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Update: District 66 Runoff Candidates Answer Patch Q&A

Bob Snelling will face off in a runoff against Mike Miller on Aug. 21 to decide who will earn the new Georgia House 66 seat.

Editor's note: In the earlier version of this Q&A an answer given by Mike Miller was mistakenly attributed to Bob Snelling. Douglasville Patch regrets the error and apologies for any confusion. The following paragraph is now in the proper place but was previously incorrectly part of a Bob Snelling answer:

An unemployment rate in our state of 8.9 percent is simply unacceptable. Far too many people are out of work. Our young people have especially been hard hit as our teen unemployment rate is 26 percent. In Georgia, there are 46,414 unemployed teens (ages 16 to 19). Idle youth – especially young men- is a dangerous recipe for our community. The unemployment rate in Douglas County, Ga. remains too high. At the state Capitol we must do all the we can to create a favorable environment for small businesses  and start-ups for that is where the new jobs are going to come from. We must streamline government and help create an environment that stimulates economic and job growth.

The Georgia House District 66 GOP race has yet to be decided since none of the candidates earned 50 percent plus one vote on election night. That means Bob Snelling will face off in a runoff against Mike Miller on Aug. 21. Snelling earned 2,533 votes, 49.63 percent; while Miller had 1,387 votes, 27.17 percent.

The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Kimberly Alexander in the Nov. 6 election.

Douglasville Patch: How do you intend to support economic and job growth in Douglas County?

Bob Snelling: My proposal to eliminate the State of Georgia income tax and replace it with a consumption tax based on the federal "Fair Tax," developed by John Linder and supported by Herman Cain, would be my major economic proposal. It would be revenue neutral and exempt seniors. It would encourage potential future employers to consider Georgia much more seriously as they consider relocating from other states where the tax burden is too high. That will have a positive impact on jobs in Douglas County since we are so close to metro-Atlanta.

During my previous legislative service I demonstrated my commitment to economic development in Douglas County by staying in close liaison with agencies, including the Georgia EPD, in encouraging expedited approval for the Arbor Place mall project. I would be an advocate in a similar way as I might be asked to participate in supporting future economic projects.

Mike Miller: Douglas County has been one of the fastest growing communities in Georgia over the last couple of decades. This growth was good for the county and the region, but has slowed because of its strong emphasis on the housing and construction markets. We have to a make sure that we are doing the things that we need to do now to make Ga. and our region competitive and attractive to industry, manufacturing, and high technology companies.

The recent elimination of the sales tax on energy used for manufacturing last legislative session was a good example of what we must do. We are competing not only with neighboring states such as Ala. and SC, but on the world stage. A company can locate anywhere in the world, but Douglas County and west Ga. is special in that you will have folks willing to work hard for an honest day’s wage and pay without complaint. That makes us unique in the world. As its representative, I will fight to make sure that when companies are looking for places to locate in Ga., that the benefits and assets of Douglas County are known.

An unemployment rate in our state of 8.9 percent is simply unacceptable. Far too many people are out of work. Our young people have especially been hard hit as our teen unemployment rate is 26 percent. In Georgia, there are 46,414 unemployed teens (ages 16 to 19). Idle youth – especially young men- is a dangerous recipe for our community. The unemployment rate in Douglas County, Ga. remains too high. At the state Capitol we must do all the we can to create a favorable environment for small businesses  and start-ups for that is where the new jobs are going to come from. We must streamline government and help create an environment that stimulates economic and job growth.

Douglasville Patch: Besides economic and job growth, what is the most important challenge or issue that the County faces and why?

Bob Snelling: Continuing to build a transportation infrastructure that will support local economic development. I have been an advocate for two projects for at least fifteen years; changing the route of Highway 92 across the railroad tracks into north Douglas County and Paulding County, and the reconstruction of the I-285/I-20 interchange on the west side of Atlanta.

Mike Miller: As a school board member for Douglas County, I must say also that a quality education – how good and strong your schools are – is a key factor in determining whether a company will locate in a community. I am the only candidate in this race who has the experience of working in education, and as your representative, I will work to see that quality education and schools are a priority for Douglas County. Without them our economic development efforts are in vain. Good education is good economic development. I also have to say that education and workforce training are very important. There are jobs currently out there in our state, that unfortunately cannot be filled because workers do not have the proper training or education.

