Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Carl Camon's Campaign Platform for Governor. Just Released Today
“Bringing Hope To All of Georgia”
HOPE – In my own words, hope is in some ways a strong anticipation regarding something that has not yet materialized; it is having faith and believing that whatever is desired will happen. Our victory has not yet come to fruition, but we can feel within our spirit, through hope that victory is imminent.
H – Help – Our campaign of hope realizes that it is imperative to offer help to those who are in need. The people of our state are in need of a leader. One who is ready, willing, and able to
provide that help. Together, we will help restore education and the economy, build
strong families, and lay the groundwork for a viable high-speed railway system, which will
connect all of Georgia. As Governor of Georgia, I will rely on your help to safeguard those
sacred morals and values, from upon, which our state was founded. I will need your help to
change politics as usual in our state. I will need your help to facilitate our bold new
approach to governance in Georgia. How can one be an effective governor, without
knowing the needs of the governed.
O – Optimistic - One who is hopeful is also optimistic about the situation at hand. Hope creates
optimism, which creates action, which creates results. Without hope, there is no optimism,
and without optimism, it is difficult to fathom what is possible. Our quest to bring
hope to all of Georgia will continue to aggressively promote a spirit of optimism
throughout the course of our campaign. We will continue to reach beyond defined
boundaries, for the benefit of future generations of Georgians.
P – People – People are the catalyst that drives our ambition to restore credibility to our state
government. The voice of the people must be heard at the highest levels of government;
anything less, would jeopardize the very core of the true meaning of democracy. The
power must be returned back to the people, where it belongs. By returning that power
back to the people, this will ensure that my children and yours will continue to live in a
safe and secure Georgia, a proactive and progressive Georgia; a Georgia that we can all be
proud to call home.
E – Endure – As Georgians, we have no other recourse but to endure. We are strong and with a
great leader at the helm of our state, we can become even stronger. Our campaign of hope
invites White Georgians, Black Georgians, Hispanic Georgians, and all other Georgians to
take their rightful place of leadership within our state. Georgians are resilient and will
endure this economic storm. Brighter days are ahead, so we must go on by the power that is
within all of us.
Carl Camon’s Commitment To Education
What better person to represent educators, than one who has Fifteen years experience in education? I don’t have to speculate on what happens in the classroom, because I have been in the classroom and I have first hand experience working with teachers, because I am a teacher. I have first hand experience in the process of educating students and positive contributing to their lives because I have helped to educate hundreds of students over the years. If given the opportunity to become the next Governor of Georgia, I will make a commitment to teach a lesson in a classroom in at least one school in every county in Georgia over the course of my four years in office. In order for me to keep education at the forefront of our administration, I will spend a great deal of my time where the education is taking place, and that is in Georgia’s public school’s. I will not fight against education, but I will work on behalf of educators and those receiving the education. My goal is to return authority back to our classroom teachers and allow them to be creative in their approach to increasing student achievement. The majority of the problems that we are dealing with in our state today can be linked to a lack of education. As governor, I will work to fully fund Quality Based Education (QBE). It is difficult for one to be specific in terms of what they are going to do with resources, if they don’t know what resources will be available to them by the time they take office. Regardless of what is available for use upon taking the reins of leadership of our state, there is one promise that I will make, and that to use those resources to benefit the citizens of Georgia first. I will lead by example by pledging a total of $20,000.00 ($5,000.00 per year) of my Governor’s salary, over a period of four years, to be used toward educational scholarships for deserving high school graduates. I’ve had the opportunity to graduate from college five times, and so I feel that it is my duty to help someone else share that experience at least once.
Carl’s Plan To Reform Education in Georgia
Restore authority back to classroom teachers and give them the flexibility to be creative in their approach to teaching, and give students the tools they need to be successful, therefore increasing student achievementUpon the increase of sustainable student achievement in Georgia, work toward increasing pay for Georgia’s teachers to at least the national averageStandardized tests are not always the best indicator of intelligence. We will ensure that tests used in Georgia have proven standards of validity and reliability. If not, we will work with the teachers to create new methods of evaluation. Our administration will focus more on teaching and learning, and remove the overwhelming stress factor from our studentsFocus on early intervention, by continuing the support of the Lottery Funded Georgia Pre-K Program, to include Pre-K teachers and Resource CoordinatorsProvide continued support, expansion, and protection for the HOPE Scholarship Program and support university/college and technical college students in their endeavors to further their education Explore the possibilities and provide necessary support of more "Green Schools" (Wind, Solar Energy, Green Building Products) for greater educational savings, and use those savings to fully fund Quality Based EducationSupport a plan that will allow teachers, who choose to, to retire after 25 years of service, therefore saving money by reducing the number of higher paid teachers, and use those savings to fully fund Quality Based EducationSupport a plan that will phase out alternative schools over a period of time, and return eligible students back into the classroom with extra supports. Partner with local technical colleges and offer an alternate technical education program, for those students who will be best suited for this service, so that they may receive adequate training necessary to become gainfully employed, and use those savings to fully fund Quality Based EducationReduce the number of repeaters, therefore reducing the “Double Dip QBE Effect”, and use those savings to fully fund Quality Based EducationIdentify current ineffective programs and services under state control and streamline or discontinue the ones that are proven to be ineffective and use those savings to fully fund Quality Based EducationCarl Camon’s Commitment to Georgia’s Economy
It is no secret that we are experiencing a global economic recession. Georgia has experienced a three billion dollar budget deficit, with additional cuts forecasted. Proactive measures would not have totally prevented our state from feeling the effects of this economic downturn, but it would have provided reasonable reserves that would have lessened the brunt of impact to our state’s economy. Georgia is currently experiencing double-digit unemployment rates, which in turn causes citizens to make various demands for public services, such as food stamps and healthcare coverage, which further strains the state budget. As governor, our first economic priority will be to put Georgians back to work by creating new jobs, so that they will be able to provide food and care for their families. You deserve to have a forward thinking governor, one who will work toward providing educational opportunities that result in high paying jobs, therefore reducing the level of poverty in Georgia. You deserve to have a governor who will ensure that our state is prepared for the possibility of future economic downturns. I am the only candidate for governor who has served as mayor of a city. I have the experience of preparing and balancing a budget. I have cut wasteful spending and increased reserves during my five terms as mayor. It is clear to me that the state operates on a much larger level, but sound accounting principles apply to every level of government. I understand the needs of cities and people at the local level, which collectively make up our state as a whole. I realize that cities are the economic engine that drives Georgia’s economy. As Georgia’s next Governor, I will invest in the infrastructure of cities so they will continue to have the ability to increase economic development, which will foster economic growth and provide tax dollars that will keep our state’s economy intact for generations to come.
