Former State Rep. Buddy Carter (District 159) and Dr. Billy Hair, a former Chatham County Commission chairman, are competing for the District 1 State Senate seat.
A special election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The district’s senate seat was vacated in September when former Sen. Eric Johnson resigned to join Georgia’s gubernatorial race.
Both Carter and Hair were asked where they stand on issues important to Georgians. The first series of questions they answered deal with taxes and the economy.
Q: If you won’t vote to raise taxes, how will Georgia raise needed revenues?
A: “I’ve never voted to raise taxes,” Carter said. “Our main goal is job creation and providing an environment that is conducive for companies to hire people and to draw companies to Georgia.”
Carter said he was calling from Atlanta, and from where he stood he could see Centennial Park and the Georgia Aquarium. He also said he could see the future location for the High School Hall of Fame.
“These are the types of projects we need to be encouraging,” he said. “These things promote tourism. We need to do these types of projects in Savannah.”
Carter was born and raised in Port Wentworth. He attended public schools in Chatham County and graduated in 1975 from Groves High School. He attended Young Harris College in North Georgia where he received an associate of science degree. He later transferred to the University of Georgia where he earned a bachelor’s of science degree in pharmacy in 1980.
On Nov. 28, 1988, he opened his first retail pharmacy in Pooler. Today, Carter manages the Institutional Pharmacy for Omnicare and he continues to own and operate two retail pharmacies in Pooler and Garden City.
Carter is married to the former Amy Coppage of Waycross. They have three teenage sons: Joel, Barrett and Travis.
Dr. Billy Hair
Q: You’ve said you want to make targeted budget cuts to the state budget — rather than cut across the board — and protect essential services. What cuts would you make to the state budget and which services would you protect?
A: “In very difficult financial times cuts should be targeted,” Hair said. “First, all state departments should be required to make cuts in their budgets for expenses that are non-essential. Things such as travel, equipment replacement and staff development expenses to name a few.
“Secondly, cuts should not be made in education, law enforcement and health and safety areas. All other agencies should be cut to a much larger degree. Furloughing teachers and health care workers should never be done under any circumstances. Maybe state legislators should take the same furlough days they are requiring of other state workers but that hasn’t happened. I wonder why. Maybe if they felt the same pain inflicted on other state workers they would take a different path.”
Hair holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s in business administration from the University of South Carolina. He also holds a specialist degree in education and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Georgia.
Hair is a Vietnam War veteran. He received the Bronze Star and an Air Medal.
Later, he entered academia as a professor. Hair was the youngest president to head a two-year college in Georgia, Savannah Tech. He owns three businesses in South Georgia, including Productivity Air.
Hair is single with no children and has lived on Skidaway Island for 25 years.