Monday, October 22, 2012

Q&A With House District 175 Candidate J.C. Cunningham (D-Valdosta)

1.Short Bio about yourself 

JC Cunningham was born on July 27, 1959 and is the son of Retired Command Sergeant Major Logan L. Cunningham and Patricia E. Cunningham and was born in Detroit Michigan. I have always considers Eatontown, New Jersey my hometown because my father seemed to always get stationed back there after serving overseas assignments. For the past 21 years we have made Valdosta Ga. our home. I am married to Barbara Jean Stokes Cunningham, and they have four children and three grandchildren. I am a Disabled Veteran and a cancer survivor.

2. Why are you a Democrat;( Progressive, Moderate or Conservative?)

 I am a Moderate Democrat.

3. Why are you running for the Georgia State House?
I’m running to represent District 175 in South Georgia, but I’m concerned about all of Georgia’s citizens. I worry because Georgia is not getting the representation she deserves. Backroom deals,  outof-state special interest groups, and turncoat politicians have become the norm. Our Legislators pass bills that allow massive tax credits to wealthy corporations with one hand while they cut funding for our public schools with the other. Unemployment is up, the HOPE Scholarship no longer helps the very people it was meant to help. I believe the time has come for the people of South Georgia to have someone in Atlanta who will insist that the people of South Georgia start getting their fair share of that hundreds of millions of dollars so that we can create more jobs, improve our infrastructure, develop businesses and bring a public transportation system to this region that sorely needs it so that hard working folks can get to work each day. I am running because I don’t owe any favors to anyone in Atlanta, so I have no problem standing up to big business and fighting the partisanship in Atlanta that is crippling our small communities throughout South Georgia.

4. What’s the most pressing issue facing the state. Your House District?
Economic Recovery...Currently the unemployment rate in Georgia is 9.3%, while the national unemployment rate is 7.8%. Those figures are much higher in rural and heavily populated minority communities. Brooks County has the highest percentage (%) of jobs lost in Georgia over the past 20 years and during that time have lost four (4) major industries. The economic revitalization of Brooks County must be a priority. More jobs in Brooks County means more jobs for Lowndes and Thomas County. When elected I want to ensure that Brooks, Lowndes and Thomas Counties are in consideration for any industry that are looking to relocate their businesses to Georgia. It must be the legislature’s responsibility to spread the wealth. I will work hard to get appointed to the Economic and Development Committee to ensure that this region of South Georgia is getting its fair share of all new business. I believe that the true backbone of South Georgia is our Farmers and they have been punished severely for the mistakes of lax immigration enforcement over the past 50 years. I am opposed to HB 87 (illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011) because it has severely hurt the small farmer and in some cases have forced them into bankruptcy. Legislation must be written to reform the visa programs to help migrant workers as well as the farmers and ensure that future immigration is regulated and controlled rather than illegal and chaotic.

5.What is something you think the current Legislature has done well? 
I really don’t have an answer for that. I believe the legislature has failed the citizens of Georgia

6.What is something you think the current Legislature hasn’t done well?
They have not gone to work each day for the sole purpose of making life better for Georgians.
Partisanship in Atlanta is destroying our state. Partisan politics is responsible for putting T-SPLOST and the Charter School Amendment on the ballot and dividing this state.

7.What is the number one issue you would address as a State Senator?
Education. K-12 must be budgeted properly. The Governor keeps bragging about Georgia having
the lowest fuel tax in the nation, but we can’t properly fund our public schools. HOPE must go back to an income cap immediately.

8. Hailing from rural Georgia. In your opinion what must the Democratic Party of Georgia must do to win the hearts & minds of Rural Georgians who have drfited to the GOP over the last decade?
First and foremost we need new leadership! Leadership that can see past I - 20. The party has turned it’s back on Rural Georgians while the Republican party seized on that as an opportunity and embraced them. There is practically no presence of a Democratic party in South Georgia and the party has once again failed to support any candidates south of Macon. I would have thought they would have ;earned a lesson from 2010 when so many turncoats jumped ship. This may continue to be a trend if the party and the caucuses don’t wake up. We cannot turn Georgia Blue if you don’t spend time or money in Rural Georgia. Their excuse is there’s only money for candidates in major races, well there are races in 177, 175 that are major. They are both polling about 50 - 50, but the Republicans are out spending us thousands of dollars, and not to mention the Governor, Lt. Governor and Atty. General have come here to campaign for their candidates. The Democratic party has never even so much as called to say hello. Until we as a party begin to go out and promote our platform and our candidates we will continue to see a decline.

9. Why should constituents vote for you on Election Day? What makes you a better choice than your opponent?
Because they can trust me! My opponent, Amy Carter has already proven that she cannot be trusted when she jumped to the Republican party two weeks after running unopposed as a Democrat. Shortly after making her announcement, she was selected as one of the Gov. Deal’s Floor Leaders. She has shown no loyalty to the citizens of South Georgia and has supported and voted on legislation that did not reflect the wishes of those she was elected to serve. South Georgia deserves someone who is bold enough to say no thanks, because this is not good for or is not in the best interest of the people of Lowndes, Brooks and Thomas Counties. Properly budgeting of our Public Schools and Economic recovery must be front and center during the next General Assembly. I will not make any apologies for speaking out and standing up to the partisanship that is crippling our State. Rural, Poor and Middle Class Georgians all pay taxes that support this state, but they are heard from the least. I will bring your voices with me when I go to Atlanta. I will insure that each person in district 175 is aware of pending legislation before it goes to a vote. I will not bow to the elitist attitudes of special interest groups will work to inspire other Legislatures to remember why they ran for office in the first place. I won’t sell out your vote!

10. Comment (anything you would like to add)
I’m running to represent District 175, because South Georgia is not getting the representation she deserves. Unemployment is up, the state ranks last in job growth, women are treated like cattle, teachers are being furloughed, and farmers our being put out of business. Our primary focus should be the future of Georgia’s public schools. The state’s budget for k -12 has steadily decreased while the number of children entering public schools have increased. Since 2008 over 4,423 teachers have been laid off.

My opponent, Amy Carter voted for HB 1162, the Charter School Amendment, despite the fact that Georgia’s Public Schools have already been hit with $5.6 billion in austerity cuts over the last 9 years. I am opposed to this amendment because it is designed to overturn a Georgia Supreme Court Decision
which ruled “ ....that the power to create charter schools belongs to local school boards, not the state. I also oppose this amendment because I believe that taxpayers dollars should never fund private for-profit charter schools or independent schools. I am also concerned for “the forgotten average working family” to quote Governor, Zell Miller as it concerns the HOPE scholarship. HOPE, is no longer serving the people it was meant to serve, and reports indicate that incoming freshman from South Ga. receive less HOPE than those from more affluent counties in North Ga.

South Georgia has been getting table scraps from Atlanta for years and we have not received our fair share of the economic pie. Governor Deal has just announced Georgia creates records jobs and investments for 2012. While I am grateful for any increase in job growth, it must be pointed out that Ga. unemployment rate is still 1.5% higher than the national avg. I would be remiss if I did not ask, where are Lowndes, Brooks and Thomas Counties portions of those jobs?

I am asking for your vote on November 6th, because South Ga. doesn’t need another politician who
knows Atlanta, they need a leader who understands South Georgia. I am JC Cunningham, ..............New Leader, Better Direction

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