COALITION SUCCESS STORY
HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT IN GEORGIAIt was June 2007 and the Senate immigration bill was on the rocks. Georgia Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson had been part of the bipartisan working group that crafted the legislation behind the scenes. But when the bill was unveiled to the public and came under attack in the media, the two Georgia legislators threatened to bolt from the working group.
GEORGIA EMPLOYERS FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM was just getting going - and operating on a shoe-string budget. But it swung into action to urge Chambliss and Isakson to stay the course. The coalition produced a 30-second radio spot explaining why immigration was good for the Georgia economy, then spent a few thousand dollars to buy time on the two most conservative talk shows airing in the state - "The Sean Hannity Show" and the "Neal Boortz Show." Both Hannity and Boortz were outraged and denounced the spot on the air every time it ran - precious free media attention for GEIR and its position. Before the week was out, the Washington Times ran a front page story describing how Georgia was divided.
Chambliss and Isakson bolted anyway, but GEIR proved what a state-based coalition can do in a David-versus-Goliath battle to get local attention for the pro-immigration case.