Ev­ery vote counts in the July 24 runoff

The Catoosa County News - - COMMENTARY -

Re­pub­li­cans in Cedar­town, Rock­mart, the remainder of Polk County, and across the state have some crit­i­cal de­ci­sions to make in the July 24 runoff. Vot­ers will de­cide who will chal­lenge an in­creas­ingly charged Ge­or­gia Democrats this fall for the of­fices of gov­er­nor, lieutenant gov­er­nor, and sec­re­tary of state.

The Polk Stan­dard Jour­nal en­dorsed Lt. Gov. Casey Ca­gle in the pri­mary. As we said at the time, Gov. Nathan Deal, elected in the af­ter­math of the Great Re­ces­sion, is leav­ing of­fice with Ge­or­gia in a much bet­ter place than he found it. Ca­gle has sat at his right hand dur­ing this time and de­serves credit for the suc­cess the Peach State is en­joy­ing.

Ca­gle’s record of achieve­ment has moved the nee­dle, part­ner­ing with Deal to see the state grow by nearly 700,000 jobs and 40,000 busi­nesses. Ag­gres­sive yet con­ser­va­tive, he led this year’s fight to cut state in­come tax rates. Rome State Se­na­tor Chuck Huf­stetler com­mented that the “re­duc­tion of the state in­come tax would not have hap­pened with­out Casey Ca­gle’s sup­port”.

Ca­gle’s sig­na­ture ini­tia­tive has been the de­vel­op­ment of a col­lege and ca­reer academy net­work where stu­dents can grad­u­ate high school with an as­so­ciate de­gree or in­dus­try cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and be ready with skills to en­ter the work­force. He’s helped launch 46 such acad­e­mies across the state and pledged to give ev­ery stu­dent ac­cess to one by 2020. The re­sult is stu­dents are em­ploy­able upon grad­u­a­tion and gain ac­cess to well-pay­ing jobs while busi­ness and in­dus­try can hire from a skilled Ge­or­gia work­force. Rome City Com­mis­sioner and re­tired Pres­i­dent of Ga. North­west­ern tech­ni­cal Col­lege Craig McDaniel made the fol­low­ing com­ment about Ca­gle: “Over the past 40 years I’ve seen no elected of­fi­cial who un­der­stands the re­la­tion­ship be­tween ed­u­ca­tion and ca­reers than Casey. He gets it and has com­mit­ted to ex­pand the Col­lege and Ca­reer Academy net­work so that ev­ery high school stu­dent has ac­cess to one”.

We be­lieve Ca­gle is best equipped to chal­lenge the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee, Stacey Abrams, in Novem­ber’s gen­eral elec­tion.

***

How to divine how a can­di­date will gov­ern? Re­view their record in of­fice, if they have one. For the last 16 years, state Sen. David Shafer, R-Du­luth, has led on just about ev­ery is­sue of in­ter­est to con­ser­va­tives, from writ­ing Ge­or­gia’s zero-based bud­get­ing law re­quir­ing ev­ery penny of spend­ing to be jus­ti­fied, to the con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment that capped the in­come tax in Ge­or­gia, to help­ing pass the state in­come tax cut this year.

As pres­i­dent pro tem of the Se­nate, Shafer chaired the com­mit­tee that found the money and led the ef­fort to wire all com­mit­tee rooms in the Capi­tol so that Se­nate com­mit­tee meet­ings would be broad­cast live on the In­ter­net and for­ever archived. That means vot­ers don’t have to drive to At­lanta or take time off work to watch the Se­nate con­duct the peo­ple’s busi­ness. It makes state gov­ern­ment more trans­par­ent to its cit­i­zens.

Shafer’s name has been on ev­ery piece of pro-life and Sec­ond Amend­ment leg­is­la­tion that has passed in the last 16 years. It’s why he’s be­ing backed by so many con­ser­va­tive groups, from Ge­or­gia Right to Life, the NRA, Ge­or­giaCarry. org, the Amer­i­can Con­ser­va­tive Union, not to men­tion Ted Cruz, Mike Huck­abee, Newt Gin­grich and Rick San­to­rum, along with 280 cur­rent and former mem­bers of the Gen­eral As­sem­bly. As Shafer cor­rectly points out, these are folks who have worked with both him and his GOP op­po­nent and know their char­ac­ters, work ethics and lead­er­ship styles.

Now Shafer is seek­ing to be­come the next lieutenant gov­er­nor of Ge­or­gia where he re­ceived nearly 49 per­cent of the vote in May’s three­man Repub­li­can pri­mary. The kind of record Shafer has achieved in his ser­vice to our state makes him the clear choice to be­come Ge­or­gia’s next lieutenant gov­er­nor.

*** The two Re­pub­li­cans vy­ing to be­come Ge­or­gia’s next sec­re­tary of state have ad­mirable records and pro­pos­als for en­hanc­ing that of­fice and pro­tect­ing our vot­ing sys­tem. Both hail from the north Ful­ton area.

Real es­tate at­tor­ney and former Al­pharetta Mayor David Belle Isle is chal­leng­ing Brad Raf­fensperger, owner and CEO of Ten­don Sys­tems, a spe­cialty con­tract­ing and en­gi­neer­ing de­sign firm. Raf­fensperger also owns spe­cialty steel man­u­fac­tur­ing plants in Colum­bus and in Forsyth County. He pre­vi­ously served in the Ge­or­gia House rep­re­sent­ing Johns Creek and prior to that served on the Johns Creek City Coun­cil.

Among Belle Isle’s pri­or­i­ties are to re­quire a photo ID for all ab­sen­tee bal­lots; re­quire a pa­per and elec­tronic record in the vot­ing process; roll out the Proof of Ci­ti­zen­ship Act en­sur­ing only U.S. cit­i­zens vote in U.S. elec­tions; and help U.S. sol­diers and their spouses by honor­ing their pro­fes­sional li­censes earned in other states.

Raf­fensperger sup­ports elim­i­nat­ing the in­come tax and re­plac­ing it with the Fair Tax, pledges to work with law en­force­ment to close down com­pa­nies that are a front for il­le­gal sex or drug traf­fick­ing, wants to strengthen voter ID laws and sup­ports a pa­per ballot ver­i­fi­ca­tion for ballot se­cu­rity, among other cam­paign plat­forms.

The Sec­re­tary of State’s of­fice has many func­tions but none more im­por­tant than en­sur­ing the in­tegrity of Ge­or­gia’s elec­tions. Ge­or­gian’s are for­tu­nate to have two qual­i­fied Repub­li­can can­di­dates to choose from on the July 24th ballot.

*** Run-Off elec­tions tend to have a much lower voter turnout rate, which means if you do turn out, your vote will have much more weight. So be a part of the process in de­ter­min­ing the fu­ture di­rec­tion of our state and county on July 24. Vote and have a say in Ge­or­gia and Polk County’s fu­ture.

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