Newcomer challenges Linder
Heckman takes on Rep.

The race for the 7th Congressional District of Georgia pits incumbent Republican John Linder against Democrat Doug Heckman.

District 7 includes the majority of Gwinnett, Walton and Barrow counties, along with portions of Newton and Forsyth.

Linder, a former dentist and businessman, hopes to return to the District 7 post and add to his 32 years experience in elected office. He stresses what he calls a "revolutionary" FairTax bill, which abolishes all federal income taxes in favor of a single sales tax, and a 21st Century Water Commission Act, which he's passed through Congress twice before.

"I have big ideas," Linder said. "I stand for conservative principles and smaller government ... my opponent runs to join Nancy Pelosi and her liberal agenda."

That opponent, Heckman, is a political newcomer who boasts nearly 30 years military experience, much of that in a leadership capacity. A West Point graduate, Heckman negotiated the beginning stages of the recent "surge" military effort in Iraq and helped to convince Iraqi leaders to support ongoing efforts there, he said.

After his return from Iraqi last year, Heckman was determined to continue his service to his country after witnessing "what was going on in Washington with our dysfunctional, partisan government," he said.

"I'm a problem solver, and I bring a spirit of service that inspires people to work together," Heckman said. "I would bring that same attitude and experience to Congress."

Linder said, on a yearly basis, he and his staff help thousands of Americans to navigate problems in their lives caused by breakdowns in the federal government. Serving his constituency is the bedrock of his efforts in public office, he said.

"Being in a position to help my constituents on a personal level when times are at their toughest is among the most important work I do," Linder said.

As a civilian, Heckman works as a managing director for a $40 billion asset management firm - experience he feels will serve him well if elected.

"We're in unprecedented territory when it comes to the financial condition of our country," said Heckman. "We owe it to our children and grandchildren to fix a broken system."