Local Republicans are seizing an opportunity to meet the candidates running for the 1st District Congressional seat that will be vacated by Congressman Jack Kingston, who will attempt to win the U.S. Senate seat of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring next year.
State Sen. Earl “Buddy” Carter met Aug. 17 with local Republican and independent-party voters for breakfast and a discussion of issues at Panera Bread. According to Kingston aide Brooke Childers, the event was the first in a series of meet-the-candidate opportunities sponsored by the Liberty County Republican Party.
Although about two dozen residents attended the first meeting, Childers thinks interest in meeting the candidates will increase.
Carter is not new to the political arena. The pharmacist from Pooler began his political career in 1989 as chairman of Pooler’s planning-and-zoning committee. He was elected to the Pooler City Council in 1994, then named mayor pro tem. Two years later, he was elected mayor of Pooler, serving from 1996-2004. He served four years in the state House of Representatives before being elected to the state Senate in 2009.
Carter and his wife, Amy, have three children, Barrett, Joel and Travis. The Young Harris College and University of Georgia graduate especially is proud to say he recently became a grandfather for the first time.
“My wife and I were blessed with three boys,” Carter said. “In July, my daughter-in-law blessed us with twin granddaughters.”
He said the breakfast meeting drew “a good crowd” that brought up several issues, including the “outrageous” national debt, a decline in the family structure and personal responsibility, national security, veterans issues and health care.
“I basically explained why I was running for the 1st District Congressional seat and the issues I think are important for the next generation,” Carter said. “When I think about my sons and my granddaughters, I think about the future of this nation. I have lived the American dream, but I’m not sure they’ll live that because of our national debt.”
Carter paused briefly to note that he’s as proud of his father as he is of his children and grandchildren. He said his father, who was widowed five years ago, will turn 76 in October and is getting married again in November. He said his mother and father were married for 50 years before his mother died. He’s glad his father has found someone else with whom he can spend the rest of his life.
Carter said his list of legislative priorities includes reducing spending cuts and entitlement reform. He said the country didn’t get itself into the current financial crisis overnight, and it’s not going to get out of it simply by increasing taxes. He said the country will have to “grow out of the current mess” with responsible budgets.
He pointed to his own record of municipal government work in Pooler, which, he said, currently is experiencing an economic boom due to policies he put in place while serving as its mayor. He said his administration set the groundwork that has allowed Pooler to grow, and he wants to do the same for the nation.
Carter said voters can expect him to continue his high level of support for the military and veterans’ issues. He said it’s critical that the nation maintain strong national security and noted that military installations have a profound impact on local economies, especially in Hinesville. He said the military and veterans were “well-served” during Kingston’s 20 years in office, and they’ll continue to be well-served with him as their representative.
One issue discussed during his meeting with residents was health care. Having been a pharmacist for more than 33 years, he said knows a lot about health care, and he’s convinced this country has the best health-care system in the world. Leaders must be careful about manipulating the health-care system, he said.
Watch the Coastal Courier calendar for information about the next meet-the-candidates breakfast.