Dallas resident Lauren Denton has filed a declaration of intent and plans to qualify in March to challenge Braddock in the May 20 GOP primary.
Denton, who works for a railroad company in Atlanta, said she has been campaigning door-to-door in the Paulding district in recent months and found few District 19 residents knew the identity of their state representative – showing that Braddock has done “a poor job” of communicating with constituents.
“Many people didn’t know who she was,” Denton said.
However, Braddock said she did not see the relevance of high name recognition to her effectiveness as a legislator.
“It’s never been about me, it’s been about my people,” Braddock said.
“I’m not in this for a popularity contest. I spend a lot of time in the community helping people with their issues, so I am close to the people and what matters.”
Denton also said Braddock shows no leadership because she typically agrees to help sponsor legislation only if it is already popular, Denton said.
She also said Braddock has been prime sponsor of little meaningful legislation, other than a 2012 bill to stop requiring retailers to post signs stating it was a crime to steal shopping carts.
Braddock said the shopping cart bill “was a repeal bill and I think we need to repeal more legislation that results in government interference in our lives.”
She said she has co-sponsored some “good conservative legislation” including drug testing for welfare recipients and, this year, House Bill 707 that blocks the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in Georgia.
“I look forward to hearing about the few dozen bills [Denton] wants to pass that will put more government in our lives,” Braddock said.
Denton, said she has been meeting with groups countywide and found top issues include education funding, taxation, jobs and health care.
She said she supports legislation to expand gun rights and stopping state and local government employees from carrying out provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
She said she plans to donate her legislative salary to local education needs because she already has a full-time job.
Braddock said jobs and the economy are the top issues in this year’s race.
Site Selection magazine, which focuses on real estate and economic development, rated Georgia as having the nation’s top business climate in 2013, which is “a pretty significant accomplishment,” Braddock said.
She said she has worked with the Georgia Department of Economic Development to help make Georgia more competitive for new businesses. “We are working hard to bring jobs to Georgia and it’s working,” Braddock said. “Our unemployment rate is coming down faster than the national average and jobs are coming back to Georgia at a fast rate.”