Thurmond: Country will overcome challenges

COVINGTON -- Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond wasn't able to bring encouraging news about Georgia's jobless rate in an address to members of the Rotary Club of Covington on Tuesday, but he did share some inspirational words for the future.

Thurmond, who is serving his third term as labor commissioner, encouraged his audience to remember that times have been worse, and the United States has overcome past hardships. He said the nation's jobless rate now stands at 10.2 percent, a 26-year high, and the state's unemployment rate is the same.

"We often forget that America has faced much greater threats than we face today," Thurmond said.

The commissioner added that he is confident that the country will overcome its current challenges through optimism and unity. Thurmond pointed out that America's enemies make no distinction between Americans of different races, ideologies, political beliefs or economic standing.

"Maybe, just maybe, we need to begin to look at ourselves the way our enemies look at us," he said.

Thurmond said he believes that the economic downturn has had at least one positive impact on Georgia.

"I'm convinced, as I travel around Georgia, that things are changing, and as tough as this recession is, I see it bringing us back to the basics."

Thurmond said his vision for the state is a more unified Georgia, with no regional separations, no racial barriers and no economic or educational boundaries.

"My vision is that we will continue to pray and work together to build one Georgia -- one great Georgia for one great people," he said.