Originally created 07/20/00

State senator denies he's desperate



I wouldn't have taken time to respond to the recent allegations of your editorial; however, since the invitation was extended in your newspaper, I determined it's in the best interest of my constituents and your readers to know both sides of this unfortunate story.

My concern has always been the welfare of the people of Richmond County. For that reason, I commend any efforts on the part of the governor and state Rep. Robin Williams, R-Augusta, to secure funds to begin rebuilding their lives.

Rep. Williams and I are seeking the same goal, but are using different methods. When Georgia Emergency Management Agency announced July 7 that there would be a meeting July 10 to discuss strategy for dealing with the situation at hand, both Rep. Williams and I - along with the mayor and the media - were informed. It was Rep. Williams' choice not to attend.

The people of Richmond County have been ravaged by floods, and while their relief should be of primary concern - indeed it is for me - you have turned a tragedy into an opportunity to create a political diversion. You accused me of being desperate. That is a fictional accusation; the facts are that I am unopposed, and I have no stake in this Republican House of Representatives contest; however, it appears that I have become The Augusta Chronicle's editorial whipping boy.

You criticized me for stating my opinion that The Chronicle slants its articles to favor its preferred candidates; however, you later admitted, "The opinion page represents The Chronicle as a civic member of our community, and by their nature, opinions are slanted." So where do we differ?

I maintain that we differ in how we represent the facts. First, The Chronicle reporters who attended my press conference negated your editorial. Then you gave your readers the chance to respond to an opinion poll: What do you think of Sen. Don Cheeks' criticism of The Augusta Chronicle? Is he right, or is he desperate? They responded loud and clear: 86 percent (215) of them agreed with me while only 14 percent (86) of the 251 respondents questioned my judgment.

I am not desperate. I have nothing about which to be desperate. Again, I am an unopposed veteran incumbent of the General Assembly, and I have nothing to lose. Additionally, you asserted that I am green with envy. In fact, the only color I see is yellow - journalism, that is...

Sen. Don Cheeks, D-Augusta