In addition to the high-profile Governor’s Race being waged, every other statewide state office is also up on Tuesday’s ballot. Let me discuss here the four most hotly contested races according to political pundits – the races for Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Public Service Commissioner (District 3).
Caveat: As I stated yesterday it bears repeating that while I endorse certain candidates here, I respect and like the people they are running against. They are not the “enemy” but merely political opponents on policy issues that I believe are critical for our state and my community to move forward. With that opening, let me lay out my case for the candidates I support.
Geoff Duncan for Lt. Governor
I served with Geoff Duncan in the legislature and immediately came to respect him for being a conservative reformer who could think outside the box in search of ways to tackle chronic problems facing our state. Let me discuss one that is on everyone’s mind this election – health care.
For every complicated problem, there is usually a short, concise, easy to understand – and wrong answer. As I discussed yesterday, simply expanding the rolls of Medicaid as a solution to the need to provide greater healthcare coverage is one of them. The fact is that fewer and fewer doctors – especially in the specialty areas – are willing to take Medicaid patients because of the low pay and high bureaucratic red tape involved.
Mr. Duncan in the General Assembly pushed through and passed legislation setting up tax credits for people who donate to non-profit hospitals in rural Georgia. This has led over the last few years to an infusion of millions of dollars into the rural health care system. In addition, he has proposed expanding telehealth programs which reduce infrastructure costs of health care and make it easier to connect directly to patients; expanding the network of low-cost health clinics; and enlarging high risk insurance pools.
In addition, he advocates following the successful models in states like Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Indiana to obtain Medicaid waivers from the federal government to give states greater flexibility in providing health care under the program.
Chris Carr for Attorney General
Chris Carr was appointed Georgia’s Attorney General after a successful career in private practice and public service working for Alston and Bird, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Senator Johnny Isakson, and Governor Nathan Deal. Since coming into office he has continued his predecessor’s attempts to combat human trafficking and elder abuse in Georgia, take on the growing problem of gang violence, and go after entities that have helped create and aggravate the growing opioid crisis.
Equally important, he understands what the job is and is not. Mr. Carr’ opponent has pledged to not defend laws passed by the General Assembly that he personally does not support. Whether you agree with him or not on a particular position, this is not the role of the AG. I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with the last two attorneys general – one Democrat and one Republican. Both will tell you that the job of the attorney general is to be the lawyer for the state. If you want to set or implement public policy, you need to run for the legislature or for governor. That is not the job of the AG. The role of the AG is to represent the state defending the policies set by others.
Brad Raffensperger for Secretary of State
The Secretary of State position is primarily an administrative one overseeing a wide range of boards touching on a myriad of businesses in the state as well as overseeing certain aspects of state elections. This is why Brad Raffensperger is a good fit for this position. He is the CEO of Tendon Systems, LLC. Tendon is a multi-state specialty contracting and engineering design firm with nearly 200 employees. He also owns and operates specialty steel manufacturing plants based in Columbus, Georgia, and in Forsyth County.
There has been a great deal of talk this year about “purging” versus cleaning up voting rolls and the different positions taken by the two candidates offers a good opportunity to explain the process and lay out why it is necessary. In Georgia, “after three years of ‘no contact,’ you’re sent a notice. If that notice (postage pre-paid) is not returned in 30 days, you’re declared ‘inactive.’ If you fail to then cast a ballot in the next two federal election cycles, then you” are removed from the voter rolls. Therefore, contrary to press reports, there is no arbitrary purging of voters from the system.
Mr. Raffensperger agrees with this process while his opponent opposes it. Mr. Raffensperger is right. We live in a mobile society. People move from address to address in Georgia and also leave and come back into our state. Accurate voter rolls are critically needed to assure that voters are qualified to vote and vote where they are supposed to within our state. There is nothing nefarious about this. It is simply common sense.
Chuck Eaton for Public Service Commission
When was the last time you heard of a public official who had been endorsed by both the chamber of commerce and local unions? Chuck Eaton has because he has worked hard to be a fair minded arbiter of issues that have come before the PSC.
The most high profile and contentious issue recently has been the continuation of the construction of the nuclear power plant at Plant Vogtle which has seen serious delays and cost overruns during its construction. Interestingly, Mr. Eaton’s opponent does not oppose continuation but only believes that there has been insufficient oversight.
There are a great many reasons for the delay and cost overruns, many of which interestingly enough lay at the feet of a tsunami in Japan that badly damaged a nuclear power plant there. This resulted in an industrial rippling effect which led to the bankruptcy of the prime contractor at Plant Vogtle – Westinghouse.
It is easy from the outside to say that an incumbent handling a tough situation should have done more but Chuck Eaton has worked to press for greater transparency by the entities constructing the plant and demanded that they take up a greater share of the cost of the overruns. The bankruptcy by Westinghouse removed many of the cost protections for completion but Georgia was still able to get from the contractor’s parent company penalties of almost $3.7 billion to defray some of the additional cost. In addition, Mr. Eaton pushed last year for an inclusion of a tougher provision to require the main utility be held accountable for completion targets and budgets.
In conclusion, Geoff Duncan, Chris Carr, Brad Raffensperger, and Chuck Eaton are great public servants and deserve your vote on November 6th. Thank you for considering them.