Voters have a choice between a community activist, a former prosecutor, a retired postmaster and a businessman for Gwinnett’s newest legislator.
The House District 104 special election, which will be held Nov. 5 for eastern Gwinnett, pits a varying cast of characters for the role, which Rep. Donna Sheldon left earlier this year to focus her attention on a congressional campaign.
All four espouse conservative Republican values in the nonpartisan race.
“My political philosophy is simple: those who represent the people should be accessible to the people and accountable to the people,” said Teresa Cantrell, who spent years serving on the local PTA and the Gwinnett Planning Commission. “Representatives should have a broad base of experience and a hands-on approach.”
The mother of four said education is her top priority.
Cantrell can trace her family roots in Gwinnett to the mid-1800s, but she isn’t the only candidate with deep ties to the community.
Tim Puckett, also a native to the area, served as the Dacula’s postmaster for decades.
“I have a servant’s heart, proven by years of past public service, a lifetime commitment to the area and only have the interest to represent the citizens of House District 104 in the General Assembly,” said Puckett, who also rates education as his top priority.
The youngest candidate in the race at age 30, Chuck Efstration also grew up in Dacula. The former chairman of the Gwinnett GOP said he has the energy to tackle the position.
“We need energetic leadership to deliver bold, conservative reforms that will foster job growth and secure a prosperous future for our families,” said Efstration, a former prosecutor who now has a private law practice. “This has never been more important as Obamacare and other job-killing policies from Washington are forced on Georgia.”
Todd Tyson, a registered respiratory therapist who owns a home medical supply company, said health care is his top priority.
“Should I be elected, I would like to focus on health care issues such as the Affordable Health Care Act, Georgia Medicaid, State Employees Health Benefit Plan and Private Managed Care in Georgia as they relate to offering quality health care, reining in cost and wasteful spending,” Tyson said, adding that as a businessman whose company employs 110 people, he has the know-how to tackle tough budget questions.
House District 104 Special election
Education: Norcross High School; Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts from Georgia State University; some additional coursework
Occupation: Small Business Owner and Mother
Political Experience: Gwinnett County Planning Commission 2001-2005 & 2007-2010
Family: Husband Mike; four children
Education: Greater Atlanta Christian School; University of Georgia, Bachelor of Arts; Mercer Law School, Juris Doctor
Occupation: Owner of a Small Business Law Firm
Political Experience: Former Chairman of the Gwinnett County Republican Party
Family: Engaged to marry Ashley Leachman
Education: Dacula High School, Associates degree from Gainesville Junior College
Occupation: Retired United States Postmaster Dacula Ga
Political Experience: None
Family: Wife Janice; two grown children; two grandchildren
Education: Forest Park High School; Associate’s degree from Clayton Junior College; Bachelors in Cardiopulmonary Science from Georgia State University
Occupation: Business Owner Hi-Tech Healthcare, President/CEO/Founder
Political Experience: industry advocate in D.C.
Family: Wife Lauren; four children, Brandon, 26, Drew, 24, Brooke, 14, and Olivia,