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.