Editorial

Republicans in Rome and Floyd County and across the state have some critical decisions to make in the July 24 runoff. Voters will decide who will challenge increasingly charged Georgia Democrats this fall for the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, and secretary of state.

The Rome News-Tribune endorsed Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the primary. As we said at the time, Gov. Nathan Deal, elected in the aftermath of the Great Recession, is leaving office with Georgia in a much better place than he found it. Cagle has sat at his right hand during this time and deserves credit for the success the Peach State is enjoying.

Cagle’s record of achievement has moved the needle, partnering with Deal to see the state grow by nearly 700,000 jobs and 40,000 businesses. Aggressive yet conservative, he led this year’s fight to cut state income tax rates. Rome State Senator Chuck Hufstetler commented that the “reduction of the state income tax would not have happened without Casey Cagle’s support”.

Cagle’s signature initiative has been the development of a college and career academy network where students can graduate high school with an associate degree or industry certification and be ready with skills to enter the workforce. He’s helped launch 46 such academies across the state and pledged to give every student access to one by 2020. The result is students are employable upon graduation and gain access to well-paying jobs while business and industry can hire from a skilled Georgia workforce. Rome City Commissioner and retired president of Georgia Northwestern Technical College Craig McDaniel made the following comment about Cagle:

“Over the past 40 years I’ve seen no elected official who understands the relationship between education and careers than Casey. He gets it and has committed to expand the College and Career Academy network so that every high school student has access to one.”

We believe Cagle is best equipped to challenge the Democratic nominee, Stacey Abrams, in November’s general election.

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How to divine how a candidate will govern? Review their record in office, if they have one. For the last 16 years, state Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, has led on just about every issue of interest to conservatives, from writing Georgia’s zero-based budgeting law requiring every penny of spending to be justified, to the constitutional amendment that capped the income tax in Georgia, to helping pass the state income tax cut this year.

As president pro tem of the Senate, Shafer chaired the committee that found the money and led the effort to wire all committee rooms in the Capitol so that Senate committee meetings would be broadcast live on the Internet and forever archived. That means voters don’t have to drive to Atlanta or take time off work to watch the Senate conduct the people’s business. It makes state government more transparent to its citizens.

Shafer’s name has been on every piece of pro-life and Second Amendment legislation that has passed in the last 16 years. It’s why he’s being backed by so many conservative groups, from Georgia Right to Life, the NRA, GeorgiaCarry.org, the American Conservative Union, not to mention Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, along with 280 current and former members of the General Assembly. As Shafer correctly points out, these are folks who have worked with both him and his GOP opponent and know their characters, work ethics and leadership styles.

Now Shafer is seeking to become the next lieutenant governor of Georgia where he received nearly 49 percent of the vote in May’s three-man Republican primary. The kind of record Shafer has achieved in his service to our state makes him the clear choice to become Georgia’s next lieutenant governor.

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The two Republicans vying to become Georgia’s next secretary of state have admirable records and proposals for enhancing that office and protecting our voting system. Both hail from the north Fulton area.

Real estate attorney and former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle is challenging Brad Raffensperger, owner and CEO of Tendon Systems, a specialty contracting and engineering design firm. Raffensperger also owns specialty steel manufacturing plants in Columbus and in Forsyth County. He previously served in the Georgia House representing Johns Creek and prior to that served on the Johns Creek City Council.

Among Belle Isle’s priorities are to require a photo ID for all absentee ballots; require a paper and electronic record in the voting process; roll out the Proof of Citizenship Act ensuring only U.S. citizens vote in U.S. elections; and help U.S. soldiers and their spouses by honoring their professional licenses earned in other states.

Raffensperger supports eliminating the income tax and replacing it with the Fair Tax, pledges to work with law enforcement to close down companies that are a front for illegal sex or drug trafficking, wants to strengthen voter ID laws and supports a paper ballot verification for ballot security, among other campaign platforms.

The Secretary of State’s office has many functions but none more important than ensuring the integrity of Georgia’s elections. Georgian’s are fortunate to have two qualified Republican candidates to choose from on the July 24 ballot.

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Run-Off elections tend to have a much lower voter turnout rate, which means if you do turn out, your vote will have much more weight. So be a part of the process in determining the future direction of our state and county on July 24. Vote and have a say in Georgia and Floyd County’s future.