GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — For some in cities like Brunswick, Tuesday's US Senate election in Georgia offered a chance for national reform, but a political expert says that change may not roll out quickly.
It was a difficult year for many like Latashia Doney, a working mom of four.
She works for the state’s unemployment agency, handling people’s requests for unemployment benefits.
“It’s taken a toll, people are waiting months and months for replies," Doney said. "They were really worried in terms of the stimulus being signed [and] because the CARES Act ended [December 26]."
Doney, who is from Brunswick, said she is hoping for changes in the wake of the US Senate runoffs.
Among them, she wants immediate help to those unemployed.
Dr. Mandi Bailey, a political science professor at Valdosta State University, said those stimulus checks may increase. However, she is not sure sweeping change is on the horizon, given the makeup of the House and Senate.
“It is unified government which is more efficient for Democrats and the incoming President, but at the same time its not the mandate Democrats thought they would see,” Dr. Bailey said.
Activists in Georgia remain optimistic.
Bobby Henderson is co-founder of the group A Better Glynn.
It was founded in wake of the Ahmaud Arbery killing. The organization pushes for key pieces of legislation regarding crime and voting rights start moving on the Senate floor.
“The Emmett Till Antilynching Act was passed in the House three days after Ahmaud [Arbery] was killed," Henderson said. "It’s important, we saw in South Carolina the importance of a parallel, federal prosecution to get the prosecution for guilty parties."
Henderson also wants to see the John Lewis Voting Rights Act get voted into law.
“We’ve seen a lot of voter suppression here in Georgia from poll closures to removing people from the logs," Henderson explained. "It’s important we bring some controls back into making sure they get their access to the ballot."
Henderson also hopes the Senate wins for Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff mean maintaining affordable healthcare options.
He also sees a victory in the first Black man be elected Senator in a southern state since Reconstruction.
“It’s like taking a brick off of your chest and putting it on the foundation that you’re building," Henderson said. "So know you can start moving in a manner that feels more like progress rather than running in the mud."
Doney said she is glad that her vote has counted and gone towards progress.
“It looks like we’re going to have some change in 2021 and that’s needed,” Doney said.