Carl’s Plan For Economic Reform In Georgia
1. Restore accountability and transparency in our state government, as well as ensure that we are fiscally responsible, so that we may lead by example. Prioritize what is important for our state and what is not important, and cut wasteful spending
2. Perform a cost-benefit analysis and where necessary adjust current tax breaks and loopholes, by ensuring that certain classes of corporations pay their share of taxes
3. Empower the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade, and Tourism with the tools necessary to attract industries with a strong history of sustainability that will offer Georgians high paying jobs.
4. Offer incentives and support for the creation of small businesses in Georgia.. Close the disparity of wealth by providing opportunities for continued education and advanced job training for all Georgians.
6. Reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, and increase our use of wind and solar energy, therefore reducing the overall associated cost. Ensure that Georgia leads the way in becoming a more green state.
7. Provide incentives for families who seek financial training and counseling, on important issues such as
preparing a budget, increasing their savings, the use of credit and credit cards, and making smart decisions
about whether or not they can afford the goods and services they purchase.
8. Keep taxes low, so that citizens can keep more of their hard earned money, so that they will have the
opportunity to purchase necessary goods and services, therefore stimulating our state’s economy.
9. Allocate federal stimulus funds to support the expansion of existing business, which will create
additional jobs in Georgia.
10. Restructure Georgia’s public assistance (welfare) system. Offer job training, and put those who can
work, back to work.
Carl Camon’s Commitment To Transportation
The transportation needs of Georgians are constantly changing, due to the tremendous growth that our state has experience over the past decade. Our vision encompasses an immediate plan of action to ensure that our roads are safe, and our bridges are stable and secure. Our state’s current transportation infrastructure also needs immediate attention. Immediate infrastructure improvements would help to support current and future requirements of the freight industry that moves freight within and through Georgia. Georgia’s population has increased by nearly 900,000 people, in the past five years and this increase mandates a new vision for passenger transportation in Georgia. As Governor, I will explore sincere possibilities for a cost effective high-speed rail system in Georgia. The Georgia Senate Transportation Committee has already unanimously approved a resolution, which supports a high-speed rail system, which would connect Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, in Atlanta, Georgia, with Chattanooga Municipal Airport, in Tennessee. The committee’s effort should be applauded, but we cannot stop there. As Governor, I will support feasibility studies concerning the implementation of high-speed rail throughout Georgia. High-speed rail is an investment in the future, and it will serve as an indicator that Georgia is serious about its efforts to increase passenger safety, relieve highway congestion, reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and reduce carbon emissions. These bold new approaches to providing the best transportation services would also stimulate economic growth of our state. It would afford businesses the opportunity to hire the best and brightest minds in Georgia, and it will afford those bright minds the opportunity to live where they choose and commute to work. Our administration will be committed to improving transportation in Georgia.
Carl’s Plan To Reform Transportation In Georgia
1. Explore possibilities of creating a high-speed rail system in critical regions of our state first, then
explore possibilities of a statewide system.
2. Ensure the protection and restoration of the Local Assistance Road Program (LARP) Funding to
support the transportation infrastructure needs of cities and counties.
3. Establish regional representation within the Georgia Department of Transportation, in an effort to better
understand the transportation needs of all Georgians.
4. Support the transformation of state owned vehicles to a more energy efficient fleet, via electric power, and
natural gas, etc.
5. Support the installation of electric power stations along interstate routes, to encourage the use of more energy
efficient vehicles and reduce harmful emissions.
6. Support regional transit systems, which provide access to transportation to Georgians without automobiles
and it also will help to alleviate congestion in some of Georgia’s larger cities.
7. Support the elimination of an insurance company’s ability to charge higher car insurance rates based solely
on a poor credit rating.
8. Immediately direct funds obtained from the American Recovery and Investment act to regions of the state
with the greatest transportation needs, to include rural areas of Georgia.
9. Increase video surveillance on state and interstate highways; in an effort to reduce crime and facilitate
effective traffic flow.
Ensure the security of Georgia’s Ports and support efforts to expand capabilities to receive greater amounts of products, therefore creating new jobs and increasing tax revenues for Georgia.
Carl Camon’s Commitment To Water In Georgia
Water is our greatest natural resource, and it is necessary for our survival. The past few years our state has been confronted with water shortages, created by a lack of rain. These conditions were so severe that it prompted the Governor to publicly pray for rain. I wholeheartedly supported the Governor’s decision to pray. However, in addition to his actions, he and the leaders of our state should have devised a clear plan to provide water for the citizens of Georgia. No human can make it rain, but we all can plan to collect and retain the rain that we do receive. I am disappointed in the fact that this decade long "Water Battle" between the states of Georgia, Florida, and Alabama hasn't been resolved. Regardless of what future Congressional actions may be, as Governor, I would take action immediately. We've known for quite sometime that Atlanta and the other affected Metro-Atlanta Counties were in danger of possibly losing access to Lake Lanier. The three-year deadline given by Judge Magnuson is a wake-up call for our state and its leaders. As Governor, I wouldn't have been asleep, especially considering the fact that this could very well become a state of emergency. Just recently the state hired an attorney at the rate of over $800.00 an hour to represent us. As governor, I would have made an effort to sit down at the table with the governors of the Alabama and Florida and would have tried to come to some agreement. As Mayor, I traveled to Washington, D.C. at least twice a year, on city business. If I were governor, I would have traveled to Washington, to build a coalition of Congressional support, before I would have allowed it to reach this level.
