Llop is one of two Republicans challenging Gingrey in the July 31 primary election. The winner faces Democrat Patrick Thompson of Roswell, a sales manager, in the general election.
“Dr. Gingrey has been a great physician for a good number of years, and he’s had a great track record in Congress, and I’m happy that he was there for us, but when it comes to fresh ideas, he does not have them. He does not have the pulse of America,” Llop said. “Now, if you want to stick with what you’ve got, well then do it, but at some point in my life I decided that it was time to either step up or not, and at 53 years old I’m stepping up.”
Llop, who has never run for office before, said the No. 1 problem he wants to solve if elected is the lack of jobs.
“The biggest problem with our District 11 are jobs and the lack of use of our real estate and through streamlining the tax code, changing depreciation schedules, allowing passive investors to recognize losses on their individual income tax returns, that alone would create jobs and create growth in our area,” he said. “The amount of real estate that we have available today versus other areas of the country and the cost of that real estate is way below market compared to other regions, and that’s going to bring more growth to our area.”
Llop believes public dollars should not be given to private businesses to spur economic development.
“It’s better for the sector just to stand alone,” he said.
He said he would entertain the state providing loans to businesses at a lower interest rate, however.
Llop said he will vote against the July 31 transportation referendum to raise the sales tax by 1 percent for 10 years.
“I believe the consumption-based tax, the gasoline tax, should control the road improvements,” he said.
If the county commission asked him to help secure federal dollars for a light-rail system in Cobb, however, he would seek them, he said.
“At the local level that’s where decisions need to be made, not at the federal level, and if the local level says that’s where we want you to concentrate your efforts, I will, but what I’m looking to do is to fund this project through a gasoline tax and not through a sales tax,” he said.
Llop said he doesn’t understand why the TSPLOST initiative has ignored the use of the CSX line for commuter rail.
“I don’t understand why we’re not using what we already have rather than creating something else, creating more jobs — more government jobs really — through this sales tax assessment which is just going to be putting more people on the payroll, and we’ve got to get people off the payroll and let private industry determine where those improvements need to be made,” he said.
Llop said he needs more information before deciding whether he would support a pre-emptive strike by Israel to take out Iran’s nuclear program.
Nor is he sure what Congress should do about the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. or Cobb.
“The federal government is not and has not stepped up to the plate to stop illegals from entering the country in the past,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult. The Supreme Court just ruled, I think the Supreme Court, the way they ruled, said we can do whatever we want to do with the illegals, but we cannot force them out, so I think they ruled and said ‘sure, check their ID,’ but they didn’t give us any teeth to get the illegals out of the country.”
Llop said he is largely financing his campaign on his own.
“If I tell you I collected $10,000, that’s not true,” he said. “The fact that I spent much more than that, sure that’s true. My budget I guess was originally $25,000. I guess it’s gone up since. It’s probably now $50,000. I’m loaning the campaign as much money as I can stand, and I’m not going to go bankrupt over it.”
Llop said one of his objections to Gingrey is that he believes the congressman “represents big business.”
“I represent small and medium America,” Llop said. “He’s well supported by the health care, the pharmaceuticals and the insurance companies. I think that those are the toughest businesses to go against because they’re so large.”
One of Llop’s strategies for winning is reaching out to everyone he knows from a lifetime of living in the metropolitan area.
“If everybody I know that lives in District 11 actually votes and votes for me, well then I’m going to take it,” he said.
The winner of the July 31 primary will face Democrat Patrick Thompson of Roswell in the general election.