ELECTION 2012: Four candidates seek Rogers' seat for House District 10

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Shared by the White County News

  • Candidates for the District 10 House seat are (clockwise from top left) Victor Anderson, Robert Crumley, Nick Mitchell and Jimmy Dean.
    Candidates for the District 10 House seat are (clockwise from top left) Victor Anderson, Robert Crumley, Nick Mitchell and Jimmy Dean.
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   Four candidates are running for the Georgia House of Representative District 10 seat, which includes White and Habersham counties.

   The field includes Republicans Victor Anderson, Robert Crumley and Jimmy Dean and Democrat Nick Mitchell.

   Incumbent Terry Rogers (R-Clarkesville) chose not to seek re-election.

   The Republican winner of the June 9 primary will go on to face Mitchell in the November General Election.

   Each candidate was asked to talk about issues and why they are best suited for the office.

Victor Anderson

Age: 53

Occupation: Co-owner/President – Anderson Carpet One Floor & Home

City of residence: Cornelia, Georgia (Unincorporated Habersham County)

Community Involvement: Member of B.C. Grant Baptist Church, Board Member – Habersham Christian Learning Center, Past 1st Vice Chair – Habersham County Republican Party, Past Board Member – Avita Community Partners, Past Habersham County Commissioner/Chairman, Board Member – Habersham County Hospital Authority, Past Member – Habersham County Planning Commission

Family: Wife – Kimberly (Jackson) Anderson, daughter – Lauren Anderson, daughter – Amberly Anderson, grandson – Kendrick Anderson, father – Melvin Anderson, mother – Brenda (London) Anderson, brother – Jason Anderson, and brother – Andy Anderson

What experience, knowledge or background do you have that makes you best-suited to hold this office? As a second generation small business owner and operator, I have had to make tough decisions to protect my business, customers and employees during difficult economic times following 9/11, the banking/housing collapse of 2007-08 and now the COVID-19 pandemic. We have managed our business budget to allow us to continue operating with no layoffs or pay decreases. As county commission chairman, I oversaw the creation, implementation and management of a balanced operating budget of roughly $30 million. We implemented programs that saved the county hundreds of thousands in healthcare costs, introduced and implemented a performance based pay system and addressed an extremely high employee turnover rate due to non-competitive wages. As commission chairman and now a member of the hospital authority, I have a keen understanding of the issues surrounding rural healthcare and the dire financial situation of our small hospitals. All of these experiences have prepared me to understand, communicate and seek solutions to the issues facing White and Habersham counties and make me the most experienced and qualified candidate for District 10.

What do you consider to be priority issues/legislation that should be taken up by the Georgia General Assembly? As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, the largest priority for our state is to protect the health and safety of our citizens while navigating economic recovery. The state Legislature is currently working to cut over 14% from the upcoming years budget to allow for the decrease in tax revenue resulting from this shutdown. These cuts will affect services provided for years to come. While this is going on, all the issues that were priorities before are still there. The General Assembly must prioritize the COVID-19 response and state budget in order to be in a position to address the other major issues. With the shrinking conservative majority in our state Legislature, it is important to have strong, proven conservative leaders to represent District 10. My priorities are to reduce government burden on our citizens, businesses and farmers while providing necessary services.

Is there a particular act passed in recent years by the General Assembly that you disagree with – or perhaps believe didn’t enough to address an issue? If not, is there a proposed bill that has failed to pass that you believe should be revisited? The cost of healthcare is a major part of everyone’s personal budget. Last year, the General Assembly passed and the governor signed the Surprise Billing law, which restricts/prohibits surprise billing following medical procedures. While this goes a long way to help lessen this burden, the overall cost of healthcare is growing exponentially. We need to review the restrictions and limitations on insurance providers to allow for more competitive pricing. Georgia currently has one of the highest rates of lawsuits and awards in the nation. Reforming Georgia’s Tort system can help lower costs for healthcare and other services. While the Heartbeat Bill went a long way to protecting unborn life, a bill that would provide further protection was sidelined and needs to be revived.

Other bills that have been presented but not passed which need to be revisited are The Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Constitutional Carry. Both of which are supported by our governor. 

Debate has lingered over recent legislative sessions about potentially expanding gambling in Georgia, such as sports betting and casino gambling. One proposed idea has been a statewide referendum asking voters whether such activity should be allowed. Since White County, and particularly the city of Helen, is a popular tourism destination, some residents have wondered if a casino could eventually come to their community. What are your thoughts on this issue? Casinos and sports betting venues can only be allowed in Georgia by amending our State Constitution. This requires a statewide referendum, which must first be approved by the General Assembly. There is a lot of debate about the economic impact of these types of facilities on the local community. The strain on infrastructure and other social services can negate the positive economic impact. Ultimately, aside from moral and civic concerns, the question is does this type of venue promote or detract from the character and culture of Northeast Georgia? Are the potential economic benefits worth the additional cost in infrastructure and services? Personally, I do not support placing a casino in District 10, but the voters will make the final decision.

