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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Candidate challenges health care vote

With Gwinnett's Chamber of Commerce encouraging people to lobby legislators against a likely vote this week for health care reform in Congress, a local candidate is challenging one of Gwinnett's congressman to change his stance on the proposal.

Liz Carter, a Republican who is running against incumbent Hank Johnson for the District 4 seat, said voting no would be doing what is best for the constituents, which include members of the Lilburn and Norcross community.

"This is an attempt by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hank Johnson and other Washington elites to short circuit the system," Carter said in a press release. "Hank Johnson knows this is not the right way to pass legislation, and he knows this is not the right bill for the American people. Moving for reconciliation on a bill that includes payoffs to specific States, deals for special interest groups, and that will penalize the American people is wrong. You simply don't pass a bill and then say you'll fix it later."

Carter said common sense should be used to address the issue, and that Johnson would "do more harm than good" by following Washington Democrats.

"(Johnson) and the rest of the Washington liberals will wreck the already-damaged worlds of small businesses and entrepreneurship," said Carter, adding that the bill would hurt the economy. "Georgians need to make a real change and elect a Congressional leader that is focused on their needs and interests, not just pleasing political party leaders and special interest groups."

Education leaders endorse Casas

State Rep. David Casas has the backing of State School Superintendent Kathy Cox in his race for Senate.

Cox praised Casas, a former public school teacher, for his leadership on education reform.

"There isn't a stronger advocate for students than David Casas," Cox said. "As a former teacher, he is incredibly qualified to craft education policy and help in our quest to improve education for all Georgia children."

In his race to replace state Sen. Don Balfour, who is running for Congress, Casas also has endorsements from the heads of both the House and Senate Education Committees.

Rep. Brooks Coleman and Sen. Dan Weber, both of whom represent Gwinnett, pledged support, along with the county's representative on the State Board of Education, Jose Perez, and Loganville Rep. Len Walker who chairs the House Higher Education Committee.

"David has shown he will do everything he possibly can to improve education in Georgia," Coleman said. "We hate to lose him in the House, but the Senate will be fortunate to have such a policy expert on the team."

Casas is the sponsor of legislation this session that would give school districts more flexibility during tough economic times to spend education funds.

Candidate comes to town

Secretary of State candidate Gary Horlacher will be in Gwinnett on Friday, as part of his tour of all 159 counties in Georgia.

Horlacher said he would visit the county courthouse and present his pitch to voters, as well as listening to concerns from officials such as the voter registrar and mayor.

"I'm really serious about zipping the lip and listening," Horlacher said.

The Democrat, who grew up in Fayette County, has gained traction with his ethics reform proposal. He even took a polygraph conducted by a Federal Bureau of Investigation retiree on "the questions politicians don't like to answer."

For more information about Horlacher, go to garyforsecretary.com.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.