Johnny Edwards has an article in the Augusta Chronicle about the special election in Georgia:
On Tuesday, Augusta voters will decide which of four candidates will replace Ed Tarver as state senator for District 22, or at least pare the list down to two for a Feb. 2 runoff.
Mr. Tarver was appointed U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia by President Obama, and after his Senate confirmation Nov. 5, Gov. Sonny Perdue called a special election so the district might have a senator when the General Assembly session begins Jan. 11.
Whoever wins will serve out the last year of Mr. Tarver’s term and be up for re-election in a July primary and/or a November general election.
On the ballot are Augusta’s former House District 122 representative, Augusta’s former solicitor general, a doctor of music education and a Libertarian.
Given the distractions of the holiday season and the fact that Augusta voters just went through an election and runoff for three Augusta Commission seats, pundits are predicting low turnout Tuesday. Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey forecasts 10 percent to 20 percent, likely on the lower end.
Still, much is at stake in the race to decide who will be one of the two senators in the seven-member Augusta legislative delegation. It will be a freshman in a minority party regardless, and he or she will be charged with defending Augusta appropriations as budget cuts are fought over in Atlanta. The delegation also will likely handle the “home rule” issue of a Municipal Option Sales Tax that would raise the city’s sales tax to 8 cents per dollar to offset property taxes.
To help voters compare the four candidates, The Augusta Chronicle posed questions about these and other issues in writing, and candidates returned their answers via e-mail within a few days.
The responses from Democrats Hardie Davis, Harold V. Jones II and Sandra Suetta Cannon Scott and Libertarian Taylor Bryant are below. Some were edited for clarity and brevity.
Here are the responses from Libertarian Taylor Bryant. See the original article for the responses from the other candidates.
If elected, what are the key things you wish to accomplish in the upcoming legislative session?
I will be the voice of lowering taxes, cutting spending and getting legislation passed to increase personal freedom and political equality, such as the repeal or adjustment of the Jim Crow-era ballot access laws.
You would be a freshman senator in a minority party. How would you overcome this challenge to accomplish these goals?
I share many of the Republicans’ views on fiscal policy, so I have something in common with the majority, yet I feel Democrats will warm to my social policies. I have to work across the aisle, because I am going to be the only Libertarian in Atlanta.
As the state budget continues to be slashed next year, what would you do to protect the city’s interests?
We must focus on vital services, such as infrastructure and our medical center. We must, as a city, figure out ways to save money and reduce spending. Much of this could be handled on a local level if they will take the responsibility to do so. Raising taxes should not be an option.
Should metro Atlanta be prevented from tapping into water supplies from other areas of the state, and if so, how would you work to protect the Savannah River?
Atlanta not having the public works infrastructure should be no worry to Augustans. We have worked hard and spent a mountain of money to make sure we have enough water. Sorry, Atlanta, hands off!
Would you support legislation allowing Augusta voters to decide whether the city should have a Municipal Option Sales Tax, or MOST, raising the sales tax to 8 cents per dollar? Why or why not?
I would only allow a vote on this if it were held at the same time as the general election. These elections held in the middle of summer are designed for low turnout of special interests and cost Richmond County the equal of two teacher salaries. I don’t feel that is fair.