Right now someone in northwest Georgia is relaxing at home following a Labor Day weekend spent with friends and family and on the lake when the sun briefly burst through the clouds. Next month, this person intends to visit old pals in the Tennessee and North Carolina mountains. They will appreciate the local cuisine as well as the stunning fall colors along the journey. Of course, this person will be at home for Christmas and will spend most evenings and even a few Saturdays watching Hallmark network Christmas movies with a teenage grandkid who shares their love for them.
A similar pattern of life will be followed in 2023. In a word, it’s pleasant. This person leads a placid and breezy existence. However, they are concerned about what they see on the news throughout. This person is a lifelong republican and as a conservatives feels anxious and enraged when they see left-wing initiatives progressing on all fronts. Their social network’s friends and relatives intensify their anxiety and rage. Despite their comfortable existence, they are fearful about their loved ones’ future. They resolve to take their grievances to the state capital in 2024 by running for state representative.
Now let us contrast such a person with Mike Cameron, the state representative for district one. Since his retirement from Blue Cross years ago, Cameron’s life hasn’t been like the person described above. His weekends aren’t spent watching movies, he doesn’t spend time at the lake, and his sole vacation since assuming office has been to North Carolina for his yearly religious retreat. Instead, he has dedicated his life to local concerns, politics, and devotion to others. 2020 provided vivid illustration of his work. Walker County had been ruled by a single commissioner for more than 50 years, but after years of labor by him and a determined group of individuals, the county finally made the switch and elected its board of commissioners in 2020.
In 2020, Cameron also won for himself. He won the contest for state representative for district one in a remarkable come-from-behind primary run-off victory. Cameron’s campaign lacked the fancy website and slick advertisements that are often associated with modern campaigns, instead relying on face-to-face meetings, personal connections, and an endless reservoir of energy.
Cameron took the oath of office in January 2021 and spent the following months immersed in the fast-paced legislative session, during which he and his colleagues accomplished much. When we chatted after the session concluded, surprisingly, he was more concerned with what was still to be done than with what had previously been accomplished. This modest detail has subsequently become a distinguishing feature of his leadership and service as District One’s state representative.
He exhibits this by saying yes to every invitation that comes his way from the multitude of community civic organizations, school PTOs, business groups, and church groups. Add to this, a proactive and relentless approach to constituent service, and you have a state representative who seems to never rest and be everywhere at once. He is committed to do a good job and at every aspect, which includes listening to and responding to the never-ending stream of citizen concerns and queries that range from those who are furious, upset, frightened, terrified, optimistic, satisfied, and every other emotion.
Last spring, he faced a fierce, well-supported primary challenger. For his first reelection bid, he now had a website and planned to broadcast campaign ads, but they would be uniquely designed and spoken by him. Like previously, everything came down to the connections between people; his relationship with his constituents. It’s difficult to claim the result was surprising with it being 75.9% to 24.1%, but it was. At a time when anti-incumbent sentiment stalked the political landscape, Mike Cameron showed that his unheralded and, no doubt, tiring approach to public office was what his constituents wanted.
Someone like the person I described at the beginning of this article will run against Representative Cameron in 2024 and in years following. They will stir your emotions and speak in a righteous, even angry tone about the importance of sending someone to Atlanta to fight the progressives and combat the liberal surge before it sweeps the state. I have no doubt that Mike will handle these challenges with the same hopeful honesty and unwavering confidence in the people that has always distinguished his public service. It suited him well in Atlanta, as at home and across the district.
Mike Cameron doesn’t mind that he never gets a tan from weekends on the lake, or that he has to settle for postcards of autumn’s beauty in the mountains. He’ll probably miss most of the Hallmark Christmas movies, too. That is okay with him. He is the cheerful warrior serving northwest Georgia.
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