Two Republican candidates, who are less than a week away from a runoff election for the District 11 state Senate, addressed more than 100 citizens Thursday night.
Mike Keown, of Thomas County, and Dean Burke, a Bainbridge resident, debated at a Times-Enterprise-sponsored event at the Thomas County Board of Education auditorium.
Burke opened the session by saying the event was a testament to a free society gathering to discuss issues associated with a serious job, the Senate post.
“I feel like I’m running for the state Senate job for the right reason,” Burke said.
The Bainbridge physician said he would be a “citizen legislator,” who would return to his regular job.
State government, Burke said, is too big and costly and should be more accountable to citizens.
Pointing out that he operates a business, Burke said that to increase the number of jobs, something must be done about regulations and red tape at the state level.
Tongue-in-cheek and in response to some of Burke’s campaign mailings describing Keown’s political past, Keown said he was addicted to politics and loved being special.
He said he made $600 a year as mayor of Coolidge, $2,000 a year as a member of the Thomas County Board of Education and $16,500 as a state representative.
“I got rich,” he said. Keown explained that he is driving a 2000 Ford pickup with 185,000 miles. He added that he hopes the IRS does not find out about his wealth.
See Friday's edition for more details.