Too often, America’s elected officials are deficient in the areas of integrity and economics. This is especially true at the highest levels in Georgia.
Some of the candidates currently seeking office remind us of a wife who says the following to her husband after returning home from an extravagant shopping spree:
“Honey, you’ll never guess how much I saved on this $500 dress. I got $25 off. Can you believe that?”
The husband, sharing the feeling of weary voters, replies sarcastically, “Wow. That’s pretty good, but just think how much you would have saved if you hadn’t bought it.”
Nearly all of Georgia’s U.S. Senate candidates claim to be fiscal hawks. Apparently, however, some of them have attacked the nation’s relentless string of budget deficits with the ferocity of a sparrow or a dove. One of them has seen the national debt grow from $4 trillion to more than $17 trillion during his lengthy stint in the U.S. House of Representatives.
It is way past time for voters to overturn the Washington, D.C., applecart. All federal incumbents, plus career politicians seeking promotion to a bigger trough, need to be given their pink slips.
With that in mind, here is our list of endorsements for Tuesday’s Republican and Democratic primary elections, plus our views on non-binding poll questions and the Meigs Sunday alcohol sales referendum. Only races that feature at least two candidates are listed.
Karen Handel is our U.S. Senate choice for multiple reasons.
First, the former Fulton County Commissioner chairman (2003-06) and Georgia secretary of state (2007-10) has a record of streamlining government. She is also a proponent of greater transparency, which Washington desperately needs.
Lastly, we believe a Handel candidacy will thwart Democrat claims that Republicans are fighting a “war on women.”
The ethical cloud that followed Nathan Deal into the Governor’s Mansion in 2011 hasn’t dissipated. Just last month, the former director of the state’s ethics commission prevailed in a lawsuit in which she claimed that she was fired for investigating the governor, winning $700,00 in the process.
Deal has ducked numerous debates with challengers John Barge and David Pennington, so we can’t help but wonder what he is hiding.
In addition, Deal’s refusal to expand Medicaid eligibility in Georgia under a provision in the Affordable Care Act is hurting the state’s hospitals.
There are no attractive options here, but we’re going with Pennington, Dalton’s mayor. An economics major at the University of Georgia, he has a record of reducing taxes and spending.
State School Superintendent
With more than 30 years in public education, having worked in the Oglethorpe County, Columbia County and Rome City School Systems, and most recently as chief of staff and chief academic officer at the Georgia Department of Education, Mike Buck is ready to be Georgia’s next state school superintendent.
Buck has been in senior leadership at the Georgia Department of Education and has become the “go to” guy for local school superintendents who need help navigating the bureaucracy in Atlanta. He supports local control of schools and flexibility in funding. Georgia teachers have been through a roller coaster of changes in recent years, and they need stability at the helm.
Buck will bring that stability with proven competence in the educational field, the confidence of superintendents state-wide, and the experience needed to continue Georgia’s progress in leading the nation in educational improvement.
Public Service Commissioner
We’re sticking with Lauren W. “Bubba” McDonald because utility prices have remained relatively stable during his most recent term.
U.S. House 2nd District
In another chance to blunt charges of being anti-women, Republicans should vote for Vivian Childs, a conservative black female who might be able to topple longtime incumbent Sanford Bishop this fall if the GOP notches another wave of support like it received in 2010.
State Senator 8th District
Georgia House District 174 Rep. Ellis Black has earned the chance to succeed the retiring Tim Golden. He has proven to be an effective public servant and leader on agricultural issues.
State Representative District 173
Incumbent Darlene Taylor is the choice here. In addition to being an expert on health insurance, she is a staunch advocate for farmers, Second Amendment rights and our natural resources.
Michelle Nunn, daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, seems to believe this seat is her birthright. She has shunned media inquiries and debates with the other candidates in this race.
We like Todd Robinson, a Thomasville product with a background in the military and education. He has at least as much worthwhile experience as she does. Plus, he answers questions.
Secretary of State
Neither Gerald Beckum nor Doreen Carter is prepared for this office.
Commissioner of Insurance
Elizabeth N. “Liz” Johnson has been in the insurance business since 1973.
State School Superintendent
Having served on the school board for the City Schools of Decatur during a very difficult time, Valerie Wilson helped to implement changes to reverse negative enrollment trends and turn around a failing financial situation within the district. She led a painful reorganization that put the school system on sound financial footing. She has served as local board chair and has served as president of the Georgia School Boards Association. She also helped to create the “Vision for Public Education in Georgia” which has now been adopted by over 80 Georgia School Systems. Wilson has the passion to bring about change and an understanding of the tough financial decisions that local boards of education have to make.
1. Should Georgia raise the state minimum wage above the current $5.15 an hour?
No. We believe raising the minimum wage will cause greater unemployment and further stagnate the economy.
2. Should Georgians’ federal tax dollars be returned to Georgia to fund Medicaid expansion and relieve the indigent care burden on our hospitals?
Yes. If Georgia doesn’t obtain its share of Medicaid money, another state will get it and spend it.
3. Should the Constitution of Georgia be amended to create an independent ethics commission not tied to the Governor’s Office, legislature or other elected office to more effectively police potential ethics violations by elected officials?
No. This will only create another costly level of bureaucracy.
4. Should the Constitution of Georgia be amended to make the education budget Georgia’s first funding priority?
No. Education should usually rank first, but rare circumstances may warrant another priority.
Judge of State Court of Grady County
Already a judge in Whigham and Cairo for 13 years, Josh Bell has the best resume in this race.
Southern Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge
Brian McDaniel is the best qualified candidate to move to the Superior Court bench. He is an assistant district attorney in the Moultrie district attorney office and has ample courtroom experience.
Meigs Sunday Alcohol Sales
There is no doubt that Meigs could use the revenue that an additional day of alcohol sales would provide. Is it worth the trouble extra alcohol-related problems will cause, however? We think not.