From the back seat of a red minivan, Michelle Nunn said Tuesday she and her family are traveling around Georgia “highlighting things that are working” that she can take to Congress.
Nunn, 46, brought the “What Washington can learn from Georgia” tour to Augusta-Richmond County Judicial Center and John Ruffin Courthouse after a stop at nearby Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home.
Nunn, who announced plans last month to run as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Saxby Chambliss, makes no bones about continuing her family’s political legacy.
Her father, moderate Democrat Sam Nunn, served in the U.S. Senate for 25 years and currently serves as co-chair and chief executive of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which he co-founded with Ted Turner.
Michelle Nunn said she continues to learn from her father, a “statesman who worked across the aisle and strengthened our country” every day, but the pair aren’t identical.
“I obviously chose to spend the first 25 years of my life in community service, and for the volunteer sector. He actually has spent the latter part of his life in the civic sector.”
Nunn is former CEO of Hands on Atlanta, and since 2007, the CEO of the Points of Light Foundation, derived from former President George H.W. Bush’s “thousand points of light” philosophy. The Republican president named Nunn to his Council on Service and Civic Participation.
“Everywhere I’ve gone for the last seven days, I have seen lessons of what Washington can learn, and part of that is different sectors coming together - business, governmental and civic sectors working together,” said Nunn, who had a meeting scheduled with Mayor Deke Copenhaver later in the afternoon.
“What we don’t see in Washington is the capacity of people to work together,” she said. “Everyone who’s ever worked on a church committee, a PTA committee, their synagogue fundraiser knows that you have to work together across differences.”
Nunn said if President Obama had reached more across the aisle, he might have accomplished the deficit reduction she aspired to help facilitate in Congress.
“I wish that President Obama had been more successful reaching across the aisle,” she said. “I wish the president had found a way to better embrace business, and incorporate their leadership and thinking into our economic policies.”
A key campaign theme, Nunn said deficit reduction will mean “willingness to put everything on the table and to work across differences. In some ways, it’s a mathematical equation, and if you sit down together with people of good will and say this is a problem that we have to solve for our country, I think that we can do it. But if you’re always playing political games or brinkmanship, the problem never gets solved.”