LOGANVILLE -- The four men vying for a state House seat agree the economy is the biggest issue for the Loganville/Grayson area.
Voters will choose among them -- a minister, a businessman, an Army reservist and a former school board member -- in a special election Tuesday. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout District 107.
"I have complained for the past seven years, as a School Board member for Walton County, that the state was too involved in local issues," Mark Banks said about stepping into the race. "Unfunded mandates leave local systems struggling to balance an already economically squeezed budget. Sometimes if you don't agree with the way the ship is going, you should at least attempt to change the sails."
All of the candidates have been involved in the community for years and felt the resignation of long-time Rep. Len Walker, who left to become pastor of the chapel at Big Canoe, gave an opportunity to give back more.
"It is easy to sit at home and complain about how bad things are, but I decided I would do my part to move the state of Georgia in the right direction by running for this office," said minister Paul Smith. "I believe we need a conservative leader who is committed to doing the right thing. It's time to get our fiscal house in order, focus on creating opportunity for hardworking people and stand strong for our conservative values."
Michael Lynch, a former Loganville councilman, said his military and political experience would help him in the role.
"I have the broadest knowledge of the issues affecting the district and am most prepared to address the problems through collaborative work with the other members of the legislature," he said. "My experience in the civilian workforce, the military and in local politics make me the most well-rounded candidate for this position. I have spent my life serving others and will continue to do so as the District 107 Representative. While serving in the local arena I maintained open dialogue with all of the residents of Loganville and I will do the same for all of the residents of District 107."
Tom Kirby said ethics need to be brought back to the Gold Dome.
"I decided to run in this election because we need representatives that are more concerned with doing what is right and not self serving," said Kirby, who touted his business experience as a plus for the job. "Too often those elected have looked at what's in it for me first and not what is best for the people. I have a servant's attitude. I believe it is time that representatives remember we are servants of the people we represent. We are elected to serve them, to be held accountable to them."
Occupation: Golf course superintendent
Education: high school
Political experience: Walton County School Board member for seven years, including two as chairman
Family: Wife Sheila; Daughters April Banks Harrison, 31, Dori Banks Davis, 28, Brittany Banks, 17
Occupation: Human resources safety manager for CertainTeed Corporation
Education: Bachelor’s degree in agriculture economics from the University of Kentucky
Political experience: None
Family: Wife Rosemary; Daughters Courtney, 22, Leslie, 18, Peyton, 11
Occupation: Sales and Marketing; United States Army Reserve Medical Officer
Education: BA in Psychology; Nearing completion on MA in Leadership and Management
Political experience: Loganville City Council 2008-10
Family: Wife Michelle; Children Andrea, Alexandra and Conrad
Paul A. Smith
Education: Bachelor of Arts and Master of Ministry Degrees
Political experience: None
Family: Wife Tammy; Children Rachel, 19, Julia, 17