DISTRICT 17

The Covington News - - Front page -

an as­set, but when you poll the gen­eral pub­lic, they view in­cum­bency as a neg­a­tive thing. The is­sues should have been al­ready ad­dressed, the econ­omy, jobs. In­cum­bents like to blow their horns and say they can get on this or that com­mit­tee, but I will serve on any com­mit­tee I’m ap­pointed to.”

Fresh­man state politi­cians are gen­er­ally as­signed to a state com­mit­tee, such as agri­cul­ture and con­sumer af­fairs, ethics, fi­nance, higher ed­u­ca­tion and trans­porta­tion.

Flem­ing said even though he has never held statewide of­fice, his more than 13 years as a county com­mis­sioner make him well qual­i­fied. Flem­ing served as District 2 com­mis­sioner from 1990 to 1996, be­fore end­ing his sec­ond term early to run for chair­man. He was District 3 com­mis­sioner form 2000 to 2008.

“Lo­cal govern­ment is where the rub­ber meets the road. Peo­ple know me here. They know my val­ues; they know my con­ser­va­tive phi­los­o­phy. I don’t wa­ver. When I take a po­si­tion, I’m there. I’ll do my home­work and re­search an is­sue and then take a stand,” he said.

Flem­ing works in the land ac­qui­si­tion depart­ment of the Gwin­nett County Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion, where he fo­cuses on right-ofway is­sues. He pre­vi­ously worked in real es­tate with Colony Realty and in the con­ve­nience store in­dus­try, own­ing his own store, and worked as re­gional di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions for Mum­ford. Be­fore qual­i­fy­ing, Flem­ing was also the chair of the lo­cal Repub­li­can party.

Job cre­ation, the bud- get and trans­porta­tion are Flem­ing’s most im­por­tant plat­form items. He said Ge­or­gia needs to make it­self more at­trac­tive to com­pa­nies to re­verse the state’s higher than av­er­age un­em­ploy­ment num­bers.

As far as the bud­get is concerned, Flem­ing said all frills need to be cut out and the state needs to be run like a busi­ness.

“A lot of peo­ple don’t think you can do that. It’s a strug­gle, it’s hard, but this econ­omy is tough. We can’t raise taxes high enough to spend what some leg­is­la­tors may want to spend, and we have to make sac­ri­fices across the board. We need to cut what­ever we can, while pro­tect­ing vi­tal ar­eas like pub­lic safety,” Flem­ing said.

Fi­nally, Flem­ing be­lieves traf­fic and trans­porta­tion plan­ning needs to be im­proved. He said he’s in­ter­ested to see how the re­gional sales tax talk ends and will con­tinue to re­search ways to fund trans­porta­tion. For more in­for­ma­tion call Flem­ing at (678) 618-1188.

While Flem­ing will be a new­comer to state pol­i­tics, Lunsford is a sea­soned vet­eran. He is a 10-year rep­re­sen­ta­tive from house District 110, which con­tains the south­west por­tion of Newton County, as well as all or parts of Henry, Rock­dale, Spald­ing and Wal­ton coun­ties.

Lunsford said he is run­ning for state se­nate, be­cause he felt like he had achieved what he could in the Ge­or­gia house.

“I felt in the se­nate I could have a lit­tle more in­flu­ence, by be­ing one voice out of 56 in­stead of one voice out of 180. I work re­ally well with the se­nate lead­er­ship and they talked me into run­ning,” he said.

Lunsford ini­tially planned not to run be­cause he would have to start all over as a fresh­man sen­a­tor and lose the clout he had built up, in­clud­ing his po­si­tion as chair­man of sev­eral com­mit­tees. How­ever, he said Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Chip Rogers told him that Lunsford would be able to carry over his se­nior­ity, to a de­gree, and would be a com­mit­tee chair­man from day one in the se­nate.

He said he served as Hawk for for­mer House Speaker Glenn Richardson for five years, which gives him a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence. A Hawk es­sen­tially serves on each and ev­ery one of the 36 com­mit­tees and sub­com­mit­tees in the house.

“The for­tu­nate part was that I ended up with a lot of in­sti­tu­tional knowl­edge about how govern­ment works, but un­for­tu­nately I had no time off and it nearly killed me. No­body can cover 36 com­mit­tees for­ever,” he said.

He most re­cently served on the Ap­pro­pri­a­tions, Health & Hu­man Ser­vices, Rules and Sci­ence & Technology com­mit­tees.

Lunsford said he is proud of his work in the house, in­clud­ing the cur­rent work to bal­ance the bud­get. He said he is par­tic­u­larly proud of pre­vi­ous bills, which in­clude those that reg­u­lated how telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion com­pa­nies charged cer­tain fees and the most com­pre­hen­sive im­mi­gra­tion re­form bill in the state’s his­tory.

Lunsford said he al­ready servers one of the largest house dis­tricts in the state, so he is well po­si­tioned to tran­si­tion to a se­nate seat.

“I just think the can­di­dates that can hit the ground run­ning from Day 1 will be in a bet­ter po­si­tion, ver­sus a fresh­man sen­a­tor, who may have no clout. Se­nior­ity does mat­ter, but at the same time I have great work­ing re­la­tion­ships with sen­a­tors and rep­re­sen­ta­tives. I un­der­stand how the whole sys­tem works and I’ve been do­ing this for 10 years. It’s the same as a per­son who is new to any other pro­fes­sion,” Lunsford said.

In his non-leg­isla­tive job, Lunsford is a Re­al­tor, who man­ages res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial prop­er­ties. He works for Gate­way Realty and for his own com­pany BJL En­ter­prises. He pre­vi­ously owned the Har­vard Chem­i­cal Re­search Cor­po­ra­tion.

He said he has re­ceived full en­dorse­ments from Rogers, the se­nate ma­jor­ity lead­ers, as well as state rep­re­sen­ta­tives Doug Holt, Jeff May and John Yates, who all serve ar­eas in se­nate District 17. For more in­for­ma­tion visit john­lunsford.com.

Three peo­ple have qual­i­fied for Lunsford’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive seat. In­cum­bent Holt is the only rep­re­sen­ta­tive who has qual­i­fied for the District 112 seat.

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