Posted: 4:50 pm Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Former mayor of Uvalda, Ga., to receive JFK ‘Profile in Courage’ award 

By Jim Galloway

Paul Bridges, then mayor of Uvalda, Ga., in this 2011 photo speaking to a scrum of state Capitol reporters. Miguel Martinez/Mundo Hispanico

Paul Bridges, then mayor of Uvalda, Ga., in this 2011 photo speaking to a scrum of state Capitol reporters. Miguel Martinez/Mundo Hispanico

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced the two recipients of its annual Profile in Courage awards this afternoon.

One is well known – former President George H.W. Bush, who will be honored for breaking his no-new-taxes pledge to cement a bipartisan budget deal in 1990 and put his re-election chances in jeopardy. President Bill Clinton was the result.

But the bigger surprise is Paul Bridges, the former mayor of Uvalda, Ga., population 592 – give or take a few souls.

My AJC colleague Jeremy Redmond offers these details:

Bridges, the former mayor of the small, rural town of Uvalda in Montgomery County, served as a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Georgia’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011.

A Republican, Bridges argued he could face prosecution in connection with the law for transporting immigrants without legal status to churches and doctor appointments as he had done in the past. Federal courts ultimately struck down parts of the law and upheld others, including a provision giving police the option to check the immigration status of certain suspects.

“I’m just so very honored and humbled,” said Bridges, who did not seek reelection when his mayoral term ended last year. “I only speak the truth on the immigration issues. It doesn’t take courage to speak the truth.”

Uvalda is in onion country, south of I-16 and Vidalia. Here’s a slice from a 2011 column on Bridges and his community:

The primary argument for Bridges’ inclusion in the lawsuit is that he could run afoul of Georgia’s new law, which forbids “knowingly” transporting or harboring illegal immigrants. “Some of them I know are citizens — very young citizens. I’m not sure about their parents. I’m not sure about their grandparents,” Bridges, 59, said during a state Capitol news conference.

(The authors of the legislation say the new law does not apply to Georgians who commit occasional acts of kindness. But this is why we have judges and courthouses.)
Yet Bridges has a more emotional reason for joining the legal action. He talks of Uvalda’s many blended families — migrants who have married legal residents over the years, couples who have produced children.

“For instance, the grandmother who has papers. The daughter doesn’t have papers. The grandson is a citizen,” the mayor said. What happens, he asked, when a supporting husband is sent back to Mexico, leaving a dependent wife and child? Both are likely to end up on welfare.

Late last month, Bridges called for a “summit,” held in the town’s community center, to discuss the situation. Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, was there. So was state Rep. Greg Morris, R-Vidalia. Both men voted for HB 87.

There was general agreement on what has produced mixed families in the area. Seasonal harvests — onions, in particular — once required a short-term labor force that quickly moved on. But over the years, farmers have expanded their winter crop production.They’ve added turnips, collards, but especially cabbage.

Winter crops create the need for a year-round labor force, and vice versa. Year-round living leads to long-term relationships, and relationships create family trees.

Entire cabbage-patch families, if you will.

“Migrants used to travel around, but now that we created this produce market, they’re staying all year,” Williams said during that meeting.

Both Bush and Bridges will be honored at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on May 4.

26 comments
JMichaelHill
JMichaelHill

It doesn't take much courage when you have the power of the entire federal government backing your leftist ideas and agenda. But this award has always been about honoring those on the left who have helped destroy the foundations of Western Christian civilization.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

Congratulations Paul Bridges, former mayor of Uvalda, Ga.  You clearly deserve the award, blocking the neo-Confederates program of re-slavery and secession.  The anger, disappointment, and irrationality can be viewed in this blog.  Sad, but gradually being eradicated by youth, education, energy, experience, and intelligence.  Mayor Bridges stood up to the goons and the thugs. 

F_Sinkwich
F_Sinkwich

Liberal award for liberal loonie deeds.

Yawn

JamVet
JamVet

Rhett is trying to win the Profiles in Cowardice award...


Segregation Yesterday! Segregation Today!! Segregation Forever!!!


Rhettbutler
Rhettbutler

Any time the Kennedy center gives a profile in courage award it is nothing but a yankee intrusion to Georgia. Last time I recall those murdering Kennedys gave Roy Barns the award for changing our Georgia Flag. The Kennedy awards should be renamed the scalawag awards and butt out of Georgia's business. The South was Right!

SouthGeorgiareader
SouthGeorgiareader

it's refreshing and encouraging to see this award go to Bridges.  Courage, reason, and kindness are rare these days, but apparently still part of life in this small town.  Hope it's contagious.

ArturoK
ArturoK

I may be ill. This guy is fighting enforcement while the illegals/slaves live 30 to a trailer. Note he didn't try to get them MOMONEY just to keep them around for his slaver cronies.

