Nine Days Until Election

7/11/2010

With just nine days left before the votes are counted in the Tuesday, July 20, General Primary/Special Election, Republicans Jason Shaw, 38, and Aleta Larger, 44, have been pounding the proverbial pavement.

The Valdosta Daily Times, Jessica Pope

VALDOSTA — With just nine days left before the votes are counted in the Tuesday, July 20, General Primary/Special Election, Republicans Jason Shaw, 38, and Aleta Larger, 44, have been pounding the proverbial pavement.

On the street, on the phone and on the web, both have been encouraging voters to support them in their quest for the Republican nomination and the chance to represent District 176 in the state House of Representatives.

The winner from this round — the insurance man and farmer who calls Lakeland home or the lawyer who lives in Ray City — will move on to the Nov. 2 General Election/Special Election, where he or she will face Democrat Debra Tann.

Recently, Shaw and Larger shared their thoughts on the past, present and future of Georgia. Both talked about the things the state has done right, things the state still needs to work on, and why they are the right person to support the state’s strengths and address its weaknesses. What the two candidates had to say is printed below in a question and answer format, as submitted, edited only for grammatical errors.


Jason Shaw

VDT: Name three things the Georgia House of Representatives has done or does well, things you will continue to support should you be elected. Explain your response and feel free to give examples as needed.

Shaw: I commend the Legislature for working hard to cut spending and balance the state’s budget to ensure we are living within our means.

I also commend the tax study council that has been commissioned to make necessary recommendations on reforming Georgia’s out-of-date tax code and look forward to working on those recommendations.

And lastly, I commend the Legislature’s passing of Senate Bill 1, zero-based budgeting. The governor’s veto of that bill was unfortunate, but I look forward to supporting that proposal next year.


VDT: Name three areas you believe need a little extra attention. Why do these areas need more attention from the House? How do you plan to address these areas if elected?

Shaw: The number one issue is jobs. There are three areas we need to focus on in order to create jobs — a statewide economic development plan, taxes, and education.

We need to develop a comprehensive statewide economic development plan and create a partnership between state and local governments. The fact is, too many times we have lost out on economic development opportunities because the state and local communities are not on the same page.

We need to reform our tax system to create an environment attractive to expanding our current businesses, expand agricultural operations and attract new businesses.

And thirdly, we need to step up efforts to improve education by setting high standards and empowering local schools to implement them.


VDT: Tell us what sets you apart from your fellow candidates.

Shaw: I would have to say what sets me apart is my history and involvement in this community. I was born and raised in this district and I know and understand the challenges that we are facing here. I am a committed leader as proven by my dedicated service and involvement in numerous community, governmental, business, and church-related organizations while operating a small farm and two local businesses in the district. This area has been good to me and I was always taught to give back to the community by using your God-given abilities.


VDT: Tell us what kind of state representative you will be. Will you make yourself available to the people by phone? Email? Will people be free to approach you in public to share their concerns and ask questions? Please explain.

Shaw: Absolutely. My office is open five days a week and my constituents will be able to reach me any time they have a concern, and I will always be open to discussing those concerns with them. I can be reached by phone at (229) 482-3505 or by email at jason@shawforhouse.com. I am running to serve and, as part of that, listen to and assist with your concerns. You can also send me a message by visiting the contact section of my website at www.shawforhouse.com


Aleta Larger

VDT: Name three things the Georgia House of Representatives has done or does well, things you will continue to support should you be elected. Explain your response and feel free to give examples as needed.

Larger: Followed the mandate to have a balanced budget. With the tough economic situation that we are in, having a balanced budget required serious work on all involved.

I, personally, like the voter ID law that was passed a couple of years ago, as well as the no texting while driving law that was just passed this session.

There is a program for pages at the Capitol where the youth of our state can page for their representative or senator. I like this program because it encourages the youth of our state to become involved in the political system and gives them a basic understanding of how a bill becomes a law.



VDT: Name three areas you believe need a little extra attention. Why do these areas need more attention from the House? How do you plan to address these areas if elected?

Larger: As your representative, I don't want to ‘bring home the bacon.’ I want to trim the fat and feel that I have the backbone and the sense to do just that. We the people are tired of unnecessary spending.

As I have been campaigning and talking with the voters, I have been asked several times if I would return phone calls. The people want a representative that they can talk with. I will be accessible to the people as their voice in Atlanta.

South Georgia needs strong representation. It seems like North Georgia gets more attention than South Georgia. As a representative for South Georgia, I will work to bring attention to South Georgia in a positive way. I will work to get more industry and jobs in the area.



VDT: Tell us what sets you apart from your fellow candidates.

Larger: I am a woman of faith who loves the Constitution. I will not push my faith on others, but I will be praying over the decisions that I will be making in Atlanta. The Founding Fathers asked for God's help in establishing this great nation and they received His help. I believe that we have to have God's help in preserving and protecting our nation.

I also am a lifelong conservative republican. I am not a republican because of political opportunity, but have always been conservative.

Another difference is that I grew up poor. I came from the tobacco fields in Ware County to the courtrooms in the Alapaha Judicial Circuit. I am grateful that I came from such humble beginnings. I understand the value of hard work. I know what it is like to struggle to make ends meet. I tell the voters that I am a common person with common sense and I truly believe that. I am one of ‘We the People.’



VDT: Tell us what kind of state representative you will be. Will you make yourself available to the people by phone? Email? Will people be free to approach you in public to share their concerns and ask questions? Please explain.

Larger: I am truly humbled at the opportunity to be the voice of the people in Atlanta. It is a stewardship that I take very seriously. I will be very approachable as a state representative. My practice in my law firm is to return all phone calls within 24 hours. Occasionally, I cannot make that goal, but by and large, the majority of phone calls or e-mails to my office are returned within 24 hours. People are certainly free to approach me in public to share their concerns/ask questions.


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