Candidates for state House District 119 were asked: What do you see as the top three challenges you’ll face if elected and how will you address these issues for Barrow/Jackson County citizens?
Four out of the seven candidates responded to the question. The following are their answers, unedited, in order of receipt:
1. Controlled Growth - We all know that within the last few years, developers are trying to turn Barrow and Jackson Counties into Gwinnett! They are proposing apartment complexes, high density housing developments and agricultural and “smart” economic development have been cast aside. The counties infrastructure and schools are not adequate to handle this hyper growth. The county and state have not worked together to properly plan for growth of this magnitude and at this speed. As County Citizens, we will all incur the expense of this poor judgement and lack of a plan.
2. We need to find a way to offer a School Property Tax Break to Senior Citizens in Barrow and Jackson Counties - Currently the counties are focused on developing communities that are not allowing for this, The focus on high density, affordable housing, is severely adding to the growth in schools and the need to hold steady on the school millage rate. Over 55 communities offer seniors a great area to live, and it is a fact that Senior Citizens invest in the community with their spendable dollars. In my recent role as Chairman of the Barrow County School Board, I worked with the Superintendent on commissioning a study with The Carl Vinson Institute to determine how best to go about this tax break.
3. School Safety needs to be addressed at the state level - The current method to fund Student Resource Officers at the local level is archaic. In Barrow County the state currently funds two SRO's. Obviously not enough for 19 schools. We are fortunate to have an excellent relationship with the Sheriff Department and he assists with the cost tremendously. But at a State Level, we must address safety from all angles. Protecting our children needs to be a priority in the society we live in and I am not confident we have it covered as needed.
1. Inflation and a Recession in the future will lead to lay-offs and reduced working hours for many citizens of Barrow and Jackson counties along with many Georgians. I would like to introduce a lower individual income tax rate so that more money can stay in the pockets of Georgians. By working with Governor Kemp and other State Reps we can achieve this.
2. To prevent crime from Gwinnett,Athens and Atlanta from entering into Barrow and Jackson counties. We must ensure that our local police are supported and well paid in order to protect the citizens of Barrow/Jackson counties. We must also have a strong District Attorney to let the criminals know that if you commit a crime, you will be punished.
3. To keep woke ideology from entering our school systems. Parents know best on how their child should be raised, not the school system. This is an issue not just for a state representative but for parents, we must engage and stay vigilant together in order to protect our little ones.
I am excited to be running for the State House and for the opportunity to work hard to earn the trust and support of the people of District 119. I am a man of faith, a rock-solid conservative, and a small businessman, and I believe I have the right values and skills to make a difference for our families. I am proud to call this community home, and I am running to protect our conservative values and way of life that make this a great place to live. With your vote, I will be your voice, and I will use my work ethic, common-sense business experience, and commitment to my faith and conservative values to fight for you and help build a strong future for our families. I appreciate the questions from the Barrow News-Journal and the opportunity to respond.
The largest challenge will be the fact that our new Representative will be entering the Legislative Session nearly a month into the process. The budget is already working its way through the process and legislation is being filed and debated as these questions are answered. It is important that we elect someone who is prepared to hit the ground running and immediately get to work. As a business owner, I handle big projects with deadlines. I know how to get a job done and believe I have the right experience and skillset to jump in and get to work for the people of this district immediately.
While there are many challenges and issues that need to be addressed this year, our economy, public safety, and education top the list.
I want to join Governor Kemp and fellow conservatives to continue combating Biden’s historic inflation by returning more money directly back to taxpayers. I will support policies that continue to grow our economy around the state and especially here locally – by promoting efforts that spur more small business growth to create more local jobs and opportunities. By maintaining Georgia’s pro-business, pro-freedom policies, we can continue to grow jobs, lower taxes, and better weather any economic storm that Biden’s big-government agenda brings our way.
Keeping our community safe will always remain a top priority. I will always back the blue and stand with law enforcement in their efforts to keep us all safe. Luckily, we live in a district that appreciates our police and where our public safety officials do their job well. But look at the increased crime going on in counties nearby, violent anti-police protests that have started again in Atlanta, and the influx of deadly drugs coming here because of our borders that are wide-open. We can’t let up. I will support proposals to increase law enforcement pay and provide loan repayments for state and local law enforcement in exchange for 5 years of service. Additionally, we must look for ways to help bolster law enforcement retirement, continue to ramp up efforts to crack down on gangs, and empower law enforcement to deport criminal illegal aliens.
As the largest portion of our state’s budget and with it being vital to the future, education will always be a top priority. I look forward to backing budget proposals that will again increase teacher pay, provide resources to assist our paraprofessionals to become teachers, and to fully fund the HOPE Scholarship. There is also a lot of discussion on possible efforts to bolster job-training and other reforms that continue growing a skilled workforce. I will work hard to support efforts that ensure our students receive the very best education and are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.
While our economy, education, and public safety will dominate the debate at the State Capitol, we also must remain vigilant to protect our God-given Constitutional rights. I will always stand up for freedom, safeguard our gun rights, and protect life, and I will gladly fight the woke left to do so.
1. Criminal Justice System: Working closely with our law enforcement community and criminal justice system, I realize that victims' rights are often overlooked - especially when it comes to cases of domestic violence. As a State Representative for the 119th District, my focus will be on ensuring that crime victims rights are always at the forefront, especially the victims of domestic violence, by introducing legislation to: increase the fine for those violating a protective order from $1000 to $25,000 and a minimum of 1 year in prison; strengthening the Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program; increase funding for law enforcement agencies to create a position of Crime Victim Liaisons whose duties will be to help victims understand their rights.
2. Education: The focus of our public schools should be to prepare our youngsters to become successful adults. Unfortunately, many children are graduating high school without the basic skills needed to obtain and hold a job. If elected I will introduce legislation that will: require an audit of the current Common Core Curriculum to assess whether the curriculum is achieving promised results; expand the recently adopted Financial Literacy Instruction and The Georgia Civics Renewal Act to have these lessons taught in 4 -10th grades in addition to the 11 and 12th grades contained in the act.
3. Economy: In these difficult economic times, we can and should do more with what we already have. I will: oppose any legislation that increases taxes, tolls, and fees and propose legislation to exempt senior citizens, 65 years and older, from paying school taxes.