Democrat U.S. Senate hopeful R. J. Hadley says he is not a career politician, but someone who believes the public needs solid representation.
“I am in this race because I believe it is time the people on the ground get some representation,” Hadley said in a recent phone interview with the Times-Enterprise. “Career politicians have learned to play the ‘political game’ and there is a wall between them and the people who elected them.”
Hadley, slated to speak during Thursday’s 6:15 p.m. citizens meeting at the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium, said his bid for election to Republican incumbent Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat is “not to advance some special interest agend,a but to be out there and doing the best job I can for Georgia.”
“What that means to me is we need officials that recognize not everybody is going to agree with us,” he said. “We have to be able to go into groups where people don’t agree with us and listen. That is how we will be able to move things forward in this state and country.”
The most important issue Hadley feels his state and country currently face is getting people back to work.
Jobs, small businesses and education go together in improving the economy, he said.
“We’ve got to find ways to empower our small businesses because they are the backbone of the economy: seventy to 80 percent of jobs come from small businesses,” Hadley said. “We’ve got to open up credit lifelines for these small businesses.”
He also wants to work with smaller, regional banks on micro- and smaller-scale loans for new and local ventures.
“A lot of new job creation comes from small, local, new ventures, and these tend to be the risky ventures, the ones where it is hard for them to get startup capital,” Hadley said.
On the larger scale, jobs need to be brought back from overseas.
“I think we need to look at our tax policies that encourage for-profit motives to set up shop overseas,” he said. “We need to be rewarding companies that are keeping jobs here at home.”
Hadley says the state has to improve its kindergarten-12th grade achievement level, particularly in math and science, if it wants to attract businesses.
There has been a lot of “back and forth” on whether or not the economy is improving, Hadley said. He believes economic indicators show a small but moving pull in a positive direction.
“I think we are seeing this recovery moving in the right direction, but it is not going as fast as people would like,” he said. “Jobs are not where we want them to be, but I think this is something we can work and move toward.”
Hadley is aware of the FairTax, expected to be a top issue at Thursday’s meeting, but said he is still gathering information on it, especially regarding its impact on the poorest members of society, before forming a final opinion.
He is still working to raise the necessary funds to officially be on the ballot. He is confident he will get it.
“I am going to be on that ballot,” Hadley vowed. “But, I’m not going to make money and fundraising a big issue in my campaign. We are in difficult times and are doing the best we can.”
He believes money is part of the problem with current politics as those who could be strong leaders and represent the people often lose out to those who have more or are able to raise more funds.
Hadley, from Conyers, is a 1991 graduate of Dartmouth College. He is married and has five children.
His political experience includes communications chairman for the Rockdale County Democratic Party, chief of staff for Rockdale County, a volunteer for the Obama for America office in Atlanta, and an Obama delegate at the Democratic National Convention.
An important component of positive change, Hadley said, is attitude, and a positive attitude will go much further than a “doom and gloom” outlook.
“It is important to me that voters understand I am not standing here with a magic ball in my hand that has the answers to all of their problems,” he said. “What I am saying is this is the people’s government and answer and solutions are gonna come from the people. We’ve gotten away from that but we’ve all got to be part of the solution. We’ve got to find ways for people on different sides of aisles to work together.”
WHAT: Citizens Meeting No. 9 featuring GOP gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine, Democrat U.S. Senate candidate R.J. Hadley, GOP attorney general candidate Sam Olens and a FairTax update
WHEN: Thursday, 6:15 p.m.
WHERE: Thomasville Municipal Auditorium, 144 E. Jackson St.