According to Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, a 2011 statewide survey of companies found as many as 5,000 technology jobs unfilled due mainly to a “skills gap.”  A lot of these jobs are in our tech community, but there are also skill jobs such as welding and sheet metal fabricators. Getting government out of the way of our small businesses and providing education to meet our skills gap are important in creating new jobs.  

I support Governor Deal’s Complete College Georgia Initiative, a state program aimed at boosting graduation rates in public colleges and universities. But also support his initiative Go Build Georgia. The Go Build Georgia campaign is designed to educate young people on the value of learning a trade and inspire them to consider building a career as a skilled tradesman. Providing education to meet our skills gap are important in creating new jobs.

Douglasville Patch: How do you differ most from your opponent?

Bob Snelling: I can identify two ways. First, I have eight years of experience in the Georgia House of Representatives. I learned about the many intricacies of our legislative system. But, more importantly, I built relationships with community leaders throughout the state. That was my strong suit during my years of service, meeting and working with people. Many of those relationships remain to this day. These relationships will be invaluable a I seek to bring local legislative ideas to the process.

Second, our campaign has been supported by a large group of local community, government, and business leaders. At least 75 percent of our financial support has come from local sources. My opponent is also very well financed but a vast majority of that support comes from law offices in Atlanta and across the state of Georgia. My focus will be staying tuned into those leaders who supported me locally, not the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association.

Mike Miller: My opponent has served in the Georgia Legislature before for some eight years in office. He seeks to return to office to reunite with friends at the State Capitol. We are running for very different reasons and have very different records in elected office. I am running to bring change and conservative principled leadership to the State Capitol.

As a member of the Douglas County School Board, I fought for transparency and accountability and saved taxpayers millions of dollars. I have continued those principles in my campaign for the state legislature. I have run a transparent and open campaign and been willing to speak up about important issues. For instance, I have been speaking up about the need to improve our ethics laws to include restrictions on lobbyist gifts for bureaucrats and to require candidates to disclose anonymous mailers and robocalls. My opponent has been silent on these matters.

I have also highlighted concerns regarding the T-SPLOST referendum and how It would be the largest tax increase in State history, while my opponent was neutral on the matter. If elected to the legislature, I will work hard to serve the people of the district and will seek to bring change to the status quo at the Legislature. I am afraid that my opponent will be apt to preserve the status quo.

Douglasville Patch: What major projects do you see facing the County in the next four years?

Bob Snelling: Road Construction is a major issue. Local leaders must continue to focus on a more efficient way of crossing the railroad tracks on Highway 92 and the I-285/I-20 interchange.

Mike Miller: One immediate issue facing Douglas County and the Atlanta region is to work with Governor and the General Assembly to remove the penalty that we face in the Transportation Investment Act of 2010 (also known as TIA or HB 277). The Regional  T-SPLOST is the funding mechanism for TIA. The citizens of our regions and eight others across the state overwhelmingly said "no" to T-SPLOST and therefore "NO" to TIA. However, the TIA states that any region that votes "no" is penalized out of its own fuel tax money by 30 percent.

If elected, I would work with the Governor and the General Assembly to see that this penalty against Douglas County and the Atlanta region is removed. Looking longer term, traffic and congestion will be an issue in our county and the rest of the region over the next several years.

I opposed the T-SPLOST, but we certainly have a lot of congestion and mobility challenges in the Metro Atlanta region that need solving. I do not believe transit service is the answer for it comes at the expense of developing and maintaining a quality highway network. Douglas County and Metro Atlanta needs to enhance its arterial network, using overpasses and underpasses to bypass congestion at signalized intersections on major arterials: lengthen the duration of traffic lights; lengthen turn lanes and judiciously add raised medians to prevent lane clogging and wrecks. I see the issue of traffic and congestion being a big issue.

Related Douglasville Patch articles:

Richard R August 09, 2012 at 06:24 PM
I agree with Mike Miller that one of the priorities of the District 66 Representative will be to get the penalty removed from transportation funding incurred by the failure of the TSPLOST. Never should any of our currently elected officials have put a coercive penalty, which amounts to citizen blackmail, on a referendum to impose a tax on its people. This needs to be a priority.

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