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The Public Record: Betty Price’s elevator speech didn’t go over well

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The Players: State Rep. Betty Price, of Roswell, was caught on video admitting something voters have long assumed about state politics, but didn’t necessarily want to hear from a lawmaker. She was in an elevator talking to Mary Carol Harsch, the widow of John Harsch, who was killed by a distracted driver while cycling with a group of friends. Harsch’s friend recorded the exchange.

The Background: Price had just voted against a distracted driving bill in a committee meeting and was asked by the widow why she voted no. The bill, in case you were wondering, made it out of committee. Price and one other lawmaker voted no and were in the minority. Ironically, Price sponsored a similar distracted driving bill last year. If you’re puzzled by that, don’t be. This is politics.

The Quote: So, why did Price vote no? The quote from the video tells the story.

“It’s a protest because they ignored my bill last year… I’m just causing trouble. I’m not philosophically opposed…” -Betty Price

Why It Matters: Price admitted in the video that her vote was not based on her own convictions or the views of the constituents she represents. Rather, her vote was used to protest how her bill was treated the previous year. Price certainly isn’t the only lawmaker to cast a protest vote due to feeling snubbed, but when a lawmaker casts a vote they are technically doing it on behalf of the voters and taxpayers they represent.

Questions: Here are a two of the obvious questions this incident raises:

  • Price is up for election this year. Will voters be OK with her use of this type of protest vote, or “causing trouble” as she puts it?
  • When the bill lands on the house floor, will Price vote for it?
    • Updated: March 3, 2018- We have the answer to this question. When it came time to vote on the bill, not only did Price vote in favor of it, she gave a floor speech in favor of it just prior to the vote.

Past Incidents: This isn’t the first time Price has been caught on camera saying something shocking. Earlier this month at a GOP breakfast, she read insulting remarks about liberal women. In October, she asked if there was any way to quarantine HIV patients. After that incident, she said she was only asking the question to be “provocative.”

In Case You Didn’t Know: This should be common knowledge, but when the story first broke, several people on social media asked if Price is related to Tom Price, who resigned from Donald Trump’s cabinet in September after a travel scandal. The answer is yes. They are husband and wife.

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