A Georgia state senator has agreed to leave the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) while other lawmakers and candidates pledge to never join the controversial corporate-funded conservative organization. Atlanta-based Coca-Cola was the first corporate member to announce its decision to quit ALEC publicly. Coca-Cola's decision created a chain-reaction that has led other companies and, now, lawmakers to follow.
Sen. Nan Orrock is the first Georgia lawmaker to quit. Through Better Georgia, Sen. Orrock released the following statement:
“As a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council for several years, having joined ALEC with the primary goal of better understanding the corporate-dominated organization, I know first-hand that ALEC is not the innocuous organization it claims to be.
ALEC is underwritten by corporate dollars to push corporate financial interests that disadvantage middle-class and working families. This group enrolls state legislators to promote its radical legislation in state after state, creating the false illusion of public support for its dangerous agenda. ALEC promotes legislation that suppresses voter participation, undermines state budgets and services, and impedes democracy.
With my departure, Georgia’s delegation to ALEC can no longer claim to be bi-partisan. Any lawmaker who cares more about Georgia residents than multi-national corporations should leave the group. We need to be focusing on real solutions for our state, not fanning the flames of wedge-issue politics.”
Last week, Better Georgia called on every candidate for and member of the General Assembly to terminate his or her ALEC membership or pledge to refuse a membership, if elected.
Other lawmakers that have pledged to never join ALEC include:
Two candidates have taken the pledge to never join ALEC:
Rep. Elena Parent (D-81)
Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-82)
Rep. Earnest Smith (D-122)
Rep. Winfred Dukes (D-150)
“If ALEC is too toxic for Coca-Cola, our elected officials shouldn’t go near the group,” said Bryan Long, executive director of Better Georgia. “ALEC sits at the table with legislators to write our laws without our knowledge. There is no room for this organization to operate in the shadows of our government. There is no legitimate defense for any lawmaker to work with ALEC.”
Jason Esteves, candidate for House District 53
Ronnie Mabra, candidate for House District 63
Among Georgia politicians with known ties to ALEC:
A complete list of Georgia’s legislators with known ties to ALEC can be found here: http://bttrga.us/ALECGA
Sen. Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-21), ALEC State Chairman, recipient of ALEC's 2011 State Chair of the Year Award
Rep. Calvin Hill, Jr. (R-21), ALEC State Chairman
Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-36), past National Chairman
Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-101), Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force
Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-41); Health and Human Services Task Force
Rep. Judy Manning (R-32); Health and Human Services Task Force
Georgia companies that fund ALEC’s radical, right-wing policies and secretive tactics include Cox Communications, Georgia-Pacific, Southern Company and United Parcel Service (UPS).
Better Georgia is a new and growing non-partisan organization created to make sure Georgia’s leaders focus on real problems for real Georgians. The Athens-based group is funded through individual donations from people around the state.
Download a printable press release here: Georgia State Senator Quits ALEC (PDF)
Bryan Long, Executive Director