Guest columnist is eminently qualified

In William Johnson's letter March 10 ("Guest columnist carried light credentials"), he stated that Lee Benedict's credentials were unworthy of his March 6 guest column on politics. I beg to differ, and would like to rebut Mr. Johnson's misleading attempts to discredit this fine citizen.

Mr. Johnson wrote, "He withdrew his candidacy for the Columbia County Board of Education in 2010 ... ." True. The reason was his son has autism and muscular dystrophy, and a doctor's visit revealed his heart was weakening. With early voting about to start and wanting to give the media time to report his decision, he met with Kristi Baker and was comfortable with endorsing her when he made his announcement.

Johnson continues: "Lee Benedict in his younger years was president of the Columbia County Young Republicans, and currently is an officer of the Columbia County Republican Party ... ." Yes, Lee was chairman of the YRs in 2008, and had just completed his two-year term as an officer in the county GOP. But roughly 20 years ago he was the New York state executive secretary for the Conservative Students Alliance. After that, he was vice president of the Orange County, N.Y., Young Republicans, and he worked for New York State Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun and for the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee.

In an attempt to cast Lee as an outsider, Johnson states, "Mr. Benedict is not a teacher of political science or journalism, according to the Butler website. He has a master's degree in special education from Liberty University in Virginia, and an undergraduate degree in public relations from a college in New York state."

He withheld that Butler's website states he continued his studies and received a specialist in education degree in educational psychology, and applied cognition and development from the University of Georgia. Furthermore, if Johnson were to access the Internet and view Benedict's Georgia Educator Certificate, he would notice he is licensed to teach, among other content areas, P-12 social science, which includes economics, government and history.

Mr. Johnson owes Mr. Benedict an apology.

Brett McGuire

Appling

Guest columnist carried light credentials

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