Political Party: Republican
Occupation: Insurance Agent/Small Business Owner
1) What sets you apart as the best candidate for this seat?
I have lived and worked in this district my entire life. Dur-ing my career as a state trooper I worked both Floyd and Chattooga counties. I came to know both communities well. As a small business owner I serve clients in both counties. As a Floyd County commissioner I learned the interactions of local and state government.
Over the past 10 years I have developed relationships with those who are in positions of leadership at the state Legisla-ture. Because of my background, my relationships and my status as a member of the majority party I can provide more effective representation than we currently have.
2) Education in Georgia is in a state of flux. In what direc-tion will you push the transformation?
I grew up in the home of a public school teacher. My wife taught for four years at Armuchee High School and later served on the Floyd County school board for 12 years. As chairman of the board she helped facilitate the transition to the charter school system. I have a history with and a com-mitment to locally controlled public education.
We have many great teachers and administrators who are committed to improving the performance of students. Unfor-tunately that is not the case in every system in Georgia. I be-lieve our State Board of Education and the Georgia Depart-ment of Education understand this problem and will continue to work with those systems to find solutions.
3) The Legislature set up the TSPLOST vote to fix the state’s transportation funding crisis but it failed at the polls. What’s next?
Voters widely rejected the TSPLOST as a means of paying for transportation projects. With a clear message that new taxes are not acceptable, Gov. Deal has made it clear that TSPLOST will not be revisited. I believe three things will take place as a result of this:
1) Project list will be shortened and prioritized,
2) The serious issue of waste at GDOT (which recent audits have uncovered and GDOT officials admit) will be dealt with and
3) Monies will be redirected from other areas of the budget to transportation projects.
4) What are some specific actions the Legislature should take to get the state on a firmer financial footing?
The implementation of zero-based budgeting is an essen-tial practice for any large multi-department organization. The legislature started the process last year and will go through 12 percent of all state agencies each year.
The fact that Georgia has to have a balanced budget is an-other way of improving our financial strength. Yearly budget reductions of 2-3 percent, while painful, will be helpful until we see a turnaround in our economy.
Growing Georgia’s economy and living within our means is the only way to achieve true financial stability. Limiting our bonding is a helpful practice. Georgia is one of only eight states with a AAA bond rating.
5) Medicaid expansion and insurance exchanges are two ways the Healthcare Reform Act seeks to address the problems of the uninsured and the hospitals that provide them free care. Do you support those elements or, if not, any other action by the state?
I believe Gov. Deal was correct in rejecting the expansion of Medicaid. The federal government’s promise to pay 100 percent for the first three years and 90 percent thereafter is simply not credible, given the state of our nation’s financial crisis. If we open that door it will become an expanding and ongoing cost we have no control over.
The insurance exchange is another requirement of the fed-eral healthcare law that Georgia is holding off on. It is hoped that the healthcare law will be repealed. If it is not, then the insurance exchange will be another federal mandate that diminishes Georgia’s ability to manage its own healthcare.