4 Republicans state their case against John Barrow in 12th Congressional District candidate forum in west Augusta

4 CANDIDATES SPEAK IN FORUM

The four Republicans seeking to unseat Georgia’s 12th District congressman, Democrat John Barrow, in November had the floor Monday in a forum sponsored by the West Augusta Alliance.

Contractor Rick Allen spoke of solving Washington’s problems and committed to seeking no more than four two-year terms in Congress.

“Folks, I’m a businessman,” Allen told the crowd gathered in a gym at the Warren Road Community Center. “And I’m not a lawyer. That’s what I do every day in business – solve problems.”

Lawyer and retired Navy pilot Wright McLeod called the U.S. tax code “an absolute disaster” and reminded constituents they need to vote for him three times: in the July 31 Republican primary, in a likely Aug. 21 runoff and in the Nov. 6 general election.

“Government is not the answer; it’s the problem,” McLeod said.

The No. 1 role of the federal government, all four agreed, is national defense.

“You’re not going to get an argument from me,” said Dublin lawyer Maria Sheffield, and she questioned why agencies such as the departments of Energy and Education, created under President Carter “as favors”, are funded when “we don’t take care of veterans.”

Lee Anderson, of Grovetown, a farmer and state representative, said all federal departments should be cut except defense.

“We should be running a gas pipeline from Canada to the Gulf right now,” he said.

Most of the people gathered Monday already had one of the Republicans in mind as a favorite, including Rita Hamilton, the second vice president of the alliance.

“I have my favorites, but I’m open,” she said, not revealing her top choice. “You’re looking for who can lead in Washington.”

The forum came hours after Anderson produced a list of supporters ranging from Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength to Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.

Voters in the July 31 Republican primary won’t get to weigh in on another Richmond County primary unless any of the contenders for sheriff, who so far are sheriff’s Capt. Scott Peebles and Richmond County School Safety Lt. Richard Roundtree, run as Republicans.

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