Carl’s Plan To Address Water Needs In Georgia
1. Immediately expand reservoirs that can be expanded, which would provide greater capacity for the
collection of water, and build new ones if necessary.
2. Change the mission of some of the twenty-five major reservoirs that are not currently used for water
consumption, so that they may be used for that purpose.
3. Use current data regarding underground sources of water and dig wells to help provide water to areas with
the greatest need.
4. Initiate a statewide water usage conservation plan that educates citizens on the importance of water
5. Install of water-free urinals in all state buildings, and encourage the usage of the urinals
in schools and in new construction projects.
6. Provide grants via Community Development Block Funds, to assist cities in repairing leaking water pipes within their infrastructure and within residential dwellings.
7. Rebuild a cordial relationship with the Governors of Alabama and Florida, in an effort to come to an
agreement on the usage of Lake Lanier that would be acceptable by Congress.
8. Divert water from an alternate lake to areas of Georgia in the greatest need, if necessary.
9. Encourage the usage of more water treatment facilities, in an effort to recycle water.
10. Conduct studies on desalinization and create a contingency plan to be used as last resort.
Carl Camon’s Plan To Assist Georgia’s Cities
Rebuilding a "partnership" with state government is important to the cities of Georgia. As Governor, what specific actions would you take to help rebuild this partnership?
As a mayor who has served for five terms, I understand the need for effective communication between every level of government. I believe that a strong relationship between Georgia’s cities and the state level of government will restore our relationship and catapult our state to the levels of cooperation that we once enjoyed. Georgia’s cities are the catalyst for growth and prosperity in our state. Regardless of status and size, each city has a certain unique quality that it contributes to the overall makeup of Georgia. Since the very inception of our state, cities have led the way, and despite the current state of affairs in our nation and in our state, cities are still the primary economic engine that will once again drive us toward economic prosperity. As Governor of Georgia, I would take the following actions during my first 100 days in office, to repair the relationship between cities and our state:
1 Invite city leaders to meet with me at the State Capitol for a two-day summit on state and city relations2 Create a Governor’s Council of Mayors, whose primary responsibility would be to represent Georgia’s cities - Example: Each category of cities would have four mayors who would act as representatives - 100,000+ population, 50,000+ population, 10,000+ population, 5,000+ population, and 25 - 5,000 population, for a total of twenty representatives (The Governor’s Office would work closely with GMA to select these mayors.) 3 Collaborate with the Georgia Municipal Association to schedule a series of bus tours around our state to visit with city leaders to hear their concerns and the concerns of their citizensWhat would you do to help cities meet the challenges of creating environments ripe for investment and economic activity? During my tenure as mayor, our city spearheaded an economic summit with regional leaders, for the benefit of our city and county. I also understand the important contributions that cities have made and continue to make in our state. Considering our current economic situation, it is imperative that cities be given every tool necessary to facilitate economic growth, which will lead to job creation and sustainability. As Governor, our team will work hard to help meet the challenges of creating environments ripe for investment and economic activity by:
1 Working with cities to identify unnecessary restraints placed upon cities by state government and work to remove those restraints2 Joining with cities to help provide leverage power (finance and collateral or “state backing”) at the state level, especially as it pertains to negotiations with companies that are considering locating to Georgia3 Providing assistance from the Department of Industry Trade and Tourism to cities that need assistance with meeting these challengesWhat are your plans for helping cities finance repairs and upgrades to water and sewer systems?
As a mayor who has worked to repair our city’s aging water and sewer system, I am very aware of the need for infrastructure improvements within cities all across our great state. It is no secret that Georgia’s cities suffer from aging and deteriorating water and sewer systems. It is imperative that Georgia’s next Governor clearly understands these needs and is willing to help cities meet these needs. I would take the following actions to ensure that the infrastructure needs of Georgia’s cities are met:
1Immediately ensure that any available Federal Stimulus dollars are dispersed to cities with the greatest infrastructure needs in our state. Again, this would be done categorically, so as to ensure that cities of all sizes receive equal treatment.2 Ease the strain of unfounded environmental mandates placed upon cities, by instructing the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to extend deadlines and remove non-compliance fees from cities that have shown measurable improvements in meeting the desired environmental goal.
3 Establish a portion of the Governor’s Discretionary Fund to help cities with the greatest water and sewer infrastructure needs.
The needs of cities and counties in metro Atlanta are different than cities an counties in the rest of the state. What is your position on how to solve the transportation funding issue?
As mayor, I have worked with local and state officials concerning transportation needs in our city and county. As a member of the Georgia Municipal Association, I was able to view our state’s transportation needs in a greater perspective. I am aware that the needs and viability of the current MARTA system will always be of concern and will be addressed after careful research. Also, our city answered the call to stand with the Georgia Municipal Association and other member cities to ensure that the Georgia Department of Transportation provided necessary funds for various road projects in cities around the state. As Governor, our team will take the following steps to help solve the current transportation funding issue in Georgia:
1 Appoint a responsible Commissioner of Transportation who will focus on the immediate transportation needs of the state, specifically cities and counties.
2 Ensure that there is accountability and fiscal responsibility within the Department of Transportation and that “Pet Road Projects” will never again take precedence over the needs of our cities and counties.
3 Adequately fund the Local Assistance Road Program, which will provide necessary funds to resurface worn and unsafe streets located within our cities and counties.
What are your plans to provide additional revenue options to citizens in cities and counties that would help ease property taxes and finance local capital needs such as water, sewer and transportation infrastructure?
