“Contrary to popular opinion, Georgia is not flat,” said Congressional candidate Ray McKinney (R-Savannah), who has been walking the 12th Congressional District for the past four and a half weeks.
McKinney, 45, a former energy company executive and Effingham County High School alum, is running for the seat occupied by U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Savannah). He is currently in the north part of the district, walking through Crawfordville, Augusta,Waynesboro, Millen and Sylvania this week. He’ll complete the sixth and final week of his 450-mile trek on March 21 in Savannah
“Not only have I covered over 300 miles, but I have managed to misplace around 25 pounds,” McKinney said. “My feet get sore, and after walking 20 miles in a drizzle, it’s hard to keep going. But when a car or truck drives by and the people inside wave, flash their lights or toot a horn, you know that it really is worth it.”
McKinney said he has particularly enjoyed talking with the ordinary working folks who make up the 12th District. He’s learned that a lot of people are hurting economically, especially in the rural areas and smaller towns, such as a pecan farmer he met.
“Boy was he mad. His crop insurance had been drastically cut, he could not get a low interest loan to put in irrigation and fertilizer was so expensive he and other pecan farmers were debating about not using any this season,” McKinney said.
“What frosted his flakes was the new farm bill would lump his crops into one policy so if he grew soy beans, cotton and pecans, only one would be covered.”
McKinney had a fun encounter with the “Snake Man” outside of Louisville.
“He was a personal friend of Vince Dooley and had tons of pictures and stories about the local lore,” he said. “I also talked with a young couple that was struggling to make ends meet. The gas prices and rising food prices were making things really hard. Did you realize last year milk was only $2.50 a gallon at this time?”
McKinney said he’s accomplishing his main goal for the Big Walk, which is to meet as many people as he can, and hear first-hand what concerns, worries and hopes they have for their families and communities.
“I’m finding out that a lot of people, like me, are tired of the same old politics as usual and special interests running things in Washington,” he said. “I want to restore true representation in Congress and what better way to start that process than by getting out and meeting the voters face to face?”
McKinney is expected to be in Springfield and Rincon on Tuesday and Wednesday.