It’s an overlooked race in a battleground state that demands attention. Democratic Georgia House Minority Leader James Beverly led the charge to get more Georgia Democrats elected on the local, state, and federal levels. He now needs his own Democratic colleagues to re-elect him as House Minority Leader on Tuesday so he can continue moving Georgia forward.
Beverly’s record shows he rises to the occasion; he is undeterred and resilient. In the last 18 months, the Macon representative worked tirelessly to develop a strategy to rally the Democratic base and inspire more Republicans to vote for progressive candidates. He’s a leader committed to mentoring other candidates and elected officials on how to best serve their communities in a way that does justice for Georgians.
“I knew these Democratic-performing districts were reflective of what Georgia was becoming. And so it started then,” Beverly said.
He’s been successful. Under Beverly’s guidance, Georgia House Democrats seated 24 new representatives and re-elected 55 representatives. Democrats will now take 79 of the 180 seats in the Georgia House of Representatives.
Republicans have held a majority of the chamber since 2005, but this progress shows the needle is slowly moving toward the Democrats gaining a majority in the Georgia House. It’s a feat Beverly hopes will be accomplished in the next two to four years.
“We’re getting there,” Beverly said. “We’re going to get close in two years and certainly four years. Georgia is going to look a lot different at the state legislative level.”
Georgia House Democrats picked up three seats during the November 8 election, also putting in office some history-making candidates. Georgia House Representative-elect Farooq Mughal, whose district covers the Buford – Dacula – Lawrenceville areas, will be the first Pakistani-American to serve in the state legislature; Georgia House Representative-elect Ruwa Romman, whose district covers the Berkeley Lake – Duluth – Norcross – Peachtree Corners areas, will be the first Muslim woman to serve in the State House and the first Palestinian to be elected to any public office in the state.
Despite the historic gains for Georgia House Democrats, Beverly is humble. But if you look at his record, he’s earned the right to brag. Beverly says he’s created programs while in office that focused on reducing poverty.
“We’re building homes; people are working,” Beverly said. “You got to build the infrastructure to make sure that you take care of your home, but also how, as you expand and grow, what does that look like?”
His leadership and direction helped raise over $2.1 million for Democrats this election cycle. Beverly says he spearheaded recruiting, mentoring, and investing in Democratic candidates.
“I provide a space for people to talk, to think through problems and to be a listening ear, but also to say, ‘Okay, I get it, here’s what I think is best for where we’re going,’” Beverly said.
He knows the way to bring in more Democratic seats is to make sure the grassroots movement is strong from top to bottom. Beverly says the focus needs to be on local politicians to regain support for higher offices – such as continuing to work to elect a Democratic governor in the years ahead.
“There is absolutely no way that Herschel Walker should be the United States senator. No way,” Beverly said. “[Sen. Warnock] is smart; he’s articulate; he has a doctorate. He is what we need. What he did for insulin to lower the cost – cap the cost of insulin to $35.”
Beverly says as an optometrist, Warnock’s work is vital to Georgians. He knows how important quality, affordable and accessible healthcare is – and he’s passionate about helping his patients and ensuring Georgians have their needs met.
“It’s so important because I’m an eye doctor by trade. I see so many people with diabetes who come in with retinal pathology because they don’t have enough money to pay for insulin,” Beverly said.
To continue his leadership, Beverly must beat his challenger by winning 39 votes from Democratic colleagues on Tuesday to be re-elected as Georgia House Minority Leader. A part of the reason Beverly wants to hold onto his seat? Because he knows his work is important, and it’s not over yet.
“This is about really getting to a place where someone has articulated a vision, shown results, to get to the future with what the Democratic Party is,” Beverly said. “I’m really an open book. I really actually care about what is important to you.”