As mayor, I have worked for five terms to keep taxes at an acceptable level in our city. Property tax relief to Georgians is of paramount importance to me, and will remain important to me as Governor of Georgia. Citizens who live in cities all across Georgia are inundated by continued tax increases and it appears that the current leadership in our state has a lack of regard as to how these citizens will pay the already exorbitant taxes. I would take the following actions to provide additional revenue options, ease property taxes and finance local capital needs for cities and counties:
1 As Governor, my administration will collaborate with the legislature to ensure that future Homestead Exemptions remain a viable resource to help alleviate some of the tax burden from our citizens.
2 As Governor, I would instruct the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to immediately assess the needs of cities and counties, especially those with the greatest populations that fall at or below the poverty line. With whatever funds that are at our disposal, we will establish a process so that these funds may be directed for use in the areas that are needed the most.
3 As Governor, my administration would lead the way to broaden the current language use in most Special Local Option Sales Tax Referendums, to allow for flexibility in usage of these funds. This new flexibility will allow cities and counties to fund a variation of capital and transportation needs.
Would you support allowing cities to put before their voters a Municipal Option Sales Tax (MOST)? If not, what are your objections?
As mayor, I have worked along side of the Georgia Municipal Association and its member cities, and have offered my support for a Municipal Option Sales Tax (MOST). A MOST will help provide immediate assistance to cities in need, while keeping property tax levels stable. A MOST will also help keep current water and sewer service rates stable as well. As Governor I would:
Allow citizens to put before their voters a Municipal Option Sales Tax (MOST).
2 Sign the bill into law if it reached my desk.
3 Openly offer my support for this option, which will undoubtedly help Georgia’s cities and counties.
City officials are frustrated with the performance of the Department of Revenue (DOR) and believe hundreds of millions of local and state sales tax dollars paid by consumers are not being collected because of a lack of compliance monitoring and auditing. What measures will you take to improve DOR or allow for alternative methods of local sales tax collection and compliance?
As a mayor and a citizen of Georgia, I believe in transparency at every level of government, including all governmental departments. It is apparent that the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) is in need of a complete restructuring. An investment in, and the use of a more efficient system of collection within the Department of Revenue is and understatement. There is no reasonable excuse why cities and counties should be required to fund a tax collection system that is broken. As Governor, our team will work to immediately restructure the Georgia Department of Revenue by taking the following measures:
1 Require an immediate update of tax collection technology (computers, etc.), which will reduce the “turnaround time” between collections and disbursements to citizens, cities and counties.
2 Require annual audits of the DOR, and mandatory training for all DOR compliance staff, so as to ensure that local and state sales tax dollars are collected from every required source.
3 Keep an opened mind regarding alternative methods of local and state sales tax collections and compliance.
What is your position on so called property tax reform?
As mayor, I joined with other mayors and cities all across our state in opposition against measures to abolish property taxes in the proposed form that it was presented. It is clear that this action would devastate our local educational systems in Georgia and cause many of our services that are provided by cities to our citizens to go lacking. My position on property tax reform is that it does need to be reformed, but the reform needs to come from the leadership of both cities and counties. My position on property tax reform is as follows:
1 Property taxes are an integral part of the overall budget of some cities, however; continued increases of these taxes may send a negative message to citizens. In order to prevent similar attempts by the Georgia Legislature to control the ability of local governments to levy or increase taxes, we must become proactive. Local governments must become more responsible and not rely solely on property tax increases as a “fix-all” for poor leadership and fiscal responsibility.
2 I support a roll back in property taxes once the goal of any increase has been met. There is a general consensus that the majority of citizens have no objection to paying their share in taxes, if it meets a clear and defined need. The Governor’s office, under my leadership, will work with cities to help find more efficient means of meeting the intended goals of property tax revenue.
3 As governor, I will not sign any property tax reform bill into law that does not have the consensus of the majority of Georgians, and research based data that clearly indicates that it will benefit Georgia’s cities and counties.
The current tax structure provides over 90 sales tax exemptions for various groups and purposes. How would your administration "get a handle" on the public policy justification for the elimination or continuation of these exemptions?
Having served as mayor of a city, I know the impact that exemptions can have on city tax revenues and I know that as a result of some exemptions, citizens have to make up the difference. Although some cities and counties reap the benefits of having industry locate to their cities, local taxpayers should not be left with the burden because of corporate exemptions. Many of the corporate exemptions came into being as a result of special interest lobbying efforts. As Governor of Georgia, I will represent the largest, and the most important special interest group in the state, and that group is made up of all of the citizens of Georgia. I would get a handle on these exemptions by taking the following actions:
1 Create a special oversight committee comprised of members of the Department of Revenue, the business community, city and county representatives, and members from my executive staff, to review current sales tax exemptions and make recommendations as to whether there is justification and if not, consider elimination.
2 Work with the legislature to close the four billion dollar deficit in our state by immediately reducing the number of exemptions based on sound research and the findings of the special oversight committee report.
3 Monitor and respond appropriately to continued attempts by special interest groups to increase or add to the number of sales tax exemptions already in place.
Cities face structural obstacles in collecting "bad debt." Would you support legislation authorizing the creation of a local debt set-off program that would allow for delinquent local property taxes and fees owed to cities by individuals to be offset against their state income tax refund?
As mayor, I am all too familiar with citizens who have made the decision not to pay taxes, for one reason or the other. All Americans have a responsibility to pay their taxes. Taxes help keep our local, state and federal governments in business and in a position to provide necessary services to citizens. Every citizen has obligations, and paying taxes is one those obligations. As Governor, I would support the following measures to aid cities and counties in collecting delinquent taxes:
1 Support legislation authorizing the creation of a local debt set-off program, that would allow delinquent taxes to be offset against state income tax refunds.
2 Establish certain criteria that will take into account the financial condition and status of the taxpayer, especially considering the increase in the number of those citizens who have lost their jobs and are unemployed.
3 Work with local governments to help educate citizens on the importance of paying their taxes and paying them in a timely manner.
