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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: U.S. Rep. Woodall calls out Obama on budget, debt

Rob Woodall

Rob Woodall

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Don Balfour

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P.K. Martin

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Lynette Howard

While many of Georgia’s leaders have taken aims at the FY 2015 budget released by President Obama last week for one item that is missing — funding for the expansion of the port of Savannah — a Gwinnett congressman is unhappy with what is in it.

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, issued a statement that he is disappointed the president didn’t do more to tackle the national debt.

“President Obama’s budget is a very clear indicator of his priorities, and regrettably he has not demonstrated any intent to restore fiscal responsibility in Washington,” Woodall said. “His budget increases federal spending by $791 billion in the budget window and repudiates the budget agreement he signed into law just three months ago in December, exceeding its caps by $56 billion in 2015 alone. Since 2009, the federal government has borrowed and additional $6.8 trillion, and the president’s budget promises never to balance while adding another $8.3 trillion in debt over the next 10 years alone.

“There is never a shortage of discussion or disagreement on the allocation of federal dollars in Washington, but it is patently irresponsible for any budget to add over $8 trillion, certainly to an existing national debt of over $17 trillion,” Woodall said

“We did not arrive at our current financial state overnight, but there must be a sincere effort on both sides of the aisle to confront Washington’s spending problem and correct the behavior that got us to this point. The president’s budget not only fails to move the nation in the direction of financial stability, but also worsens matters by saddling the next generation with nearly 50 percent more debt,” he added. “In 2006, then-Senator Obama said of President Bush’s budgets, we are ‘shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.’ Then-Senator Obama was right to demand better from President Bush, and I am right to demand leadership from President Obama.”

Balfour, Martin make vows to voters

In case you missed the news last week, the 2014 campaign season has officially begun, with dozens of politicians throwing their hats in the ring during qualifying week.

“After nearly five months of being in this race, it was exciting to make it ‘official’ on Wednesday. I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from people all over the district, and I look forward to continuing to work hard to win this race and provide the people of this district with the ethical, conservative leadership they deserve,” said P.K. Martin, who is set to square off against incumbent Sen. Don Balfour and former Commissioner Mike Beaudreau in the Republican primary in May.

While Martin has been working to gain support, Balfour has as well, releasing a list of endorsements from the entire Senate Republican Leadership Team on the day he filed his qualifying papers.

“Don Balfour is one of the Senate’s most experienced and distinguished members and he has stood strong for our shared conservative principles and delivered for Gwinnett County,” Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said about his colleague. “It is an honor to endorse him for re-election and I strongly encourage the voters of the 9th District to send him back to the Senate to continue to fight for them.”

Balfour also received endorsements from the Senate’s, President Pro Tem David Shafer, Majority Leader Ronnie Chance, Republican Caucus Chair Butch Miller, Majority Whip Cecil Staton, Republican Caucus Vice-Chair Judson Hill, Majority Deputy Whip Buddy Carter and Republican Caucus Secretary Steve Gooch.

Balfour thanked the GOP officials and vowed to continue fighting for conservative principles and the people of his district.

“I have always run for this office with one goal — serving the people,” Balfour said. “I gave up my legislative pension and reduced my own pay because I didn’t come here for money — I came here to stand up for conservative principles. If the people again honor me with their votes, I will return to the Capitol to keep fighting for them and no one else, no matter the cost.”

Martin had a promise to voters as well.

“If elected, my pledge to the people of District 9 is simple: I will honor my oath of office; I will hold myself to a high ethical standard; I will be open, accessible and transparent; I will listen to the people and champion our interests; I will always reflect our conservative values; I will work to restore the public’s trust, lead by example and make you proud,” he said.

Howard to hear from constituents

Gwinnett Commissioner Lynette Howard will tour her District 2 community beginning this week to hear from constituents.

Howard has set five listen and learn sessions to hear from people and update them on government issues.

The meetings — each set for 7 p.m. — begin this week, with a Monday session at Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center in Norcross and a Tuesday meeting at Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center on Britt Road in Norcross. On March 17, Howard will be at Lilburn City Hall, while events are set for April 21 at the Five Forks branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library and April 23 at Mountain Park Depot.

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

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.