In 2018, I pulled a Republican primary ballot and voted for Deborah Silcox in the District 52 Georgia House of Representatives election (the district includes parts of Sandy Springs and Buckhead). I did so in part to block her far-right primary challenger (Gavi Shapiro), but also because I thought a vote for Silcox would be a vote for courage, moderation and common sense. On every count, I was wrong.
Silcox has first failed at a politician’s most basic duty — standing up for what is right, especially when doing so is not expedient or easy. When the AJC exposed Republican House Speaker David Ralston for using his legislative office to shield pedophiles from Georgia’s criminal justice system, Silcox stood by him (she was not one of the 10 Republicans to support a resolution encouraging Ralston to resign as speaker).
When U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Atlanta, dumped her stock just before the market crashed after allegedly learning insider information about COVID-19, Silcox stood by her (though the Senate Ethics Committee and U.S. Department of Justice later ended their investigations into Loeffler’s stock trades). And as a Trump supporter herself, Silcox has stayed radio silent on the president’s myriad ethical and moral failings. Far from having the courage to confront her own party, our representative seems to relish their corrupt practices.
Silcox has likewise strayed from the moderate persona she has crafted for herself. She cites her vote against Georgia’s abortion ban bill as evidence she’s pro-choice, which is laughable because she’s part of the same Republican leadership team that allowed the bill to go to a vote in the first place.
And on healthcare, she's to the right of Mike Pence. Whereas the former governor of Indiana chose to expand Medicaid after realizing the fiscal logic of doing so, Silcox is against Medicaid expansion in our own state, evidently content with the fact Georgia has the third highest uninsured rate in the nation.
But perhaps most unforgivably, Silcox has failed to lead with basic common sense. Nowhere is this on better display than in her response to the COVID pandemic. Her husband (and significant campaign donor) is a doctor, so at some level she must understand the importance of masks, the authority of science and the lethality of COVID-19. This makes her opposition to common-sense measures to contain the coronavirus all the more inexcusable.
When Gov. Brian Kemp barred municipalities like Atlanta and Sandy Springs from adopting mask ordinances to slow the spread, Silcox — true to form — stood by him. Mask mandates save lives, but Silcox was willing to throw our senior citizens and economy under the bus if it meant currying favor with high-ranking Republicans like Brian Kemp and Kelly Loeffler.
Looking back on my 2018 primary vote, I wish I had instead voted for her primary opponent, who shared Silcox’s hard-right politics but was at least honest about it. This November, I will instead be voting for Shea Roberts, a pragmatic mom of two more interested in protecting healthcare and fixing our roads than in waging culture wars. Enough is enough — it’s time to sack Silcox.