Carl Camon’s Response To Healthcare
1. What do you see as the state’s most pressing health or healthcare problem, and how do you intend to address it? And pay for it?
Currently our state is experiencing serious problems as it relates to Obesity. Obesity causes Diabetes, Heart Problems, High Blood Pressure. These problems may lead to other problems, such as, Kidney Disease, Vision Loss, and Stroke. Obesity is not a problem isolated to just one race, age group or gender, but it covers a broad spectrum of Georgians. Although there are other important healthcare concerns, such as AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Cancer; Obesity is a preventable problem that affects Georgians of all ages.
I intend to address the problem of obesity, by using funds that have already been allocated, and by using those funds in a more cost effective manner. Our team would lead the way to help combat Obesity, by launching Obesity prevention events at various Health Departments, and encourage those events to coincide with other events that are already scheduled, so as to reduce the associated cost. We must continue our efforts to ensure that our schools are serving nutritious meals and that Georgia’s families are doing the same. We can also include information in newsletters that are already in circulation to state foodservice departments and other state operated facilities, as well. Our team would use Georgia Public Television, and other media outlets, as a means to broadcast information regarding Obesity preventative measures to Georgians all across our state.
As Governor, I would address the state on this and other very important issues related to health and healthcare in Georgia.
2. National health status surveys consistently rank Georgia poorly in various health measures.
Under your leadership, what is the single most important initiative you will undertake to move Georgia out of the bottom 10 unhealthiest states (United Health Foundation rankings, 2007 and 2008)?
Preventative Care is the single most important initiative that I would use to move Georgia off of the bottom 10 unhealthiest states list. Our state is currently paying millions of dollars each year for ailments that many Georgians have that could have been prevented. People choose to live promiscuous lifestyles, smoke, drink, eat unhealthy, and not exercise. As Governor of Georgia, I would encourage all Georgians to take every measure necessary, to prevent health problems, by having a proper diet; incorporating a reasonable exercise routine, and living an overall healthy lifestyle.
3. Georgia has the tenth highest percentage of residents without health insurance in the nation according to the U.S. Census Bureau (three-year average, 2006-2008), and the number of uninsured has been growing.
What policies would you put in place to ensure more Georgians (including the uninsurable) have access to affordable health insurance?
Current measures have been taken at the federal level to ensure that more Americans have access to affordable health insurance. As Governor, I would put policies into place that would ensure that those Georgians, who choose to, would have the opportunity to take advantage of the positive aspects of this monumental healthcare reform. The Georgia Department of Community Health estimates that Georgia would incur expenses between $100 million to $200 million per year when the program begins in 2013. The comparison of the current contributions that the state makes toward healthcare for Georgians, combined with indigent care costs will provide a clearer picture as to whether or not the estimates above will have a significant impact on our state budget.
4. Traditionally, Georgia has recognized that those who receive adequate healthcare as children are healthier and more productive as adults.
Recognizing we are in the midst of healthcare reform and declining revenues, what is the appropriate role of the state in promoting health and preventing disease among Georgia’s children.
The state should take every action necessary to promote health and prevent diseases among Georgia’s children. Traditionally, children who have been exposed to a good education at a young age, often fair better, than those who have not. Likewise, children who are taught to eat healthy and exercise regularly will more than likely be better off, than those who have not been taught. The state should lead the way in educating children about good health habits and measures to that help prevent diseases.
5. Georgia's trauma death rate is above the national average and approximately one million Georgians live more than an hour away from any trauma facility. The 2010 state budget funds the ramp-up of a trauma network with $23 million, but trauma advocates say that closer to $80 million annually will be required for a top notch system.
Do you support the aims of the Georgia Trauma Care Network Commission as laid out in SB 60 and subsequent legislation? Yes, I support the current aims, until further research is conducted that may offer a better approach to appointing commission members; and a more sound strategy for funding.
If so, at what annual level would you fund the Trauma Network, and what method(s) do you propose to perpetuate its funding?
As Governor, the ultimate goal would be to fully fund the trauma network, but reality dictates that funding be contingent upon the state’s budget, which is based on projected revenue. I support the current “Super Speeder Traffic Law”, which is one method to help provide funding for the trauma network. As Governor, I would recommend that any funds that have not been expended from a previous year’s budget, be carried over to the next year’s budget, in an effort to perpetuate funding.
6. Most would agree that Georgia has not done an adequate job of treating and protecting its citizens with mental illness. Recently, a federal judge ruled that Georgia has failed to comply with a Department of Justice settlement regarding patient care and protection in state institutions.
What actions would you propose to remedy this situation?
As an educator, I have worked with students with mental disabilities for over a decade. I understand the needs of these individuals and their families. As Governor, I would ensure that all recipients of state funds and federal funds administered via the state follow federal and state guidelines regarding patient care and protection. I would also take necessary measures to ensure that funds are used in a more concentrated manner to address specific mental illness needs. I would also require recipients to be accountable, and institute benchmarks that when analyzed, will serve as evidence of whether or not various requirements have been met.
Have we also failed in the provision of community mental health services, and if so, what actions would you propose to remedy this situation?
I don’t believe that we have failed in the provision of community mental health services entirely, but there is always room for improvement in every aspect of providing services for Georgia’s mentally ill. Recently, mental health services in many communities have been reduced, due to a reduction in state funding. The current economic status of our state has forced us to find ways to streamline services in nearly every state department. Future funding will be based on our state’s ability to improve its current economic condition, by the creation of jobs, which generates revenue. Another factor is regarding whether or not our state’s leaders are willing to be accountable and transparent with state funds, which ensures that the funds we do receive are used in the most effective manner.
7. Despite Georgia’s ever increasing population, growing numbers of uninsured and more demand on local public health departments, grant-in-aid programs for public health have been cut, public health programs and resources have been eliminated, and critical infrastructure (such as data and billing systems) has not been updated. Statewide, there are more than 600 vacant public health positions.
What is your vision for the role of public health in Georgia?
