Thanksgiving weekend was not a very happy one for the family of Georgia state Sen. Lee Anderson.
His daughter, Katie Anderson, was arrested twice over the past week, according to WJBF News Channel 6.
Katie Anderson was reportedly arrested on a shoplifting charge on Wednesday, Nov. 21, the day before Thanksgiving.
She was accused of stealing some shoes from Uptown Cheapskate.
Four days later, on Sunday, Nov. 25, she was arrested and charged with battery, after fighting with an acquaintance.
As a result, Katie Anderson was taken to the Columbia County jail.
Nothing like bringing the entire family down right before the holidays, but unfortunately, this isn’t the Anderson family’s first brush with the law.
In October 2016, Lee Anderson’s son also faced some legal troubles.
Ben Anderson, who was 32 years old at the time, was arrested for DUI in Columbia County just days before his father’s 2016 election.
At the time, Lee Anderson was the Republican candidate for Georgia state Senate’s District 24 seat and was on track to becoming the next state senator for a seat that was then held by retiring state Sen. Bill Jackson.
Now, the troubles of Ben Anderson didn’t affect Lee Anderson’s election at all.
He was running in an overwhelmingly Republican district in which he has developed deep connections with the citizens his entire life.
He won without any problems whatsoever.
But no politician ever wants to be forced to answer questions from the media less than three weeks before an election about their grown son’s inexcusable and criminal behavior.
However, the truth is, both Andersons are very lucky that the situation wasn’t much worse.
Ben Anderson could have easily killed someone while driving under the influence.
Then, it wouldn’t have been just a political embarrassment for his father. It would have been life changing for Ben Anderson, Lee Anderson and the innocent victim or victims that could have been struck and killed.
So, how did Lee Anderson respond to his son’s actions?
“There’s no excuse for my son’s dangerous and reckless behavior,” Lee Anderson said in 2016. “We raised Ben better than that. He deserves the harsh punishment coming his way.”
And now, Lee Anderson must face future questions about the alleged illegal actions of his daughter.
That’s difficult for anyone, whether you’re a politician or just an average Joe.
But it’s also particularly difficult for Lee Anderson because he has dedicated part of his political career to helping those who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
“The governor appointed me to the Board of Corrections and, believe me, I have learned a lot,” Lee Anderson told the Metro Spirit back in 2016, just a few months before his son’s DUI arrest. “It is very expensive to have inmates in prison. It is big money, and I have learned that there are other options out there that possibly would save tax dollars.”
For those with minor offenses, Lee Anderson told the Metro Spirit that prison is not always the answer.
“I’m not talking about a cold killer. I’m talking about someone who has had some DUIs or drug charges,” Lee Anderson said in 2016. “Somebody who has just messed up and just needs to get their life turned around. There are places where they can go to get help, and these people will keep them accountable and they will report to probation officers.”
One such group that Anderson admired is called Mighty Man Ministries in Davisboro, Ga.
“It is not about the dollar bill for them, and that’s what I love about them. They don’t ask but $300 a month for one man,” Lee Anderson said. “It costs taxpayers, for that type of inmate, $18 to $19 a day to house them in prison. Now, I’m not saying every family can afford this, but if they have the financial ability and they really want to help their loved ones and get their lives turned around, I would love to see the judges have more capability to sending them to a place like Mighty Man Ministries and the sentence would be that they have to complete the entire 10- to 14-month program.”
Lee Anderson really believes in such programs.
He doesn’t want to see young people behind bars.
And, surely, the last people he ever wanted to see in jail are his own grown children.
Let’s hope both Anderson children decide to give their parents the greatest gift of all by taking care of themselves, keeping out of trouble and staying out of jail.