Letter to the Editor on Talmadge Bridge Renaming

Legislators fail community on bridge name

Thank you for giving front page coverage on April 3 to the maddening failure of the Georgia General Assembly on the matter of the Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge.

Savannahians’ mandate to our state legislators this session was unambivalent: We want a name for this lovely and shining bridge that isn’t a tribute to a man with a hateful and outdated ideology.

Our little gem of a city is diverse and inclusive. It is a wonderful mashup of old and new. People from all over the United States and all over the world cross over or under that bridge when they visit us or trade with us. The current name welcomes no one who crosses.

Our Savannah legislative team, Sens. Lester Jackson and Ben Watson and Reps. Jesse Petrea and Ron Stephens, failed to make the case that we, the people of Savannah, want change. The assembly failed to respect the wishes of the people of one of its most vibrant and beloved cities. Stephens says another attempt will be made “next year.”

He said, “The Girl Scouts want this and they deserve this.” No. It is the citizens of Savannah that deserve this and have wanted it for many, many years.

If the national attention attracted when the Girl Scouts of America took a late inning view on what they think the new name should be didn’t move the “old guard” Stephens blames, why should we expect a different outcome next year?

We can only hope for success if the composition of the Georgia General Assembly changes enough to overrule legacy relationships and if our own Savannah representatives find the nerve to really go to the mat for their constituents.

If you, like me, are saddened and angered by this failure, I remind you that all members serve two-year terms and they are up for re-election Nov.

6. The deadline for you to register to vote is April 24. The primaries are May 22. Don’t miss your opportunity to make your vote count and your voice heard.

Elisabeth McCullar, Savannah