DIST. 95

The Covington News - - Local news riley henry jackson sr. -

ar­eas he re­sponded “I’d have to be there [in the Gen­eral As­sem­bly] in or­der to see the things that are not work­ing.”

One thing that Cox, who lives in McDonough, def­i­nitely be­lieves is not work­ing is No Child Left Be­hind.

“I would like to change those kinds of things in terms of the school sys­tems be­cause No Child Left Be­hind is too puni­tive,” Cox said. “You’re pe­nal­iz­ing stu­dents and teach­ers at the same time, and we’re beginning to lose teach­ers.”

Dou­glas ac­knowl­edged the prob­lems the Gen­eral As­sem­bly has had in the past two years in not pass­ing any ma­jor leg­is­la­tion and blamed it on a ri­valry be­tween the House and the Se­nate, which are both Repub­li­can-con­trolled.

“I don’t think the prob­lem has been party in­fight­ing as much as it has been in­fight­ing be­tween the House and the Se­nate,” Dou­glas said, adding, “I found that in all of my five county del­e­ga­tions at the in­di­vid­ual level we worked to­gether very well. I would like to see the House and the Se­nate as a whole get along bet­ter. We do have sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic prob­lems that we have to over­come.”

One pro­posal Dou­glas said he would sup­port is a res­o­lu­tion that nar­rowly failed last year, the T-LOST, which would al­low for the levy­ing of a 1 cent sales tax lo­cally to raise funds for trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture.

“The for­mula in the orig­i­nal bill that the Se­nate passed — 80 per­cent of that money would have stayed in New­ton County, 10 per­cent would have come back in state re­lated projects and 10 per­cent would have gone to the state,” Dou­glas said of the mea­sure for which he voted. “We just lost a num­ber of trans­porta­tion projects [from the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion]. We have to fix that.”

Dou­glas said there would be cuts “across the board” next year when the state tries to bal­ance its bud­get, which has a short­fall for fis­cal year 2009 of be­tween $1.5 bil­lion and $1.75 bil­lion.

“We have to live within our means. I think every­one’s go­ing to have to share in the belt-tight­en­ing,” he said.

Both candidates said they would vote to keep the statewide Home­owner Tax Re­lief Grant, which Gov. Sonny Per­due has pro­posed elim­i­nat­ing in or­der to bal­ance the state’s bud­get. New­ton County was ex­pect­ing to see $1.8 mil­lion from the grant next year.

“Why would we want to elim­i­nate some­thing when we know we have a need for fund­ing? What we need to do is try to de­velop fund­ing,” Cox said.

Cox, who holds a doc­tor­ate in ed­u­ca­tion, has lived in District 17, which in­cludes all of New­ton County and por­tions of Henry, Rock­dale, Spald­ing and Wal­ton Coun­ties, since he was a child. He has a B.S. in busi­ness and mas­ter’s in per­son­nel from Tuskegee Uni­ver­sity and earned a doc­tor­ate from Clark Uni­ver­sity.

He spent 10 years as a secondary ed­u­ca­tion teacher in Coweta County. He has taught cour­ses on ed­u­ca­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion at Ar­gosy Uni­ver­sity and is cur­rently em­ployed by Troy Uni­ver­sity where he teaches foun­da­tion-level cour­ses. Cox and his wife, DeBarra, have three daugh­ters.

“I’ll make my­self vis­i­ble [to my con­stituents] not only now while cam­paign­ing,” Cox promised. “I want to make sure that their voices are heard.”

Prior to serv­ing in the Gen­eral As­sem­bly, Dou­glas served on the New­ton County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion, rep­re­sent­ing District 3. A re­tired U.S. Army ma­jor, he is cur­rently the field rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Peace Of­fi­cers As­so­ci­a­tion of Ge­or­gia. He is a grad­u­ate of Mercer Uni­ver­sity where he earned a M.A. in Con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can So­ci­ety.

Dou­glas has been named a Leg­is­la­tor of the Year by the Ge­or­gia Cham­ber of Com­merce, the Ge­or­gia As­so­ci­a­tion of Emer­gency Ser­vices and The Na­tional Guard As­so­ci­a­tion of the United States. He and his wife, Su­san, have one daugh­ter and have lived in the district since 1996.

“We’re on a good track here and we need to con­tinue on,” Dou­glas said. “I ap­pre­ci­ate the chance to rep­re­sent the 17th District and it’s been a great honor to do that. I hope the vot­ers will re­new my con­tract.”

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