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Candidates tackle controversies at Paulding Chamber forum
by Tom Spigolon
April 30, 2014 10:45 AM | 1438 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Tom Spigolon<br>From left, County Commission Post 3 candidates Vernon Collett, Herb Haynes and Richard Manous discuss an issue at the April 24 Paulding Chamber of Commerce election forum.
Staff / Tom Spigolon
From left, County Commission Post 3 candidates Vernon Collett, Herb Haynes and Richard Manous discuss an issue at the April 24 Paulding Chamber of Commerce election forum.
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Staff / Tom Spigolon<br>District 17 State Rep. Howard Maxwell, R-Dallas, makes a point as challenger David Bond listens during last week's Paulding Chamber of Commerce political forum at Chattahoochee Tech's Dallas campus.
Staff / Tom Spigolon
District 17 State Rep. Howard Maxwell, R-Dallas, makes a point as challenger David Bond listens during last week's Paulding Chamber of Commerce political forum at Chattahoochee Tech's Dallas campus.
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Staff / Tom Spigolon<br>From left, moderator Terry Lawler listens as District 30 State Senate candidates Mike Dugan and Bill Hembree discuss an issue.
Staff / Tom Spigolon
From left, moderator Terry Lawler listens as District 30 State Senate candidates Mike Dugan and Bill Hembree discuss an issue.
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Staff / Tom Spigolon<br>From left, moderator Terry Lawler listens to County Commission Post 4 incumbent David Barnett answer a question. Barnett’s opponent, Tony Crowe, did not participate in the Paulding Chamber forum.
Staff / Tom Spigolon
From left, moderator Terry Lawler listens to County Commission Post 4 incumbent David Barnett answer a question. Barnett’s opponent, Tony Crowe, did not participate in the Paulding Chamber forum.
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Candidates for state and county offices in Paulding tackled some of the most controversial issues each will face if elected as they participated in a Paulding Chamber election forum last week.

The event at Chattahoochee Technical College’s Dallas campus featured candidates in contested party primaries in the May 20 election for two seats in the Georgia General Assembly and three seats on the Paulding County Commission.

The sharpest divisions came in the county races on the issues of commercialization of Paulding’s airport and how to better inject transparency into industrial recruitment efforts.

Commission Post 2 Democratic candidate George “Pat” Hughes said Silver Comet Field is an asset Paulding needs to exploit because of the airport’s potential for increasing the employment base.

County officials signed a controversial contract with a company to recruit a passenger airline and did not make it public for more than a year. However, Paulding, despite some public opposition, has to honor the contract because it is legally bound, Hughes said.

“We need to just do it,” he said.

Opponent Patti Smith said the potential of commercial traffic harming Post 2 residents’ property values was too great to ignore.

On the issue of transparency in negotiations, commission Post 3 Republican candidate Vernon Collett said residents need to be told about a major project possibly coming to an area if it has the potential to “turn people’s lives upside down.”

Post 3 opponent Herb Haynes said a balance needs to be found between negotiating and informing the public. Richard Manous said Paulding residents need to “pull together” and appreciate county officials’ efforts to recruit new employers.

“There’s too much fighting among ourselves,” he said.

In the state races, House District 17 Republican candidates David Bond and incumbent Rep. Howard Maxwell, R-Dallas, discussed the best ways to increase state funding of roads.

Event moderator Terry Lawler, director of the Regional Business Coalition of Metro Atlanta, said Georgia was near the bottom nationally in per capita investment in transportation infrastructure. Maxwell said residents need to decide how much they want to pay to improve the state road system in Paulding.

“It’s going to be a tough answer. It’s going to cost money,” Maxwell said.

Bond said the issue was difficult because more investment is needed in roads before the tax base can increase and provide needed funding.

The two Republican candidates for Senate District 30 agreed on the need to eliminate the controversial Common Core standards in Georgia schools.

Incumbent State Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, said each community educates its students differently. Challenger Bill Hembree of Winston, a longtime state House member, said a national curriculum is not needed in Georgia.

“Washington does not understand what’s happening in Georgia,” he said.

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