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District 7 hopefuls talk issues

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Rob Woodall said his experience has equipped him with the know-how he'll need to effectively tackle the challenges he knows he'll face if elected to Congress. Jody Hice said his passion and love for this country and the Constitution will fuel his fight to curb a federal government he describes as out of control.

The two remaining Republican candidates for the 7th District of the U.S. House of Representatives shared their views on the economy, transportation, education, immigration and more during a debate Monday evening at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. About 175 people attended the event organized by the Gwinnett County Republican Party.

Hice and Woodall, the top vote-getters in the July 20 primary, will face each other in an Aug. 10 runoff election. Both are vying for the congressional seat that was vacated by U.S. Rep. John Linder's retirement.

Woodall, who served for 10 years as Linder's chief of staff, said the voters need to hire him for the job if they support the FairTax system.

"To me, the FairTax has never been a tax bill," Woodall said. "It is a freedom bill. It is a jobs bill. ... If you send me to Washington, I will expand the FairTax to reaches it has never before seen."

If elected, Woodall said he will seek an appointment to the rules committee, "the only committee in the U.S. House of Representatives that gets to touch every single piece of legislation that comes to the House floor." He said he would also fight to bring transparency to the process of creating laws.

"Our good ideas ought to be able to withstand scrutiny," he said.

Hice also said he's a strong believer in accountability. He said he wants to renew the focus on the "three most important words in the U.S. Constitution" -- "We, the people."

The economy tops the list of Hice's concerns, and he said a free enterprise system is the solution to the nation's current economic crisis.

"It seems to me that much more common sense thinking is needed (rather) than the bureaucratic thinking we currently have, the socialist thinking we currently have," he said.

Hice said the way to revive the economy is to cut taxes and limit the federal government's regulations.

"I believe the fiscal irresponsibility we are currently witnessing is criminal," he said. "We are watching fiscal irresponsibility on steroids, and I believe it's got to stop."