Republican Breakfast: Candidates outline their viewsBy SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Four candidates for local elected office spoke at Saturday’s meeting of the Coweta County Republican Party.
Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, R-3rd District, and Darryl Marmon are in contested races that will be decided in the July 31 Republican Primary.
Westmoreland, who lives near Grantville, has two Republican challengers: Kent Kingsley of Milner and Chip Flanegan of Jonesboro. Kingsley spoke at last month’s Coweta GOP breakfast.
Marmon is one of two candidates for the Georgia House District 71 seat being vacated by Billy Horne.
The other candidate, Robert Stokely, will be speaking at the July Coweta GOP meeting.
King is running against State Rep. Carl Von Epps, D-LaGrange. Von Epps’ district 132 now covers the southwest portion of Coweta County.
Marlowe is running against Coweta Commissioner Al Smith, the county’s only elected Democrat.
• Lynn Westmoreland
Westmoreland’s presentation was mostly about current goings-on in Congress, and the possibility of the Republicans taking over the Senate, as well as the presidency, after this year’s election.
“There’s been a lot going on,” Westmoreland said. He’s on the select intelligence committee, which has been meeting extensively.
The House is also “working on our community bank problem.”
A hearing was held on structured loan agreements, and Congress is now looking at the “loss share” agreements with banks that take over failing banks. The FDIC insures losses up to 95 percent, then the banks sell the loans for pennies on the dollar, Westmoreland said. House Republicans want to pass a law that gives the borrower the right of first refusal when a loan is sold.
He also talked about the recent failed attempt to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. “It was like watching your enemy commit suicide,” Westmoreland said. “If you watched the election returns and saw the people they were interviewing from the unions, and Democrats up thereâ ¦ they can’t admit their policies are wrong. They’ve got to blame somebody else,” he said.
Westmoreland was asked what the predictions are for Republican gains in the Senate. A delegation meeting was recently held, with staff members from the offices of Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss.
“They feel pretty confident” that there will be 51 Republicans in the Senate. “They only started feeling really well about that after Wisconsin,” he said.
“I’ll ask for your vote right now,” Westmoreland said. “You’re the people that hire me,” he said. “I appreciate your vote. I try to work hard, and I take it very seriously.”
• Darryl Marmon
Marmon grew up in Marietta and earned an accounting degree — but after working in the field he decided he didn’t like it and went to law school. He met his wife, the former Lisa Turner of Newnan, when he was a senior in college. Marmon coaches baseball for his son Alex, 6. Also, “I play softball — or try to,” Marmon said.
Over the past several years, Marmon has watched friends who thought they were secure lose their jobs; he’s also witnessed strong marriages suffer because of financial pressure.
He thinks now is a time that conservatives can help the economy improve, on both the national and state level.
“I’m running to bring conservative principles to the Georgia House,” Marmon said. “There’s a lot of conservatives in the Georgia House. But there is a whole lot of legislation that gets passed that isn’t conservative at all.”
The Republicans need to start passing laws that make sense, that strengthen the economy, and that strengthen families, Marmon said. If they don’t, the Democrats will regain control.
The state government has to have a balanced budget, but sometimes it is balanced by sending mandates down to the local governments — and making them pay for it.
“I don’t think the state should stick the local level with burdensome regulations and costly projects,” Marmon said.
• Gene King
This will be King’s second run against Carl Von Epps, who has served in the Georgia House since 1992.
King, who lived in Coweta for many years before moving to Meriwether County in 1999, ran against Von Epps in 2008, becoming the first Republican to ever run for office in Meriwether County. He got 46 percent of the vote — and the endorsement of the president of Meriwether County’s NAACP.
King said then Speaker of the House Glen Richardson sent someone to try and figure out how a Republican was getting the endorsement of the NAACP president.
“The answer is that they are not endorsing a party, they are endorsing a person who represents everybody equally,” King said.
With redistricting, Von Epps lost some of his strongholds, and picked up part of Coweta.
“I’m going to need the Republican party of Coweta County’s help,” King said. “We can unseat Von Epps.”
King said he would like to “hit the ground running.”
“I’m not going to be a ‘yes’ man or a ‘no’ man,” King said. He is running because his heart is in it, and he is running for the future of Georgia’s children.
And he promised: “I’ll never be influenced by lobbyists or the money. I’m going to do what’s right,” King said. There was a bill in the House this year related to caps on lobbyist gifts, and “they couldn’t even pass it,” King said. “I would have stood upâ ¦ and asked, ‘What have you got to hide?’” King said.
• Hayden Marlowe
Marlowe, who will turn 22 next month, said he originally wanted to run against Smith as an independent but could not meet the signature requirements.
He has a 2-year-old daughter and “things have changed since she was born,” he said. Marlowe was in college on a baseball scholarship, but left to work for his father’s vending company after his daughter was born.
“I feel like I can transfer those business skills” to serving on the county commission “so we can get something done on the local level,” Marlowe said.
He’s concerned about government waste.
Marlowe said he’s also representing the youth vote. Young people are not really participating in the Republican party, he said, and that needs to change.
“Things are starting to turn, as far as I can see, into the Libertarian side of things, and getting away from the Republican Party,” he said.
Marlowe said he doesn’t have any specifics right now, “however, I would love your support.”
He was asked his opinion on an ordinance before the commission regulating the height of grass on all residential properties in the county.
Marlowe said he believes government should have as little influence into the private lives of individuals as possible. Government should take care of things such as law enforcement, education and the military, and stop trying to put rules such as regulating the height of grass on people.
“It’s starting to affect us all very badly,” he said.