My vision for the role of public health in Georgia is that public health agencies have the tools (funds, facilities, staff) necessary to meet the needs of Georgians.
What, if anything, should the state do to build public health capacity and infrastructure?
My vision for building public health capacity and infrastructure is based on a regional concept. The ideal concept is to have a public health facility in every city in Georgia. This would ensure that Georgians would have access to healthcare in their own communities. The regional and most practical concept, which is again, dictated by the level of funding, is that public health facilities be located regionally, with adequate and affordable transportation to and from these facilities. The current global economic crisis has forced us rethink how we conduct business in our state. It is not business, nor politics as usual. Whether we like it or not, our world is changing everyday, and we have to be willing to embrace those changes, while continuing to provide necessary public health services for Georgians.
8. Congressional Quarterly reports that Georgia ranks 50th among states in revenues collected per capita (includes state taxes, fees, and federal funds).
Is this a distinction you think is important to maintain?
Our current distinction may be a contributor to why we are ranked among the top ten economically challenged states. In that respect, I do not think it is important to maintain this distinction. Also, there is an assortment of variables concerning tax collections, especially when each state is compared to forty-nine other states. However, it is clear that our current system of collection needs restructuring.
If not, would you be willing to increase revenues in order to invest more in health services for Georgians? If so, specifically how? (New fees, higher tobacco taxes, etc.)
States that invest in the health of its citizens are winners. States that do not realize the connection between providing adequate health care services and having healthier citizens are losers at the end of the game. I believe that we should explore every opportunity to invest in health services for Georgians. I have not committed to increasing any fees or taxes, but if the need arises, it may require an increase in certain fees and higher tobacco taxes, in return for a healthier Georgia.
9. In a short paragraph, can you articulate the rest of your health agenda if elected?
My agenda for healthcare in Georgia encompasses ideals that provide for access to adequate and affordable healthcare for all Georgians. I wholeheartedly believe in preventative healthcare and will promote those beliefs throughout my service as Governor of Georgia, if elected. I believe that Physicians should have a seat at the discussion table, especially since they are the providers of the healthcare. I believe that Georgians should have the right to choose the type of healthcare they want. I believe that all stakeholders, including insurance companies should be held to the highest level of accountability, as it pertains to the level of care and other cost related factors.
Carl Camon’s Response To The
Initiative To Protect Jekyll Island State Park Questions
I. Your intentions regarding the composition and structure of the Jekyll Island Authority Board, including the combination of qualifications and experience that you would require for appointment to the Board
The composition and structure of the Jekyll Island Authority Board appears to be sufficient, as it relates
to its categorical elements. The biographical information of the individuals currently serving on the
Board does not appear on the Authority’s website, therefore it is difficult to ascertain the qualifications
and experience of the current members. As Governor of Georgia, I would ensure that the Board is
comprised of State, County, and City officials, along with individuals who are full-time residents of
Jekyll Island. I would also appoint an environmentalist, and a member of the Brunswick-Glynn County
Chamber of Commerce/Economic Development Authority to the Board.
II. Your vision of how best to balance the state park’s mission with the Jekyll Island Authority’s
financial needs, including the appropriate level of commercial development, the enhancement of
the quality of the visitor experience, and the protection of the island’s ecosystems.
As Governor, my vision of how to best balance the park’s mission with the Authority’s financial needs consist of establishing an open line of communication between all entities and stakeholders of Jekyll Island. It is imperative that the park’s mission remains intact, and it is of utmost importance that the Authority has the necessary funds to accomplish its mission as well. The appropriate level of commercial development is crucial to the park’s sustainability. Reasonable levels of development will serve as a means to meet the needs of visitors, therefore enhancing the quality of the Jekyll Island experience. The most important part of my vision as Governor will be to ensure that necessary safeguards are in place that will protect the island’s ecosystems.
III. Your views concerning a public-private partnership as a means of facilitating Jekyll’s redevelopment and financial self-sustainability for the park.
Public-private partnerships are effective when full disclosure and transparency exist. The State of Georgia and local governments have limitations as to the availability of funds for various projects. Therefore, a well-defined and collaborative agreement between public and private entities can result in success, and can be beneficial to all parties concerned. The government benefits from tax dollars and the private entity benefits if there is a profit made from the partnership. As Governor, I will ensure that redevelopment efforts are orchestrated in an inclusive (citizen involvement) manner. The effective collaboration between all stakeholders will undoubtedly result in financial self-sustainability for Jekyll Island.
IV. Your feelings about the Park’s affordability mandate and its place in the Jekyll revitalization effort.The reason that many Georgians visit Jekyll Island is because it is affordable. It will take a great deal of planning to ensure that Georgians will continue to have opportunities to enjoy the Island at reasonable costs. We must also face the reality that redevelopment efforts aren’t free and that there are associated costs. As Governor, I will facilitate dialogue in an effort to ensure that those costs remain reasonable.
V. Steps you would take to protect the pristine qualities of “Georgia’s Jewel” and to guarantee, in perpetuity, the conservation of at least 65% of the natural land area of Jekyll Island that lies above mean high tideAs governor, I pledge to do everything within my power to protect Jekyll Island and ensure the conservation of at least 65% of the natural land area that lies above the mean high tide. As much as I would like to say that I could guarantee perpetuity, I cannot, but if there is anything that I can do to ensure that conservation efforts lasts as long as the law allows, I will do that. Realistically, I don’t know of anyone who can guarantee that these efforts will remain in perpetuity. If it was within my power to grant, I would grant it.
Carl Camon’s Letter To Churches & Faith Based Institutions
To: All Churches & Faith-Based Organizations
Please accept my heartfelt thanks for the efforts that you and your organization have put forth, for the benefit of your respective communities. We need to continue to unite on behalf of our communities all across Georgia. I am honored to live in a country that guarantees us the right of religious freedoms and the right to worship in our own way. However, recent developments have attempted to threatened our rights and silence our voices. My record has been one of unity and support for Churches & Faith-Based Organizations, those that are the protectors of our rights of spirituality.