Anything else you would like to say to voters about yourself, your platform or your reasons for running for this office? As a lifelong resident and native of District 10, I always strive to serve my family, friends and customers in White and Habersham counties. I am the most experienced candidate and have been tested and proven as a conservative leader. I believe in personal freedom, personal responsibility, limited government, economic opportunity and a strong defense. I am a Christian, pro-life, strongly support the Second Amendment and support small business and farming. I humbly ask for your vote and the opportunity to serve the citizens of White and Habersham counties as your District 10 state representative.

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Robert Crumley

Age: 24

Occupation: Farmer/Entrepreneur 

City of residence: Cleveland

Community Involvement: Member/volunteer; Habersham Homeless, Helping Hands Community, Family Promise, Sunshine Seniors Feeding Program, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, American Legion, Elks Lodge, GOP, GA Republican Assembly, NRA, and multiple local church ministries.

Family: (Parents) Riley Crumley Jr. and Misty Crumley, (Siblings) Trey and Rory Crumley, Bryce and Hayden Stickney

What experience, knowledge or background do you have that makes you best-suited to hold this office? From being born and raised here on a farm, I’ve witnessed and have been subjected to many underlying issues facing our community. Studying how government works at Boys State, to working as a cook at McDonald’s, from working as a spot welder to managing employees at Wal-Mart, falling into politics as a Trump campaign volunteer to being a field representative for Trump staff. I’ve traveled the nation working with state and federal legislators for the past few years ensuring wins for the GOP by overseeing Get Out The Vote and establishing outreach programs that continue to serve the people of the Blackfoot Reservation and the people of Montana. I moved back to Georgia to aid in this past governor’s race. In doing so, I’ve spent the past two years speaking with hundreds of local government officials, business owners, pastors and employees from every occupation identifying real issues within our community. I have a 5-year, 25-point solution that will solve hundreds of nonpartisan issues affecting the prosperity of our community and Georgia. Some points require accountability, which the powers that be do not have the guts to handle, which has led to my nomination and endorsement from the Georgia Republican Assembly to challenge an incumbent of 10-plus years. (Editor’s note: Incumbent Terry Rogers is not seeking re-election, though he had not publicly announced that decision when Crumley declared his run for the seat.) No matter the cost, I have always fought for what is right. Integrity is my greatest virtue. I am not afraid to stand up to the powers that negotiate our rights away. I have a detailed plan of action, I have spent years shadowing elected officials, I cannot be bought, I will not compromise, I firmly believe if you compromise your integrity one time your trustworthiness goes from 100% to 0%. While our president drains the swamp from the top, we will drain it from the bottom here at home. It is time for more leadership and less politics.

What do you consider to be priority issues/legislation that should be taken up by the Georgia General Assembly? Abolish overtime, income, and inventory taxes. You must tax commerce, not the individual. Repeal all unconstitutional laws that infringe upon any amendment. Repeal and replace common core standards and give schools more independence. 

Is there a particular act passed in recent years by the General Assembly that you disagree with – or perhaps believe didn’t enough to address an issue? If not, is there a proposed bill that has failed to pass that you believe should be revisited? The state budget is the biggest issue. My blood boils when under a Republican majority we have tax increases every year. Republicans in office need to hold to the principles they swore to uphold. I am tired of the state and local governments negotiating our rights away for funding. 

Debate has lingered over recent legislative sessions about potentially expanding gambling in Georgia, such as sports betting and casino gambling. One proposed idea has been a statewide referendum asking voters whether such activity should be allowed. Since White County, and particularly the city of Helen, is a popular tourism destination, some residents have wondered if a casino could eventually come to their community. What are your thoughts on this issue? The people of Georgia, not the General assembly, should only vote this issue on. As a Republican, no matter if I agree with an issue or not, I will never vote to suppress a free and open market. 

Anything else you would like to say to voters about yourself, your platform or your reasons for running for this office? This is not a one issue election, there are over a million problems in government. I do not claim to have all the answers nor the most experience. Integrity is my greatest virtue, once a problem has been identified a solution will be found. If you want a self-serving spineless mouthpieces that only tells you what you want to hear, then I am not the candidate for you. Our voices need to be heard and we need to know what is really going on. We have to hold our politicians accountable for their actions. It is time for more leadership and less politics. Please check out www.crumleyforgeorgia.com or call me 706-809-7015 to learn more.

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Jimmy Dean

Age: 67

Occupation: Retired from the State of Georgia, Georgia Public Safety Training Center, after 33 years of service. 

City of residence: Demorest

Community Involvement: Marie and I are active members of Level Grove Baptist Church in Cornelia. 

Family: I have been married to my wife Marie for 40 years. We have a son, Jared, who is married to the former Genie Benfield. He and Genie have blessed us with our granddaughter, Georgie, who is 2 years old. I also have a sister, Patricia Ellis, who, with her husband Herb, has lived in Cleveland for 25 years.

