Incumbent Chip Rogers and challenger Brandon Beach squared off on topics of transportation and education, among other things.
Some topics conjured fairly similar answers from the candidates – both are pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and pro-Milton County – but other questions revealed distinctions between the two.
On July 31, when citizens take to the polls to vote for either Beach or Rogers, another topic on the ballot will be the transportation special purpose local option sales tax.
Beach, who serves on the Georgia Department of Transportation board, said Georgia has been a hub of transportation and improvements are a proven need.
“We need transportation infrastructure here to move goods, infrastructure and people,” he said. “We’ve been going down for the legislature for 10 years now asking for a transportation bill.”
Rogers voted for the bill when it was in the legislature, but he defended that choice by saying he wants to let the voters decide. Personally, he indicated, he is against the tax.
“I’m going to go vote against it because I think it is a terrible idea,” said Rogers. “To suggest that the TSPLOST should pass is to suggest that government doesn’t quite have enough of our money.”
When asked about possible transportation solutions if the tax does not pass, Rogers said GDOT’s inefficiencies make him think the private sector could pick it up and do a better job.
“The best thing government can do typically is get out of the way,” he said. “The private sector will come up with great ideas to solve any problem.”
Beach said one possibility would be introduction more toll roads to cover costs of new roads.
“I’m against them, don’t want them, but for new capacity I think that may happen,” he said.
The candidates also have different views of education, especially when it comes to a voucher system.
“How quickly should we do it? Yesterday.” Rogers said of moving to a full voucher system. “We’ll finally have a market-based system where the best education schools in the system deliver a product to children and parents that they want … not a system that says, ‘Because you live at 123 Elm Street you must go to this school over here.’ That’s craziness.”
Beach, on the other hand, said replicating successful schools – such as the schools in north Fulton and Cherokee County – to other parts of the state is what is needed.
“We have good schools here and it’s because we have parental involvement,” he said. “We don’t need vouchers; we need good, public education with parental involvement.”
Information: www.beachforsenate.com and www.senatorchiprogers.com.