As Governor, I will work hard to protect religious freedoms in the State of Georgia. I will support legislation that upholds our constitutional rights. I will not support legislation, nor will I sign into law, legislation that is contradictory to the core values and morals that the citizens of Georgia expect to remain. We can no longer allow ourselves to be lured in by politicians and others who promise to protect our rights, and later yield to the pressures of special interest groups. We must stand together, and elect a candidate who will not be afraid to stand up for the rights of Churches and other Faith-Based Organizations. I will stand up for your right to maintain those freedoms. I am proud of my record as a protector of freedom.
I have served our country in the United States Air Force for 10 ½ years and I will continue to support our military men and women. My community service on the local level includes two terms on the city council and five terms as the first African-American Mayor of Ray City, Georgia. I am proud to have also had the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors for the Southeast Georgia RDC, which provides much needed services to thousands of Georgians. My service to our state includes a four-year term as a member of the State of Georgia’s County & Municipal Probation Advisory Council, where I was elected as Chairman. I am also proud of the knowledge and experience that I gained as Chairman of the Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) Environment & Natural Resources Committee, and my service as a member of GMA’s Board of Directors, Budget and Executive Committees, and Training Board. As a participant in the National League of Cities - Congress of Cities Conventions, I have served on the national level and have traveled extensively around the country as an advocate for youth and important youth related issues, for four years.
I want to be the people’s governor and with your help that can become a reality. I look forward to an invitation to visit your church or organization, so that I may listen to your concerns and ideas for the future of our state. You can rest assured that I will not compromise the oath of office for political popularity or gain. I am on your side and I ensure that your voice is heard at the highest level of state government.
Carl Camon’s Letter To Georgia’s Educators
Help is on the way! I am Carl Camon and I’m an educator. Please accept this correspondence as an official notification of my candidacy for Governor of Georgia. As an educator, I know first hand of the many struggles that we are faced with on a daily basis. I am aware of the many attempts that have been made by some to keep the voice of the Georgia educator silent. The time has come for your voice to be heard at every level of state government, and as Governor, with your help, we can make that happen. When you elect me as your next Governor, you will no longer have to be afraid to voice your opinion regarding issues of importance that concern you and fellow educators. There is a ray of hope upon the horizon and I want you to take a front row seat as we travel on this journey for meaningful and positive change for educators and education in Georgia.
As governor, with your help, we can accomplish the following:
Protect Georgia’s lottery funded Pre-K Program and the HOPE Scholarship for future generations of Georgians.
Advocate for educators, in an effort to ensure that local and state boards of education implement fair procedures as it relates to hiring and dismissal of teachers, to include forced resignations.
Work to increase the salary of Georgia’s educators at least to the national average.
Return control back to the educators in the classroom and give them the authority they need to do their jobs.
Fully fund educationally sound programs and curriculum and give both the educators and the students the necessary tools they need to succeed.
My fifteen years of education experience includes service as a Pre-K Director, a Collaborative Teacher, and an Assistant Professor of Education at the college level. My certifications include: Special Education, American Government, and Educational Leadership. I am proud to have authored the initial language for the legislation that led to the passage of HB 1321, which was implemented to help protect Georgia Educators from false accusations from students. As governor, I will continue to work to support educator friendly legislation.
I am proud to have served our country in the United States Air Force for 10 ½ years, and my community for two terms on the city council and five terms as the first African-American Mayor of Ray City, Georgia. I am proud to have served a four-year term as a member of the State of Georgia’s County & Municipal Probation Advisory Council, where I was elected as Chairman. I am also proud of the experience that I gained as Chairman of the Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) Environment & Natural Resources Committee. As a participant in the National League of Cities Congress of Cities Conventions, I have served on the national level and have traveled extensively around the country as an advocate for youth and important youth related issues, for four years.
I want to be the educator’s governor and with your help that can become a reality. You can rest assured that I will be on your side, because I am an educator. Log on to www.camonforgovernor.com, to join our team to help “Bring Hope To All Of Georgia”.
Carl Camon Supports Our Farmers
We need to unite for a cause that is near and dear to us all, a cause that if it were to become extinct, we would become extinct and that cause is directly related to working with our farmers. Farmers feed the world, and without their hard work and untiring dedication to providing the finest of products, we could not survive. I want to sit down with the farmers all across Georgia and find out what their needs are. I want to find out what I can do, and what this state can do to ensure that they have many more years of prosperous and productive agriculture in our state.
I will sit down with our Congressional Delegation in Washington, DC, and together we will work hard to make needed improvements, and pave the way for new and effective and more efficient means of exporting agriculture grown in Georgia. It is imperative that we work to protect our farmers so that they may continue to provide the much-needed goods, first for all citizens who call Georgia home, and for others who desire to have the finest quality of agriculture products available.
Carl Camon Supports Working Men & Women
We need to unite for the workingmen and women, those who work in our factories; on construction crews and other manual labor jobs. We need to unite for the poor, for the middleclass, and the rich, just the same. When we unite as one, then we can be assured that every citizen’s voice is heard. All of Georgia’s men and women are the backbone of our economic stability. In an effort to recognize their daily sacrifices, we need to enact laws that give the working class the right to challenge unfair and unjust treatment on their jobs.
We need to pass legislation that will not allow big businesses to terminate the employment of hard working Georgians at will. If those who are the backbone of our society would quit their jobs and refuse to go to work, our economy would come to an abrupt halt, and our economic viability would be threatened. We need to work hard to ensure that the jobs we do have stay here in Georgia and are not outsourced for cheap labor in other countries. We need to protect hard working citizens, so that they too, can live the American dream.
Carl Camon Supports Our Educators
We need to unite for the good of the cause for our schoolteachers, who are the very ones that work so hard to ensure that our young citizens have the education that they need to attain success and to become the intelligent future leaders of our state. We need to give them the respect and the authority that they once had, rather than allowing them to work in environments saturated with fear and uncertainty, and in environments where one false accusation could mean the end of a promising career. I have and will continue to be an advocate for the rights of good teachers. I am talking about the ones who put in one hundred and ten percent of the effort needed to educate the average child in today’s society.
