The incumbent, Lynn Westmoreland of Grantville faces fellow Republicans Kent Kingsley of Milner and Chip Flanegan of Jonesboro for the seat. The revised district includes all of Spalding, Lamar, Pike, Upson, Meriwether, Troup, Harris, Heard, Coweta and Carroll counties and portions of Henry, Fayette and Muscogee counties.
Kent Kingsley, 60, is broker/owner of Traditions Realty. His campaign website is www.kingsleyforcongress.com.
Chip Flanegan, 54, is a small business owner of Jonesboro Rental Center. His campaign website is www.chipflanegan.com.
Lynn Westmoreland, 62, is in his third term in Congress, His campaign website is www.lynnwestmoreland.org.
All three candidates were invited to participate and were asked the following questions. The responses are listed in order received. Only Kingsley and Flanegan chose to respond.
What is the biggest challenge facing District 3 and the country, and how would you address it?
KINGSLEY: The debt and deficit, we are spending this country into oblivion with a 1.3 trillion annual deficit and a national debt of 15.8 trillion. We must have a balanced budget amendment and begin paying off our debt. We must drastically reduce the size and scope of the federal government. Can you really expect the same people who created this problem to fix the problem? The solution is to elect a constitutional conservative that will fight for you like he fought for his country in the Army.
FLANEGAN: The country is facing bankruptcy if the out of control spending and borrowing are not stopped. The citizens know this and they are buying gold, guns and storing up food in preparation for the coming disaster. Why are the politicians continuing on this course both Democrats and Republican alike? The people are not fooled by political talk.
To solve the budgetary crisis we need to bring the spending down with across the board cuts to match income levels. Then implement zero based budgeting where all departments justify their very existence and budget. All savings found at this level will be applied to the national debt. That is how I saved my business and became debt free. My experience and proven track record of fiscal responsibility is what we need in Washington.
What policies or procedures in the federal government do you think need to be changed and why? And how would you change them?
KINGSLEY: We need to completely change our federal tax system. I support the FairTax which would eliminate all current federal taxes and replace it with a consumption tax. This would provide a major boost to the economy, finally have everyone pay some tax, eliminate the IRS and clean up Congress because they won’t have lobbyists giving them millions of dollars to buy favors in the federal tax code. Simple, fair, and family friendly defines the best aspects of the FairTax.
FLANEGAN: Base line budgeting needs to be changed to zero based budgeting. In base line budgeting all departments start off with the previous year’s budget including any extra amounts that were added for one time expenses or emergencies. Then it is increased by automatic 10-15 percent. In zero based budgeting each department starts with zero and has to justify their expenses to get budget approval. That will eliminate the automatic increases in the federal budget that enable by promoting and subsidizing wasteful spending.
What qualifications or experience do you bring to the office?
KINGSLEY: I have a B.A. and M.A. in political science. I am a retired infantry lieutenant colonel and was an Army strategist. I was the commission chairman for four years in Lamar County and am currently a small business owner having to fight through these difficult times like so many of you.
FLANEGAN: I am a successful 32-year small business owner that has managed employees, made payroll and balanced budgets both in good times and bad. Tornadoes damaged my business in 1985 and in 1988 a devastating fire destroyed the building leaving me deeply in debt. My banker told me because of my reduced income it would be easier for me to bankrupt and start over. I did not, instead I cut my budget to reflect my income, negotiated with my creditors and paid off all my debts. By 2001, I was debt free both personally and professionally.
What makes you the best candidate for this office?
KINGSLEY: First, I am not the incumbent that has been in political office for 20 years while our nation’s problems have simply gone from bad to worse. I have a definitive plan to bring our country back from the edge of bankruptcy. That plan is a balanced budget amendment, a 25-year plan to pay off our national debt, reduction in the size and scope of the federal government and implementing the FairTax.
FLANEGAN: My primary reason for running is to bring fiscal sanity to Washington. The looming debt crisis caused by out of control deficit spending will collapse the economy and bring much harder times if it is not stopped. America’s greatest asset is its citizens and when the government gets out of the way and lets them enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as in the Declaration of Independence, then the people and the country prosper. When two American brothers in Dayton, Ohio, built a flying machine a new industry was born. When Steve Jobs and his friends built the first Apple computer in his parents garage a new industry was born. When Bill Gates started a new company doing software a new industry was born. All of these Americans were in the pursuit of happiness and America prospered.