they like to be the Center of Attention.

And I am a very angry, sarcastic, cynical SOB…but I am also right a lot of the time, and I always attempt to address the issue at hand, even when insulting my opponents, because I love to do so.

I may be ‘Trash’ but at least I’m not a sociopath that ties a dog to a car roof and drives until it breaks….or someone that will vote for one or that will defend one.

And no, I won’t vote for someone that let’s a guy who orders our troops to waterboard get away with it either.

Both sides are bad. But one is Barney Fife and the other is Jason from Friday the 13th.

Centrist

April 13th, 2012
3:25 pm

@ The Limbaugh Dialectic – The “wrong way” was in reference to from minority party (Republican) to newly minority party (Democrat) at just the wrong time. She never gave herself a chance to be in the majority party in order to possibly be an effective legislator.

Going right

April 13th, 2012
3:27 pm

Aaron Burr V Mexico:
quote: “And I am a very angry, sarcastic, cynical SOB…” Yep, only on the first three would I even challenge.

GaBlue

April 13th, 2012
3:27 pm

“Centrist” @ 3:02,

For me, it’s not about the Tea party movement or what they believe. They’re entitled to their beliefs, and to march them around as much as they please! Even though I disagreed with their “core issues” early on, I admired them for making a good protest. Such things are a healthy component of a free society.

The problem I have is with the GEORGIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY, and their focus on social issues and crony profiteering to the exclusion of meaningful work. Another session has come and gone, and they didn’t address diddly squirt of the issues that required the attention of the state’s legislative body. Instead they furthered their own careers via partisan alliances and petty spit fights. They made pointless laws to harass poor people instead of creating more employment opportunities, cut safety nets for the poor while providing no alternative to hunger, and insert government INTO our doctors offices, reproductive organs, and bladders, instead of keeping it “off our backs” as Reagan used to quip. Resources, water, infrastructure, transportation woes, education, foreclosure rates, bank failures — the REAL factors that companies assess when deciding whether to create jobs here? Not so much.

The “peach tea party” is a factor, to be sure, but the real problem is the self-promoting conservo-trons under the Gold Dome, and the citizens of Georgia who vote labels and sound bites instead of paying attention to what these jerks are actually doing.

And since “liberals” have zero power in this state anymore, you can stop blaming the mythical liberal media for the failure of Georgia citizens hold their representatives accountable. Thanks.

Charles A. Jones Jr. (Athens)

April 13th, 2012
3:36 pm

I can understand Mrs. Ashe’s frustration; it has to be frustrating when your party is, as another commentator observed, a complete non-issue in the legislature. When the legislature convenes next year, Democrats are most likely going to be less than a 1/3 minority in both chambers – small enough to be completely irrelevant.

But we have to ask, WHY has it come down this way? Roughly ten years ago, Democrats ruled the Capitol – the Governor was a Democrat, Democrat Tom Murphy ruled the House with an iron fist, and now the Democrats have gone from being in absolute control to being an absolute irrelevancy. Why? I suggest that Democrats no longer reflect Georgia values – just this past legislative session, I watched Democrats take to the wells of both chambers and fingernail-screech in favour of late term abortions, in favour of forcing employers to pay for employees’ abortions regardless of their own religious values, against allowing parents school choice, et cetera.

The Democratic Party, as it is represented by the majority of its legislators, is the Democratic Party of New York, the Democratic Party of New Jersey, the Democratic Party of Obama, et cetera. And Georgians do not agree with New York and New Jersey values. If the Democratic Party wants to become relevant again in Georgia, it has to disassociate itself with the national Democrat label, and assert its independence as a conservative, pro-life, Democratic Party of Georgia.

Centrist

April 13th, 2012
3:38 pm

@ GaBlue – At least you are honest that you disagree with TEA party core issues. I don’t.

I can agree that there were some petty issues, profiteering, and attempts at social issue legislation that thankfully failed. The extreme right wing is not in control. Democrats had the same problems when they were in control.

Besides the Tea party core beliefs, you and I differ where I support the legislature and Attorney General concerning legislation/ lawsuit to both protect our borders and fight the disastrous Obamacare that needs to be reworked on a bi-partisan basis. The safety net has been made way to large/overlapped, and cushy destroying personal responsibility in favor of government support.

Is It Fair?

April 13th, 2012
3:40 pm

Some of you Socialist Democrats should try just once to be informed and not opinionated. First, stop watching BSNBC and reading the AJC.