We need to ensure that teachers who rise to the level of proficiency and effectiveness in the classroom are rewarded for their efforts. I will work hard with the teachers of this state to find a solution for our lagging performance as it relates to standardized testing. We will find new ways of providing positive reinforcement for our students, and give them the tools that they need to be successful. We can no longer continue to pass education legislation without allocating the funds necessary to ensure that it can be fully implemented. We need to protect the future of educators and the future of those receiving the education.
In order to ensure that our children receive the best start that we can give them, we need to protect the Georgia Pre-K Program and the HOPE Scholarship Program. As governor, I will work to safeguard these and other successful educational programs for future generations.
Carl Camon Supports Georgia’s Senior Citizens
We need to unite for the Elderly who have paved the way. We can no longer stand idly by and watch the bureaucracy within our government steal from them, what they have worked so hard for all of their lives. We can no longer remain passive as we watch prescription drug prices skyrocket, as we watch our elderly make a decision between medicine and food; as we watch them make a decision between heating their homes or freezing in the winter, or cooling their homes or dying of heat exhaustion in the summer. We should allow them to choose the type of healthcare coverage they want, and provide them with the best healthcare available. As Governor, I will work to protect their investments and ensure that their last days are their very best days.
Carl Camon Supports Georgia’s Military Men & Women
We need to work to unite for a cause that prevents utter chaos and maintains order in an unstable world, and that cause is for Georgia’s military men and women. What a sacrifice they have made to ensure that we can continue to live in a democracy, one where we can express ourselves, and one where we are free from unjust persecutions and inhumane treatment. We will work with our returning war veterans, and provide necessary services and incentives for them, at the state level, in an effort to show our appreciation for their sacrifices and service.
Carl Camon Supports Georgia’s Law Enforcement Officers
We will also unite for the benefit of our local and state law enforcement officers. I will support a statewide transferable retirement plan for Georgia’s Municipal and County Law Enforcement Officers. I support providing officers with whatever tools necessary to help them fight against crime in their respective cities and all across our state. Even small communities in our state are experiencing a greater instance of drug use and abuse, and related criminal activity is on the rise. We need to work to ensure that our Law enforcement officers, who risk their lives each and every day, receive quality training, adequate pay, and honor and recognition, for the sacrifices they make.
I believe in the second amendment, which gives us the right to bear arms. I believe that all eligible Georgians should have the right to bear arms and protect themselves and their families. However, I will support legislation that ensures that law enforcement officers are not out-gunned by those who choose to make unfortunate decisions and disobey the laws of this state and nation. We will work to protect our law enforcement officers, as they have protected us in the past, and continue to protect us today.
I believe in the second amendment, which gives us the right to bear arms. I believe that all eligible Georgians should have the right to bear arms and protect themselves and their families. However, I will support legislation that ensures that law enforcement officers are not out-gunned by those who choose to make unfortunate decisions and disobey the laws of this state and nation. We will work to protect our law enforcement officers, as they have protected us in the past, and continue to protect us today.
Carl Camon Supports Georgia’s Youth
I am proud to be the founder of the nationally known and recognized, Mayor’s Youth Leadership Institute of Ray City, Georgia. We have dedicated thousands of hours toward ensuring that the youth of our city become “World Class Leaders”. Our program as been in existence since the year 2000, and we are proud of our future leaders. Please allow me to share with you a copy of an essay that I wrote for the Georgia Municipal Association’s City Upon A Hill Series. This essay is related to our youth, and our nation’s cities.
A City Upon a Hill is found in its youth. If the youth of today are really going to be the leaders of tomorrow, then we must teach them to lead today. And I believe that cities must take an active role in providing opportunities for them that fosters their growth and development.
“Would your city survive if all of the citizens over the age of eighteen years old would suddenly disappear?” That is a question that I ask community leaders during presentations on youth issues. No one ever says “yes.” I always follow-up with “we’ve got to get to work” because too many of our youth feel disassociated from their communities. If our cities are to survive and prosper we must bridge those generational gaps that divide our youth from their communities.
As one who has been involved with youth for quite a number of years, it seems to me that today's modern and advanced cities should take a closer look at what can be done to solidify a positive and lasting relationship with its youth. “I believe it does take a village to help raise a child or at least it takes a village to raise our next generation of leaders." Taking a proactive stance will help ensure that our youth will have that proper guidance and established security from their community.
It seems so often that youth are excluded from those activities that help create and define our cities, but personal attention for each and every one of our youth has a special seat at the table of leadership in Ray City. Through the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Institute we’ve invested much time, energy and resources toward ensuring that we do our part in helping develop what we call “World Class Leaders.” The institute has committed over two thousand hours toward training our youth and encouraging them to take an active role in their community. The program focuses on leadership, education, local, state, and federal government issues, voting and elections, and critical issues such as teen pregnancy prevention and abstinence, drugs and alcohol abuse prevention and crime prevention.
Cities have the ability to pass on the bright torch of leadership to our youth. And when it comes to cities, size really doesn’t matter. I’m proud of what we’ve done in Ray City and how we as a small city with less than a 1,000 citizens have positively impacted thousands of others through our youth leadership efforts.
Empowering young citizens should become a goal of not only elected officials, but also every adult citizen in our state and nation. Real value can be found in our youth … in their energy and in their ideas … we can't ignore it.
Investing in the stock market may be wise, but a return is not guaranteed. Investing in the future of our youth is sure to produce a prosperous return, no matter what the state of the economy may be.
Allow your city’s light to appeal to the youth who are the future of the City Upon a Hill.
By: Carl L. Camon
Labels: Log on to www.camonforgovernor.com, to join our team to help “Bring Hope To All Of Georgia”.
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