Rep. Earl Ehrhart recently announced that he’s retiring and progressives across the state are counting down the days. For 30 years, Ehrhart has used his position to promote the most destructive conservative policies.
In recent years he’s championed legislation that attacks rape survivors while protecting those accused of rape. He’s targeted members of the LGBTQ community, students, immigrants and women. He’s threatened to pull funding for universities that didn’t bow to his backwards policies.
Early last year, Ehrhart filed a bill that would have protected accused rapists on college campuses across Georgia by blocking schools from investigating campus sexual assault claims without an immediate police investigation.
At the beginning of this year Ehrhart had a strong message to send to Emory university, which was only considering becoming a sanctuary campus. “There’s a raft of state taxpayer dollars for private institutions,” Ehrhart told the AJC, “and I’m very sanguine about being able to pass a piece of legislation that says if you’re picking and choosing which laws you’re going to follow, state dollars aren’t going to follow.”
Ehrhart has also been quick to grant favors, especially to his alma mater. Last year, when UGA athletics wanted a 90-day delay in responding to public-records requests for no reason other than that the football coach asked for one, Ehrhart was among the lawmakers behind the bill that made it happen. This allows universities to conduct business in secret for 90 days.
When using his position to influence the government hasn’t been enough to get his policies past, he has resorted to aggressive bullying. In 2016, he called LGBT students a “bigoted, intolerant hate group” for leading protests against the appointment of Sam Olens as the new KSU president.
Using his role as a state legislator, he threatened and bullied Georgia Tech — denying the school money for a new library, calling on the president to resign — all because he disagreed with the treatment a student who was accused of sexually assaulting another student on campus received.
The good news is that Earl Ehrhart is out.
The bad news is that his wife Ginny is running to replace him, and unfortunately, she doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. Ginny Ehrhart has been behind Earl Ehrhart every step of the way. She even went so far as to file a lawsuit on behalf of an accused rapist with her husband.
It’s already clear that another Ehrhart in office will only bring Georgia more years of bullying, manipulation and hateful conservative policies.