About 35% of local voters — in the Cave Spring and Lindale areas — are in state House District 12, which also includes all of Chattooga County.

Republican Robert Watson is challenging incumbent Eddie Lumsden. There are no Democratic candidates seeking the seat so the winner of the May 24 primary will be unopposed in November.

The candidates were each sent several questions about their qualifications and how they would govern in the Georgia General Assembly. Their responses will be published as they are returned.

Lumsden, an insurance agency owner and retired Georgia state trooper, was first elected in 2012.

What makes you the best candidate to represent the district in the Georgia House?

I have 50 years of experience in public service: 6 years military (Air Force/Air Guard), 30 years in law enforcement (state trooper), 5 years as a Floyd County Commissioner and 10 years as a state representative.

I also am a small business owner who has helped countless people with insurance and financial matters.

Those experiences have made me well aware of the problems people face in their daily lives and have given me an understanding of how government can best serve the citizens.

I learned very early in my life that what happens at the State House affects all Georgia citizens. Because of the knowledge I have acquired from those experiences I have been able to pass hundreds of bills that impact Georgia citizens in a positive way and address the concerns they have asked me to help them with. I have a record of success in doing the job.

The only thing the Legislature is required to do is pass a budget. What are your budget priorities?

Public safety and education.

In order for any society to exist there must be order based on law. In society today there are those who choose chaos over order and target those who protect the peace and preserve that order. When we do not support those who preserve, protect and defend us then we as a society are in decline. Public safety funding is a high priority. We must attract qualified individuals who will do the job professionally and pay, equip and support them fiscally and legally.

Adequate funding to provide an education for our young is vitally important as well. Making sure they have opportunity for a quality education is vital to all citizens and the future of society. We must ensure that what is being taught is relevant to the future demands of the marketplace as well as basic life skills. Funding for vocational/technical as well as college prep are of equal importance.

It appears that Roe v Wade will be overturned, throwing the abortion issue back to the states. What should the Legislature do?

The Legislature has already acted in passing the Heartbeat Bill, which I supported and voted for. At present, we still have to see the final Dobbs decision from SCOTUS to understand the total legal landscape, because what has been leaked is not the complete story.

I’m probably most hopeful that all of the diligent and carefully crafted prolife laws we already have in the Heartbeat Bill and elsewhere in law will be fully enforceable upon that decision.

The next task will be even more tedious — to engage with our prolife medical professionals to determine what else is needed to prohibit reckless and voluntary terminations while protecting our life-loving medical professionals who practice in obstetrics and better understand the nuances of voluntary terminations vs involuntary.

If additional legislative action is needed it can only happen when all the facts are known and clearly understood.

Housing and healthcare are major considerations in households planning for the future. What can/should the state do to make them more affordable?

Both housing and healthcare are in large part federal issues. However, the state can and does have some ability to impact the cost. One thing the state is doing is providing more slots in our medical schools for mid-level and primary care physicians and providing incentives for them to practice in rural parts of the state.

With more primary care physicians spread out over the state more citizens will have access to a doctor. By seeing a physician many problems can be detected and early identification of a problem leads to lesser costs. Programs that encourage citizens to see a physician, identify lifestyle habits that contribute to poor health and encourage change will go a long way in bringing cost down as well.

Federal fiscal policy has caused inflation and interest rates to increase, making it hard on consumers. The greatest cost reduction would come about by reducing some regulatory requirements, which add significantly to the cost of a loan. Creative financing options can also be helpful.

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