The forum at Cagle’s Dairy Farm in Canton was sponsored by the Cherokee County Farm Bureau and the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Cherokee Tribune Managing Editor Rebecca Johnston.
Candidates vying for seats on city councils this fall also were given the opportunity to speak, and several elected officials gave updates.
Residents in attendance at the forum heard a two-minute sales pitch from each of the six candidates so far to show interest in taking the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey in his run for U.S. Senate.
Former Congressman Bob Barr was the first to speak and told residents he would work for them, fighting the “forces of evil” if sent back to Washington.
Barr opened by telling residents that he was in favor of “Stand Your Ground” legislation, which has recently been a hot topic of discussion around the country.
“Ever since that trial down in Florida a couple weeks ago — the Zimmerman trial — a lot of folks around the country are rediscovering ‘Stand Your Ground,’” Barr said. “Well, we got news for them down here in the 11th District and in Georgia: We’ve been standing our ground since this country began, and we don’t aim to give up now.”
Barr said standing your ground doesn’t only apply to firearms and confrontations.
If elected, Barr said he planned to go to Washington and “stand our ground” against those currently in office there, including President Barack Obama, whom he called a “back-down” president.
“I have the seniority to do that, the experience to do that, the track record to do that. You know it, we know it. Help us out. Send Bob Barr back to Washington,” he said.
State Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Buckhead) also spoke against the state of affairs in Washington and noted that several officials in Cherokee County, including Sheriff Roger Garrision and Waleska Mayor Doris Jones, have endorsed his campaign.
“They know and I know that we have to change things fundamentally in Washington,” Lindsey said. “That’s what I have worked on so hard in
the General Assembly for the last decade.”
Lindsey said he knows how serving in government works.
“I understand that my job as your representative is not to deliver edicts from the Gold Dome or the U.S. Capitol but to take your wisdom and your concerns to the table where decisions are made,” he said.
English-born 11th District hopeful Allan Levene also said things need to change in American government.
“The reason I am here today is because I am disgusted with Washington,” Levene said. “If this (spending) continues, we will go bankrupt.”
Levene said he knows how to stop spending.
“I’m the only candidate here running for the 11th District who has a website that actually has solutions on it,” he said. “It isn’t just a picture of me with a button saying ‘donate.’ If you believe in speaking the truth, if you believe in doing what’s right for America and want to save this country, we have to remove the current crop of politicians from Washington.”
Marietta businesswoman Tricia Pridemore agreed Washington needs a new crop of officials.
“I am running because I think it’s time for us to bring a fresh perspective to Washington, some new energy that’s going to work incredibly hard on behalf of every single one of us in the 11th District,” Pridemore said.
“I know the thing we want more than anything else is to preserve our freedom, the freedom of the individual, the freedom for each and every one of us to be able to work, provide for our families and have this grand opportunity known as the American Dream,” she said.
State Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) said if he’s elected, he wouldn’t forget where he came from like many others have.
“The problem we have is a lot of people go, whether it’s Washington or the state capitol, they go with ideas, they get there and they get comfortable,” Loudermilk said. “They quit working the fields, they quit plowing, they quit weeding, they quit fighting against the pestilence.”
Loudermilk said such apathy can’t stand.
“We have to continue to fight if we’re going to win, if we’re going to restore our freedom,” he said.
Woodstock resident Larry Mrozinski said he’s been fighting for years.
“I served nearly three decades in the military,” he said. “I’ve been to nearly all memorable conflicts post Vietnam.”
Mrozinski said national security and striking down Obama Care are among the crucial issues in the election.
To end up on the right side of these fights, he said the 11th District needs leadership.
“Leadership is what I have,” he said.
The race for the 11th District seat, will be settled at the polls in November 2014.
Other county level and state candidates who spoke included U.S. Senate candidate Karen Handel and Cherokee County Board of Commissioners chair candidate Jackie Archer.
Elected officials who spoke were Cherokee County Commissioners Harry Johnston and Brian Poole; Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood and Holly Springs Mayor Tim Downing; state Rep. Mandi Ballinger (R-Canton); state Sen. John Albers (R-Alpharetta); state Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta); State Court Judges Alan Jordan and Michelle Homier; Superior Court Judge David Cannon; Probate Judge Keith Wood; Solicitor General Jessica Moss; and Magistrate Judge James Drane.
Cheryl Hill, wife of state Rep. Calvin Hill (R-Canton) read a message from her husband, who has leukemia.