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Businessman and Johns Creek resident Mark Gonsalves talks about his candidacy for the 7th Congressional District seat which will be open in the 2020 elections. He is running as a  Republican and is one of several candidates from both major political parties who have already launched their campaigns.

Johns Creek resident Mark Gonsalves may be running for Congress as a Republican, but he doesn’t shy away from suggesting that the GOP may have lost touch a bit with its fiscal conservative roots.

In fact, it’s the first thing he brought up when asked during a recent interview why he was running for Congress.

“I don’t really see anybody standing up to take on these hard issues,” Gonsalves said. “Nobody is talking about the fiscal irresponsibility of where we are now. We were the party at one point that had fiscal discipline, right? We were the party of smaller government. We were the party of balanced budgets. We were the ones that were willing to impose some restraint.

“That’s not what’s happening today. I don’t know what happened to those principles, but I can tell you there are an awful lot of people that still believe in those principles.”

Gonsalves is one of several Republicans who are jumping into the field for next year’s open 7th Congressional District race. Several candidates have emerged — and continue to emerge — seeking the GOP’s nomination to replace U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., who will retire at the end of next year following a 10-year stint in Congress.

Gonsalves lives approximately on the line separating the 6th and 7th congressional districts but he did not rule out the possibility of he and his wife moving into Gwinnett and the district soon. While candidates have already begun announcing their plans to run for the seat, official qualifying to run for the office won’t be held until spring 2020.

Meanwhile, Gonsalves is outlining the issues that he feels are the most pressing to the nation right now.

Fiscal responsibility and tackling the national debt is one of those issues, as is border security; transparency with American citizens; and addressing the opioid crisis.

Health care is another big issue that Gonsalves wants to tackle.

As the former head of a nutraceutical company who has since led two health and wellness companies, he has a lot to say about healthcare issues in the U.S., particularly on the need for transparency in both pricing and outcomes.

“I’ve been preaching for many, many years pricing transparency,” he said. “Everybody is talking about single-payer health care, repeal and replace and we’re missing the forest through the trees.

“The 800-pound gorilla in the room is the unsustainable economics of healthcare. It’s 18% of our gross domestic product. When I was young, it was (4%). That was a sustainable number. It’s no longer sustainable. We’re bankrupting families all over the place with these high deductibles. It’s criminal what we’ve allowed (to) happen.”

Border security and immigration may be one of the key issues in the 7th Congressional District race in 2020. Much of the district is in Gwinnett, which has large ethnic diversity.

Their are also ongoing debates on immigration crackdowns, both at the national level as well as the local level with push back against the participation of the Gwinnett Sheriff’s Office in the federal 287(g) immigration program.

Gonsalves, whose grandparents came through Ellis Island and whose mother-in-law immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan, said part of border security includes enforcing existing immigration laws rather than pursuing an open border policy.

“Job one is we have to secure our borders, we have to be able to enforce our visa laws and we have to acknowledge that a sovereign nation has the right — I would say it’s an obligation — to enforce its immigration policy,” Gonsalves said.

“Once we’ve done those things ... we can sit down and discuss who can be a guest worker and who could and should be put on a path to citizenship.”

Gonsalves’ campaign website can be found at MarkCongress2020.com.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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