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Opinion: Working to hear more Ga. voices

Secondly, we’ve got to engage more voices. Broadening our reach across communities and building an enduring platform for greater engagement is crucial to our growth as a state. But expanding support also requires a continuous dialogue — and not just in an election year. As I’ve traveled the state, I’ve been struck by the power of the people around our state to make a positive impact on their local community. When we listen locally, communicate our shared values and our positive vision it creates that strong level of engagement. And it creates the dialogue about the policies that truly put the people of Georgia and their families, jobs and freedoms first.

Finally, fair and trusted elections are the bedrock of our democracy —and shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We are investing the time, energy and resources to build an infrastructure that can be sustained across candidates and election cycles. As a candidate myself, I saw firsthand that campaigns are like start-up companies, only they are shut-down operations after elections to the detriment of the dialogue with voters. If we’re truly committed to building a bigger tent, we’ve got to leave the tent up year-round, including outside an election year. But we also must address the lack of uniform implementation of rules surrounding our elections to ensure fairness. Georgia voters deserve transparency in the election process in order to have confidence that their vote counts.

Success means much more than winning elections. It means the policies that reflect Georgia values. Whether better education for our children, more safety in our communities, protecting our freedoms, or more jobs and affordable healthcare, we must keep people – not government – at the center of our efforts. Protecting our democracy starts with engaging new voters, continues by reaching more communities, and is achieved through the trust that every vote is secure. If we do the work to help every voice be heard, we can create more opportunities for all Georgians and make Georgia greater for generations to come.

Kelly Loeffler, a businesswoman, is a former U.S. senator for Georgia.

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