Sunday, October 25, 2009

An Interview with Maria Sheffield, Part I

Looking at the current political landscape we have a single party that controls the Presidency, the Congress, and the Senate. Depending on how things shape up over the next three years, they could control the Supreme Court as well. Elections are important, and they are important at every level. Barack Obama started as a State Senator. Most elected officials start as state and local officials before they run for federal office. If for no better reason than this, we should be paying attention to our local elections.

At the beginning of September Maria Sheffield formally announced her candidacy for Insurance Commissioner for Georgia. At the same time, I was trying to come up with a way to discuss some of the elected offices that will be on next years ballot but don't usually draw a lot of attention. I thought a great way to start this discussion might be to do an interview with Mrs. Sheffield. I contacted her, and she agreed. This week, I will be discussing the interview I conducted with Mrs. Sheffield. Tonight, I want to get into a little of her background. The first question and answer session will be on Tuesday night, with the second to follow on Thursday night.

I first heard of Maria Sheffield on Facebook. I started researching her, and I felt she had a very interesting background that might make her a strong candidate for Insurance Commissioner. She was born and raised just North of Macon, Georgia in the town of Ivey. Her mother was a nurse and her father served a career in the Air Force and retired from the Air National Guard. Before her 26th birthday, Maria had obtained four degrees including an MBA and a Juris Doctor from Georgia State University. However, her life wasn't all roses either. Her mother was killed when Maria was 15. Her father died of brain cancer when she was 25.

Maria has worked for the Republican Party since the 90's. She served as a District Chairman for Phil Gramm for President in 1996 and as a Vice-Chairman for George Bush for President in 2000. She worked for the Georgia Department of Insurance for six years and served as the Legislative Liaison and Legal Counsel. She is currently an attorney for Burr, Forman, LLP where she specializes in insurance and regulatory compliance matters.

As a final note, this week is not intended as an endorsement of Mrs. Sheffield's candidacy. I think it is too early for any voter to commit to a particular candidate for the 2010 election. If I get the chance to interview some of Mrs. Sheffield's competition, I will be happy to run those on this site as well. However, from what I have read of Mrs. Sheffield, and from looking at her responses during this interview, I think any Georgia voter should consider Mrs. Sheffield over the coming months. Kathryn Ballou of Sheffield's campaign told me that she would encourage the voters to listen to what the candidates are saying. She points out that almost anything can sound good in a 10 second sound bite, but who really has the experience and who is in the race simply because they don't have anything better to do? I think this is good advice for any of the positions we will be voting on in November.

1 comment:

Christina said...

" we should be paying attention to our local elections." - I am voting in my State & local elections this year, for the first time,b/c that is absolutely true, most officials start out at a more 'hometown' level. Naively, I used to think only Presidential campaigns were important.

In fact, I am voting for an independent candidate; his platform & background, experience etc. were impressive & if more people paid attention to the details, the typical big front runners might not stand a chance. Most likely, the candidate won't get even close to winning, and if/when that happens, I intend to email him & ask him to try again next time.

So...disseminating election candidate info now is a great idea, Andy.