That’s a question Rosan Hall, president-elect of the Cobb Republican Women’s Club, asked the six candidates running to replace U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) during a Tuesday night forum.
State Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Buckhead) said at the federal level, it’s the size of the nearly $18 trillion national debt.
With Congress seeming to lack the willpower to balance the budget, the nation must move toward a balanced budget amendment, Lindsey said.
Lindsey spoke of his sponsorship in the Georgia House of Representatives of a bill calling for a convention of the states “to have the states themselves move forward with a proposed federal constitutional amendment.”
Former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) answered the question by saying the national debt is the most dangerous thing facing the nation.
“We have to reduce the debt,” Loudermilk said. “The only way to do that is to force Congress to do it. Congress is not going to balance a budget. They’ve proven over the years of all the constitutional amendments they’ve ever passed, all of them have restricted state powers, not their own. Congress must introduce a balanced budget amendment, which would be the first act that I work on to force Congress to live within its means.”
Col. Larry Mrozinski, U.S. Army retired, a Woodstock resident, said an energy policy was needed.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the first thing that affects us all is our energy,” Mrozinski said.
“We haven’t discussed an energy plan since 2008. I say we have an energy plan. That would be part of my first acts in Congress is call for an energy policy in this nation.”
Pridemore says No. 1 issue is jobs
Tricia Pridemore of Marietta, former executive director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, said she’s been on the campaign trail now for nearly a year.
“The No. 1 thing that people want to talk to me about is job creation,” Pridemore said.
“People want to work and job creators want to be able to create more jobs, especially those that own small businesses.”
Pridemore said job creation is debt reduction.
“When you look at the $17 trillion dollar debt that our nation faces, what better way to reduce that besides cutting some spending programs, but fundamentally putting people back to work?” she said.
“I also strongly believe that when you consider the benefits to the individual of job creation, what people want more than anything else is to be able to have a paycheck, to be able to bring home for their family and produce for them. It’s the fundamental basis for our American dream.”
Allan Levene of Kennesaw, a native of Britain and naturalized citizen who is also running for congressional seats in Michigan and Hawaii, said the short-term problem was jobs and the long term one was the national debt and growing the economy.
Slash the federal government, Barr says
Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr of Smyrna was last to be called on.
“The most important issue as I travel across the 11th District is to reduce the size, the scope and the power of the federal government,” Barr told a full house gathered in the Cobb Board of Commissioners meeting room.
“People in the 11th District want their lives, their businesses, their local government back in charge of their lives. They want to get the federal government out of their pocketbook. They want to get the federal government out of their businesses; they want to be able to build roads where the citizens of that district wish those roads to go; they want to be able to hire people that they need to run their businesses and not have the federal government tell them what to do. They want to be able to keep more of their money so they can spend it on their families, and those things that are important to them, they want reduced taxes in all of its manifestations. What a U.S. congressman from the 11th District needs to do today and every year until we get this monstrosity back under control is to reduce the size, the scope and the power of the federal government.”
Who did best?
Following the debate, which was sponsored by the Cobb Republican Women’s Club, photographer John Delves of Powder Springs said while he hasn’t decided who to vote for yet in the May 20 primary, he is leaning toward Barr.
Delves said Barr won the evening.
“I think he was more forceful,” Delves said. “I think he answered the questions more directly, and I think he addressed the issues and it came across very strong.”
But Loudermilk also did well, Delves said.
“Third person, I think is Tricia,” Delves said. “If she’ll just aim her answers to the audience rather than to the three-person panel, I think she’ll be much, much stronger. She’s not going to fall off. She’s in there too.”
Joyce Schumacher of Marietta said she intends to vote for Loudermilk.
“Everything he has to say was right on target, right what he believes, principled, very focused,” Schumacher said, noting how pleased she was with Loudermilk’s performance.
“What you see is what you get. There’s no hidden agenda. There’s no adding to anything. There’s no taking credit for anything he didn’t do. His whole family is that way. Faith is always first.”
Retired Marietta dentist Dr. Bill Hudson, who was also in attendance, said he was a Loudermilk supporter until learning Loudermilk favored a constitutional convention to balance the budget. Now he plans on voting for Barr. Hudson worries once the Constitution is opened for revision, conservatives won’t be able to control what happens.
“(George) Soros is for it, and if Soros is for it, I sure as hell am not for it,” Hudson said.
Hudson said the night belonged to Barr and Loudermilk.
“I think Bob and Barry are the two strongest candidates, and if there’s a runoff, I think it will be between them,” he said.