Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s history as a lawmaker deserves the title “reprehensible,” even if fellow gubernatorial candidate Michael Williams was too busy with Trump-esque political stunts to make his press conference stick.
Last week, State Sen. Michael Williams held a press conference where he promised to highlight the “reprehensible actions of Casey Cagle.” Instead he offered bland accusations and very little substance, drawing much snark from political commentators.
But Cagle has worked hard to earn that title, so let’s take a moment to recognize some of the most reprehensible moments of Cagle’s tenure first in the state senate and later as the lieutenant governor.
Cagle literally ‘on board’ with Franklin Graham, the anti-gay evangelist pastor. Last year, Graham took his tour bus to our state’s capitol, and Cagle lined up to go meet with the man. Graham is famous for his anti-gay bigotry, and has fought hard against LGBT people being able to build families and be treated with respect. What does it say about Cagle that Graham is a leader he is eager to meet with?
Cagle backs school privatization, a point he makes again and again in his book Education Unleashed. Back in 2007, he literally wrote the charter school legislation that opened the door for public school dollars to go to for-profit charter school companies. Cagle is more invested in stripping funds from public schools than addressing the barriers — like hunger, family violence or homelessness — that far too many students in our state struggle with.
Cagle is currently a named defendant in a whistleblower lawsuit over the Georgia Department of Education allowing a legislator turned lobbyist to write the policies over how Title I funds can be used. Title I dollars are supposed to be managed by the state in order to support schools with large populations of low income students. However, one DOE employee has stepped forward claiming that Cagle and other leaders within her department put pressure on her to allow that lobbyist to draft new policies. That legislator turned lobbyist is Cagle’s former colleague Dan Weber, who he worked with to pass the 2007 charter school legislation.
Cagle wants to see the Affordable Care Act repealed, and has started a task force to support his vision of denying healthcare to the most vulnerable. Individuals with disabilities are literally fighting for their lives, as the federal government debates stripping away billions of dollars in federal medicaid funds for states. Rural communities are in desperate situations as hospitals close and they are left with no place to turn to receive healthcare. And Cagle seems to be welcoming these changes with open arms.
Although Michael Williams’ political stunt fell short, Cagle didn’t need a competing gubernatorial candidate to highlight the obvious: his reprehensible history as leader is clear.