Originally created 09/07/02

Hopefuls say experience counts



ATHENS, Ga. - Experience was the theme for 12th Congressional District hopefuls at a candidates forum in Athens.

A full chapel gathered at the Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Thursday to hear two Augusta Democrats - Ben Allen, a state representative, and Charles "Champ" Walker Jr., the son of state Sen. Majority Leader Charles Walker. The two face off in Tuesday's runoff that will determine the Democratic nominee for the 12th Congressional District seat.

The sprawling district runs through Athens and southern parts of Augusta, then heads south to the northern side of Savannah.

The winner will face Republican Max Burns in the Nov. 5 general election for a seat representing the 14 counties.

Referring to his seven years of experience as a state representative, Mr. Allen said he possesses the three requirements necessary to be an effective leader in the 12th District.

"I possess proven leadership abilities, experience and integrity," said Mr. Allen."The bottom line is this is a platform of experience."

Mr. Walker said his experience as a successful businessman is a better background because he knows"how to get things done."

"I have a combination of experience that makes all the difference in D.C.," Mr. Walker said."My competitor talks about experience. Experience doesn't count unless you have the track record to back it up."

Reach Janis Reid at (404) 589-8424 or mnews@mindspring.com.