Georgia Senator David Perdue spent last week cross-crossing his state, speaking to groups from Savannah to Blairsville and many points in between. Perdue was in Gainesville on Wednesday and made a quick stop at the WDUN studios.
When asked about recent controversy surrounding Confederate monuments that dot the landscape in Georgia and other states across the South, Perdue said it was important not to let extremists drive the conversation.
"Like any issue, you hate for a small faction on either side to dominate the dialogue," Perdue said.
He said he liked the way Charleston, S.C. seems to be handling the call for removal of Confederate statues and symbols.
"Charleston has decided...that they're not going to take them down, but they're going to put them in context," said Perdue. "There are ways to do that with plaques and information and parks and that sort of thing to help us learn from history and move forward and focus on the things we agree on and not get distracted by those things that we may disagree on."
Perdue said people have to realize that slavery is part of American history.
"This is something that we have to deal with. In light of the 21st century, we obviously look at it in its rawest form, and it's a bleak part of our history," Perdue said.
He said he remembered clearly the 1960s when his father - an educator - helped with the integration of the school system in Houston County, Georgia.
"Thanks to the African-American community and the white community, we all saw that this was bigger than any of us individually and that this was the right thing to do," said Perdue, noting that it was a peaceful process.
"You know, that's what happens when we take the issue and deal with it together, find common solutions, find out what we agree on and not let the extremists in our society dominate the dialogue."
Perdue also said he had talked with people who are frustrated about health care and taxation, but he said he was encouraged to see Georgia residents engaged in conversation about the matters that concern them.
Perdue is also scheduled to appear Monday, August 28 on WDUN's Morning Talk.