Candidates in the July 20 election met with voters at a “meet and greet” Thursday night at the county recreation complex sponsored by the Banks County Chamber of Commerce. The candidates gave brief remarks to the crowd and then went to individual booths set up in the recreation center to meet one-on-one with the voters.

Opening remarks from the candidates included the following:


“I think we have a very good school system. I want to take us from that very good school system to a great school system. I want to be the voice on the board of education to make sure the public knows what is going on at the board meetings. “


“I’m running for the office because I think the future of this county lies in the kids at these schools. The taxpayers of this county, they need to get their money’s worth. We’ve got a great group of kids down here. We’ve got a great group of teachers down here. I want to see these kids in this county further their education in the years to come. “


“I’m a lifelong resident of Banks County. I graduated from the Banks County School System myself. I’m very proud of the county, and I’m very proud of the school system. I have three kids who are in the school system and I want what is best for them and what is best for your kids also. I want to be here to help Banks County be the leader in education in the state of Georgia. I think we can do that. “


“I’m very interested in what is happening in Banks County. I’m concerned about some things. I’ve talked to a lot of people on the campaign trail. I’m dedicated to Banks County. I want to serve Banks County and I look forward to serving in Banks County. If anyone has any questions, I would be glad to address any concerns anyone has.”


“I’m going to give you three examples of why you need a plan. I’m not talking about the comprehensive plan. As a teacher for 25 years, every day I went to work, I had to have a lesson plan so that the board of education, the principal and myself knew where I was going with the kids. That’s how important it is as a teacher. As a coach for 25 years, I had to have a game plan for football, for basketball, for baseball. Otherwise, the coaches that didn’t have a good game plan, went away with a loss most of the times. As a wing chief…in the Marines…in the wars in Vietnam and Desert Storm, I was totally responsible for the plan to get wounded people from the battlefield to the correct hospital. That’s how important a plan is…It’s extremely important that this county develop a working plan for all of the problems that it faces. If the right guys can get in there and establish this plan, I’m a firm believer that Banks County can move forward and it can attract industry and it can do all of the things that everyone wants it to do. Without a plan, you can’t do this.”


“There are three things I want to talk about. We need management, organization and accountability. If we can work all this stuff in, we can work it out and bring this county forward. I want to see it done.”


“I have been speaking about what I would like to see the county do and how I would like to see the county grow and ways for us to bring revenue into the county. We’ve talked about Martin Bridge Road for many years. One of the ideas I would have for that area is the state is aware of large corporations worldwide that is looking at Georgia for a home to locate a business. When I’m elected, I want to be at the state on a regular basis and let them know we are hungry for business. If we know someone is looking at Georgia, all we ask is for the opportunity to sit down and talk with them. We want to bring them up here and show them what kind of hospitality we have and what we have to offer and the location that Banks County enjoys. We are right between Greenville, S.C, and Atlanta, Ga., two very large metropolitan areas on a major corridor, which is I-85. If we can do that, together with the state, I believe we can attract some businesses in here. Once we show them who we are and where we are located, I believe they will be interested in Banks County. That, coupled with we also want to bring entertainment into the county, is another area Banks County can grow in and prosper from. People would be able to come down here and enjoy our venues and stay in our hotels and eat in our restaurants. Banks County is a great place. We just have to be smart and figure out how to get people in here.”


“I served in the county commission in Habersham County for four years. I have served you in the state senate for the last two years and I’m now offering to continue to serve. To tell you a little about me, my wife, Amy, and I have been married for 14 years. I served in the United States Air Force for 12 years. Amy and I have four children. We live in Habersham County. She and I both grew up in this area. Amy was actually born in Banks County. Her parents are Banks County residents. This is home for us. We are honored to serve all of you. I’m not going to spend a lot of time telling you what I am going to do in the senate. I’ll tell you what I’ve already done and the credentials I have to continue to work for you. You told me when I got elected two years ago that you wanted jobs and that you wanted to generate economy in Banks County and in Northeast Georgia. We worked to that end. I served on the economic development committee in the senate. We have approached economic development on a regional basis in Northeast Georgia. We’ve taken Northeast Georgia to Atlanta and we’ve made an effort for industry to come to Northeast Georgia. That’s happening all over the area. We are going to continue that fight. You’ve told me that you want to defend our Second Amendment rights. I’ve done that. I’m endorsed with an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association because of the positions I’ve taken on Second Amendment issues in the Georgia senate. You’ve told me that you want to protect the unborn. I’m endorsed by Georgia Right to Life. I’m honored to have spoken on a number of occasions on bills that protect life in the state of Georgia. There are a number of other issues. The job bill is an issue that we continue to push…to bring industries to Georgia. Those are the kinds of things we continue to work on. We’ve balanced the budget in the last two years. That’s a critical part of state government. We’ve cut $3.7 million out of the state budget over the last two years. Out of crisis, comes innovation. That’s what we have done. That is what has happened in state government, I’ll ask for your vote for the same three reasons that I did when I first ran for office — faith, vision and values. My faith in God. My vision for the future of Northeast Georgia and also my core values, integrity first and service before myself and striving for excellence in every single thing we do. “


“I’m from Habersham County. My wife, Laura, and I have a farm. We have five children. We’ve long been involved in the community. I’m a member of the Habersham Development Authority and the Joint Development Authority with Banks, Habersham and Rabun counties. I’m a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Clarkesville, where I’m an elder. I’m pro life. I’m pro Second Amendment. I’m a member of the National Rifle Association. I’m a big believer in family values. I’m very much a fiscal conservative. We need to look at everything that comes in and balance the budget the right way. The best thing I think I bring to the table is that I am an independent businessman. I own a small business and I have to balance the budget every day. We need to bring those ideas to Atlanta. We need the voice of small businessmen. As we go across the district and talk to people, we’re hearing about jobs. We’re hearing about education. We’re hearing about public trust in government. These are three things I’m really going to work hard on and concentrate on. “

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