Every second November, U.S. citizens go to the polls. Each election cycle presents an opportunity to change the political landscape, but voters have to swim through some murky waters to separate fact from fiction to know who can best represent the change they would like to see.
The choice determines the course of initiatives that will affect how the average person lives, works and plays; the state of schools, the allocation of resources, even the availability of drinking water.
For Georgians, the governor’s office is up for grabs. Though three official and two write-in candidates make up the ballot, the race is really between former congressman Nathan Deal (R) and former governor Roy Barnes(D). As of Nov. 1, Deal leads the polls.
According to his website, Deal promises to heighten the quality of life in Georgia by resolving the issues with a five-pronged plan aimed at improving education, revitalizing the economy, re-energizing the work place, creating sources of renewable industry growth and revolutionizing the way people and products are transported.
A cloud hovers over his past political record, stirred up by ethics probes into his voting decisions on matters in which he had an interest and his being listed as one of the most corrupt politicians by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
Deal has attracted the ire of feminists due to his motion to alter the Rape Protection Shield in 1991 that would force women who had been raped to defend their dress and actions. He also voted against equal pay for women in the work place.
Roy Barnes was governor of Georgia from 1999 to 2003 and now works as an attorney. During his tenure as governor, Georgia was the fourth fastest growing state in the union with 235,000 jobs created, even after the 9/11 attacks caused the economy to stumble.
If Barnes retakes the mansion, he promises to create higher paying jobs that provide a “livable wage, not minimum wage,” improve classrooms through classroom support, build transportation infrastructure, resolve the water crisis and restore ethical government. Barnes states that American companies who ship jobs overseas should be disqualified from tax credits.
He would implement tax incentives for state and local companies to employ Georgia workers as well as suspend the capital gains tax for two years if a company meets certain qualifications.
Barnes raised eyebrows surrounding when he accepted over-the-limit campaign contributions on 12 occasions.
John H. Monds is running as the Libertarian candidate. A home-schooling father of four with no previous national political experience, Monds has a reputation as a leader in his Grady County and as a volunteer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
As a third party leader, he is somewhat of an outsider, but voter dissatisfaction with the Republican and Democratic parties may turn in his favor. Mond’s plans to confront four issues—education, transportation, economy and job security—on multiple fronts as well as reduce government involvement. He favors the “obliteration” of tax breaks for special interest groups and the gradual dismantling of income tax in favor of a consumption tax.
Mond is also looking for ways to reduce state spending. As an example, he cites the state corrections system, which spent $242 million in food and medical care for its inmates in 2008, 17 percent of whom are non-violent drug offenders. Monds believes by shifting the emphasis from incarceration to education and rehabilitation for these individuals will cut costs and “be more effective and cost efficient in the long run.
Isakson, the Republican incumbent running for re-election, has focused on defense, education and immigration reform. Isakson has also drawn on his decade of experience in real estate to attempt to offer solutions to reduce the impact of the mortgage and financial crisis on homeowners.
He serves on six committees that addres the issues of education, healthcare, transportation, foreign policy, veterans’ affairs, jobs and small businesses. Isakson has a record of opposing abortion while supporting family planning, investing in bioenergy and increasing farm subsidies.
Thurmond, the Democratic candidate, serves as the current Labor Commissioner and was a representative in the Georgia General Assembly from 1986-1998. He believes that as we recover from economic downturn, “bold action” must be taken to create new jobs, spur economic growth, implement a fair tax system, and invest in infrastructure and education. Thurmond says he will make eliminating the fiscal deficit his top priority in order to create a sound foundation on which a stable America can be built.
The Libertarian Donovan believes that America and Georgia are at a pivotal transitional point, one that we have been brought to through uncontrolled government spending and involvement. He campaigned on a platform to reduce the size of government and relieve the burden on the taxpayers to support a large political body. He says he would implement substantial changes in the tax system to create a direct link between federal taxes and federal dollars spent, though Donovan does not pose any definite plans on how to do so.
As the grandson and husband of immigrants, he is for keeping America secure in a manner that would allow “honest people to reasonably enter our country. ” A cancer survivor, Donovan also is intimately acquainted with the health care system. He believes that the healthcare system in place is “great” and the rising costs in health care and insurance are caused by “the misguided idea that health care is a right.”
Eight other offices will be decided on November 2:
L.S. Casey Cagle (R)
Carol Porter (D)
Dan Barber (L)
Secretary of State
Brian Kemp (R)
Georganna Sinkfield (D)
David Chastain (L)
Sam Olens (R)
Ken Hodges (D)
Don Smart (L)
State School Superintendent
John D Barge (R)
Joe Martin (D)
Kira Griffiths Willis (L)
Commissioner of Agriculture
Gary Black (R)
J.B. Powell (D)
Kevin Cherry (L)
Commissioner of Labor
Mark Butler (R)
Darryl Hicks (D)
Will Costa (L)
Commissioner of Insurance
Ralph T Hudgens (R)
Mary Squires (D)
Shane Bruce (L)
Public Service Commissioner District 2
Tim Echols (R)
Keith Moffet (D)
James Sendelbach (L)