Originally created 11/05/06

Public Service Commission candidates



Question: How can the PSC address rising fuel costs?

David Burgess (I) - Dist. 3 Democrat

On the supply side, fuel diversity is the key. We must encourage the development of alternative fuels and renewables. On the demand side, we must encourage conservation, promote the usage of energy-efficient appliances and improve customer education in the areas of weatherization, consumer protections and financial-assistance programs.

Chuck Eaton Jr. - Dist. 3 Republican

The PSC will need to be more pro-active and forward thinking to ensure Georgians have diverse and multiple supply sources of energy. Traditional energy sources are becoming scarce, and other countries, such as China and India, are starting to compete for our fuel.

Paul MacGregor - Dist. 3 Libertarian

The PSC should require utilities to employ standard risk-management practices by balancing their supply resources to include nonfossil-fired generation to hedge against future fuel-price increases. This is equivalent to keeping a percentage of a personal investment portfolio in cash and bonds to manage stock market risk.

Kevin Cherry - Dist. 5 Libertarian

Promoting energy conservation and increased efficiency will reduce demand, while diversity in supplies and increased renewable sources will minimize price spikes. Suppressing taxes on energy during emergencies, such as Hurricane Katrina, would also provide relief to energy costs. That is the free-market solution.

Dawn Randolph - Dist. 5 Democrat

This past January, I got a $400 gas bill. The PSC needs to do more to address energy efficiency and conservation. We need to become energy independent from foreign oil. The PSC should promote strong alternative/clean fuels and evaluate if we have responsible competition or price gauging.

Stan Wise (I) - Dist. 5 Republican

We have to diversify our energy mix to avoid the recent price spikes. By adopting a comprehensive energy strategy that finds new sources of natural gas, increases LNG (liquefied natural gas) imports, invests in clean coal technologies and expands nuclear generation, we can bring utility prices to a more affordable level.

Question: Should a public service commissioner be banned from accepting donations from those working in the industry?

David Burgess (I) - Dist. 3 Democrat

Public service commissioners should follow the laws established for accepting campaign donations. Currently, the law does not prohibit persons working in the industry from contributing to candidates of their choice. If the Legislature passes a law which bans such contributions, I would adhere to it.

Chuck Eaton Jr. - Dist. 3 Republican

I don't know if, constitutionally, you could ban a group of people from personally giving to a campaign. What's important is full disclosure, and it's unfortunate that some candidates choose to hide their contributions from the public by not submitting the legally required contributor information.

Paul MacGregor - Dist. 3 Libertarian

Public service commissioners should be banned from accepting donations from any individual from a company that is regulated by the commission. However, other industry members who have unique knowledge and expertise to improve Georgia's utility services should not be excluded from participating in the democratic process.

Kevin Cherry - Dist. 6 Libertarian

Banning donations to campaigns is a violation of individuals' First Amendment rights; however, I believe, while it may be legal, it is unethical for a sitting commissioner to accept these donations. As your PSC commissioner, I pledge to never accept donations from utility executives and their lobbyists.

Dawn Randolph - Dist. 6 Democrat

Absolutely. Commissioners should not take money from the people they regulate. I choose not to accept donations for my campaign from executives, lawyers or lobbyists who work for utility companies. I believe there is an ethical standard. Just because it is legal doesn't make it morally correct.

Stan Wise (I) - Dist. 6 Republican

It is a felony for a regulated utility in Georgia to contribute to a race for Public Service Commission, as it should be. Rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, however, generally protect the free speech right of an individual to make political contributions from personal funds no matter one's employment.

Question: Do you support adding nuclear-power facilities in the state?

David Burgess (I) - Dist. 3 Democrat

By law, the commission is required to certify the least-cost generation to meet the demand for electricity in the state. The cost of nuclear generation has become competitive with coal- and gas-fired units. Given the price volatility of fossil fuels, all options should be seriously considered.

Chuck Eaton Jr. - Dist. 3 Republican

Georgia requires a diverse mixture of power generation to ensure competitive rates. Nuclear power is already a vital source, and at some point, we will probably need to add capacity. Before spending billions of dollars, the PSC will need to conduct a thorough overview on any proposed nuclear project.

Paul MacGregor - Dist. 3 Libertarian

I worked with GE Nuclear Energy for several years, and I can attest that nuclear plants are safe, with low operational costs and no environmental air emissions. But they are by far the most expensive nonrenewable generation. If it were the lowest-cost, risk-adjusted option, I would support adding nuclear plants.

Kevin Cherry - Dist. 6 Libertarian

Building additional nuclear facilities is a decision for Wall Street to make. The power company and their stockholders will be making the profits in these endeavors, and the cost is their responsibility. I do not support expanding nuclear power on the backs of Georgia ratepayers and taxpayers.

Dawn Randolph - Dist. 6 Democrat

To say that we shouldn't consider nuclear generation is a mistake. To say that nuclear solves all our problems is a bigger mistake. Georgia needs a comprehensive and robust energy policy that gives equal consideration to using energy efficiently, generating energy efficiently and delivering energy efficiently to homes and businesses.

Stan Wise (I) - Dist. 6 Republican

I support efforts to build new units at existing nuclear generation sites. We have to consider cost, environmental impacts, water resources, community acceptance, geological considerations and safety issues before moving forward. With minimal emissions and stable pricing, nuclear generation provides clean and affordable energy while protecting our environment.

CANDIDATE PROFILES - DIST. 3

David Burgess (I) - Dist. 3 Democrat

Age: 48

Residence: Decatur

Political experience: Appointed to vacant seat on Public Service Commission, 1999; elected to PSC, 2000

Profession: Public service commissioner; former department staff member

Education: Bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering, Georgia Tech

Family: Wife, Phyllis; two daughters

Chuck Eaton Jr. - Dist. 3 Republican

Age: 37

Residence: Atlanta

Political experience: None

Profession: Realtor

Education: Accounting degree, University of Alabama

Family: Wife, Erika

Paul MacGregor - Dist. 3 Libertarian

Age: 47

Residence: Johns Creek

Political experience: None

Profession: Vice president of renewable energy provider

Education: Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering, Georgia Tech

Family: Wife, Maria; one daughter

CANDIDATE PROFILES - DIST. 5

Kevin Cherry - Dist. 6 Libertarian

Age: 45

Residence: Douglasville

Political experience: None

Profession: Wildlife control manager

Education: Technical degree in pest management, DeKalb Technical College; studied biology at Florida Community College at Jacksonville

Family: Wife, Sandra; three sons

Dawn Randolph - Dist. 6 Democrat

Age: 40

Residence: Stockbridge

Political experience: Congressional aide to former Sen. Sam Nunn

Profession: Consultant, lobbyist

Education: Bachelor's degree in international political science, Penn State University; master's degree in public administration, Georgia State University

Family: Husband, Chris

Stan Wise (I) - Dist. 6 Republican

Age: 54

Residence: Marietta

Political experience: Georgia public service commissioner since 1995 and current chairman, previously served as Cobb County commissioner

Profession: Former insurance business owner

Education: Degree in business management from Charleston Southern University

Family: Wife, Denise; two children