Candidates seeking legislative seats to represent Jackson County discussed their views during a political forum Thursday in Jefferson.
The Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce and the Jackson County Farm Bureau hosted the two-hour event. The forum featured Republican and Democratic candidates.
Candidates for the board of commissioners, board of education, district attorney and sheriff were also featured.
Three candidates are vying for the 10th Congressional District, currently held by Paul Broun, a physician from Athens.
Broun was in Washington, DC, and was unable to attend the forum. A representative on Broun’s behalf said the Republican Congressman will help to stop the “wild spending spree” in the nation’s capitol.
“That’s why Dr. Broun has taken a bold pledge for American taxpayers not to request or accept earmarks until the earmarking process is reformed,” his representative said.
Broun faces opposition from Barry Fleming, a Republican from Augusta, and Bobby Saxon, a Democrat from Nicholson.
Broun and Fleming will face off in the July 15 Republican primary, with the winner of that race facing Saxon in the Nov. 4 general election.
Broun is a co-sponsor of the proposed Fair Tax, which his representative said would change the federal government and stimulate the economy.
Fleming said he is also a “100 percent supporter of the Fair Tax” and plans to co-sponsor the proposal the first day he is in office. Fleming said Broun took eight months to pledge his support of the Fair Tax.
“I think the Fair Tax would be one of the biggest economic boosts this nation has ever had,” Fleming said, while adding that the move would create businesses and jobs in the country.
Saxon differed on his position with the Fair Tax.
“I like the Fair Tax, but I’m not a supporter of the Fair Tax in its current form,” Saxon said.
In the eight years since its initial proposal, Saxon said the Fair Tax has only earned the support of 72 co-sponsors in Congress. Saxon said it would be fiscally irresponsible and show his lack of judgment to support the 134-page proposal that hasn’t been proven to work. He added that two books have been published to explain the Fair Tax.
Saxon, an Iraq war veteran, said he is a “conservative Democrat” who is a “regular person,” and not a doctor or lawyer.
“I’m a Southern Democrat,” Saxon said. “I drive a truck. I own a gun. I like to hunt. I believe in a strong military.”
Fleming, an attorney, said he wants to bring some common sense legislation from Georgia to Washington, DC. One of those measures includes the voter I.D. law. He also said he wants to promote adoption as an alternative to abortion.
In his six years in the state house of representatives, Fleming said he helped to cut taxes to businesses, strengthen Georgia’s sexual predator law and strengthen traditional families by saying marriage is between a man and a woman.
State Senate District 47
Two candidates are vying for the 47th District in the Georgia Senate.
Incumbent Ralph Hudgens, a Republican from Hull, faces Tim Riley, a Democrat from Athens. Voters will decide the winner in the Nov. 4 general election.
Hudgens spoke at the political forum on several issues. Riley didn’t attend the forum.
“I believe in lower taxes, I believe in less government, I believe in more personal responsibility, I believe in more greater individual freedom and I believe in stronger families,” said Hudgens, who has served 12 years in the Georgia General Assembly.
During the forum, Hudgens was asked his position on keepingtstate and local economic incentives secret from the public while negotiating a deal for a business to expand or locate in Georgia.
“I think in the preliminary negotiating stage, I think these need to be protected,” Hudgens said. “Because if we’ve been in negotiations with businesses that we have put things on the table and if it gets publicized and if it’s an open records and public document, then it gets publicized, then South Carolina hears about it, then they up it up and it ends up costing us in the long run because we get in a competitive bidding with another state.”
Hudgens said keeping the negotiations secret would protect taxpayers. Once the deal is made, Hudgens said everything needs to be made public.