What experience, knowledge or background do you have that makes you best-suited to hold this office? I have a BS degree in education from the University of Georgia. I am also retired with 33 years of law enforcement and administrative experience in state government. My career in public safety administrative and my serving as legislative liaison with the Georgia General Assembly has provided me with unique credentials that will allow me to serve the men and women of District 10.

What do you consider to be priority issues/legislation that should be taken up by the Georgia General Assembly? A top priority for me is to support our teachers and school systems throughout the district. One way to do this requires the state Legislature to update the school funding formula. Quality Basic Education (QBE) was well-funded and most agree was successful. Over the years, the state has gradually reduced funding to a point that requires more local taxes to sustain quality teachers, materials and facilities. State funding needs to be restored as soon as possible.

Is there a particular act passed in recent years by the General Assembly that you disagree with – or perhaps believe didn’t do enough to address an issue? If not, is there a proposed bill that has failed to pass that you believe should be revisited? I would like to see healthcare expanded to all Georgians. However, any act passed in recent years or currently proposed bills associated with healthcare and other major issues will be greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Debate has lingered over recent legislative sessions about potentially expanding gambling in Georgia, such as sports betting and casino gambling. One proposed idea has been a statewide referendum asking voters whether such activity should be allowed. Since White County, and particularly the city of Helen, is a popular tourism destination, some residents have wondered if a casino could eventually come to their community. What are your thoughts on this issue? I do not personally support casino gambling or sports gambling. Considering our current economic shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a hard push by lobbyists and some communities to pass legislation to allow legalized gambling. As with other issues, I trust the voters and would support allowing a statewide referendum. I had much rather keep legalized gambling out of Northeast Georgia, but I will never forget that I work for the citizens in District 10 and I trust and support the decisions you make at the ballot box.

Anything else you would like to say to voters about yourself, your platform or your reasons for running for this office? I spent a career in law enforcement, culminating in being named assistant director and finally acting director of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth. This has enabled me to understand the importance of leadership and sound management. As legislative liaison during my time with the Training Center, I have also come to understand the workings of the legislature and the give and take needed to get good things accomplished. I am a conservative Republican who loves my country, my state and my Northeast Georgia home. My motivation to serve comes from my two-year-old granddaughter. I want the best for her and our future generations. I want them to grow up learning about and appreciating the values and heritage we love in District 10. I want them to have the best education available and to have good job opportunities without leaving Northeast Georgia.

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Nick Mitchell

Age: 27

Occupation: Student worker

City of residence: Cleveland

Community Involvement: Chair of the White County Democratic Committee

What experience, knowledge or background do you have that makes you best-suited to hold this office? I’ve been a progressive activist in the area for the past five or six years and I’ve been involved with the Democratic Party almost as long, but I don’t have much in the way of traditional experience. I don’t own a business, I’m not independently wealthy and I’m not a lawyer – and that’s the point. I know what it’s like to wonder how you’re going to pay your next bill and how it feels to know that you can’t afford to fix your car if it breaks down. I’ve worked the low-pay, no-benefit jobs and I can say with confidence it’s impossible to get by on minimum wage on your own. Our state leaders have plenty of traditional experience, but have no clue what life is like for the average Georgian struggling to make ends meet. Our state needs leaders that know what we’re going through, and I’m here to give you that option.

What do you consider to be priority issues/legislation that should be taken up by the Georgia General Assembly? The number one issue that needs to be addressed above all others is Medicare expansion as I mentioned before, but another top issue that needs to be addressed is access to high-speed internet for rural communities. We’ve gotten a lot of lip service to the idea, but not much has been done outside of that. The square in Cleveland has a fiber optic connection, but that hardly helps the average person in the district and no other internet infrastructure project has been mentioned in the area since. The absence of quality internet puts rural communities at an economic disadvantage that’s difficult to overcome and that needs to be addressed.

Is there a particular act passed in recent years by the General Assembly that you disagree with – or perhaps believe didn’t enough to address an issue? If not, is there a proposed bill that has failed to pass that you believe should be revisited? I think the worst thing to come of the state legislature in recent years is the unconstitutional 2019 “Heartbeat Bill.” It’s the most recent example of our state’s political elite trying to impose their ideas about personal morality onto the larger population. Thankfully, it was blocked by a federal judge.

Debate has lingered over recent legislative sessions about potentially expanding gambling in Georgia, such as sports betting and casino gambling. One proposed idea has been a statewide referendum asking voters whether such activity should be allowed. Since White County, and particularly the city of Helen, is a popular tourism destination, some residents have wondered if a casino could eventually come to their community. What are your thoughts on this issue? Personally, I’m not a big fan of gambling. I often say “it’s a tax for people bad at probability.” However, I think reasonable adults should be able to make their own decisions, and I think Georgians deserve to vote on the issue, so I would support a statewide referendum to let the people decide.

Anything else you would like to say to voters about yourself, your platform or your reasons for running for this office? My campaign website will be launched later this week. Visit NickForGA.com to learn more about me and my platform and, if you’re so inclined, to get in touch. I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can and earning your votes.