Enoch19
Enoch19

Bernie manages to be offensive at so many levels in so few words.  It  a gift if I did not think he was just bat  **** Crazy.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

It is so gratifying to note that the prestigious Kennedy Award for Courage had noticed this mayor of a very small town in Georgia.  Kudos to the JFK Library Foundation and to Paul Bridges, former Mayor of Uvalda, Georgia, who put his Christian principles above politics and his own possible prosecution in order to do what was morally right for human beings in distress.  Thank you, Mayor Bridges, for living out Jesus' words to humanity.


I continue to hope that Republican John Barge, Georgia's Superintendent of Schools, will be honored with the Kennedy Profile in Courage award, in the future, for speaking out against Georgia's Constitutional Amendment which forged a legal means for special charter schools to be established in Georgia. Dr. Barge probably committed political suicide in speaking out against Republican legislators' and Republican Gov. Deal's plans regarding this Constitutional amendment.  Dr. Barge had said that his first responsibility as Georgia's State School Superintendent was to insure the success of ALL of Georgia's public schools and ALL of Georgia's public school students.  He was correct in his assessment. History will, no doubt, prove that Dr. Barge's moral decision has helped to save Georgia's traditional public schools from being further disparaged and underfunded.  It should be noted that Dr. Barge supports the presence of some charter schools in Georgia.

Starik
Starik

Yep, a decent human being.  It's good to remember that people like that exist, even in rural Georgia.  Now if our legislators would acquire a little of that decency...

drumminduck
drumminduck

Lori Geary needs to get her roots done.

Bernie31
Bernie31

looks like our internet ad stalker is here too!..check out the babe in Blue under listening..she is ready to POUNCE and Post her garbage for a Paycheck!


Go for it Mr. NSA!....the floor is yours.

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

Good for the Mayor, but bad for Bush I - he lost his re-election attempt and Democrats (of course) reneged on the promised spending cuts in exchange for the tax increases.


Good that we have stronger ILLEGAL immigration laws in Georgia.  Maybe Hillary (or a Republican president) will work with Congress to get national immigration reform - but it won't include citizenship or access to our broad taxpayer and national debt supported welfare safety net. I guess there is an outside chance Obama won't veto such if we get a Republican Senate in 2015.

JackClemens
JackClemens

Paul Bridges for president. Seriously.

Bernie31
Bernie31

Now here is a REAL CHRISTIAN Man from rural Georgia. Not like the LOUD MOUTH

Womb WatchingPoorpeoplehatingchildrenhealthcaredenying SUNDAY go to meeting folks every Sunday All around Georgia...who are LYING dirt bags of Meat who are Always screaming FREEDOM and praise JAYSUS!

honested
honested

@JMichaelHill  

Is there a cogent point in there somewhere, or did you just make it up on the fly?

honested
honested

@ArturoK  

All he had to do was have the employers imprisoned for violating labor law.

The wages paid and the people employed would have changed overnight, while no law abiding Citizens would have been harmed in the process.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@Enoch19 - I Find Republicans Far more OFFENSIVE in their Pretense of Being A God Fearing Christian People. Especially when their every ACT of governance Of the People screams, I am a Follower of the Prince Of Darkness and I am PROUD of IT!

Bernie31
Bernie31

@MaryElizabethSings - My Dear, John is an EMBRACER of The TEA KOOKS too! That issue alone will prevent Many a would be VOTER for even considering his candidacy after the Republican primary. That insane alliance undoes any good John may have accomplished. For such an an endearment is a Clear & Present Danger for ALL who support such a terminal political group of extinction.

Chris30338
Chris30338

@Kim_Jong-Un It's going to happen. Either the Republican Party get's on board or they're going extinct.

NOlongerRepublican
NOlongerRepublican

@The_Centrist  Farmers and companies in Georgia and elsewhere looking for cheap labor are part of the reason there are so many illegal immigrants here. If there had not been a demand for them they would not be here. Those are the people that should pay the price for the illegal immigration problem...not the workers who just came for the opportunity. The mayor here realizes that these are PEOPLE with kids and families, something crazy right-wingers who are so all about "family values" seem to ignore. There MUST be a path to citizenship in ANY immigration reform legislation.

Chris30338
Chris30338

@The_Centrist So immigration reform without a path to citizenship??? It won't happen. Like the story said, you have families where one level are legal citizens, another isn't and yet another are. You deport the one supporting the family and the entire family ends up on welfare. Face it, you guys are on the way out, this nation's demography will change drastically over the next 40-50 years. We'll likely even have a President by then who's last name will be Hispanic.

Either get on the bandwagon on get off because either way, the tides coming in and it's already around your ankles and there's nothing your kind can do about it.