Arrington Jr., Carr Responses to APN HD 62 Questionnaire

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(APN) ATLANTA — In our continuing coverage of State House races, we sent questionnaires to the candidates in the HD 62 race.  Candidates Marvin Arrington, Jr., and Kip Carr provided their responses; Benny Crane failed to respond to an email and numerous phone messages; and LaDawn B. Jones “LBJ” declined to respond.

“I have received your survey.  Yet at this time I will not be able to complete and return the survey…  Because I do not have enough information, and my work on the campaign trail will not allow me to do the research that I think is necessary to fully address your questions, I cannot respond to your survey at this time,” Jones wrote in an email to Atlanta Progressive News.

To date, fifteen out of eighteen candidates have responded to APN’s questionnaires in the HD 53, 56, 57, 58, 59, 62, and 63 races.

Forthcoming is APN’s article regarding HD 63: there, all three candidates, TJ Copeland, Ronnie Mabra, and Linda Pritchett have sent in their responses.

Kip Carr, 45, is currently a Legislative Analyst (Fulton County House Delegation Executive); and from 2001-2004, Carr worked as an Assignment Coordinator at Fulton County Government Television, according to Ballotpedia.

Marvin Arrington, Jr., 40, is an attorney.  He is also the son of Marvin Arrington, former President of the City Council of Atlanta and a former Fulton County Superior Court Judge.

House District 62 is an open seat due to State Rep. Joe Heckstall (D-Atlanta) retiring from the Legislature.

The candidates’ responses are as follows:

(1) DO YOU SUPPORT OR OPPOSE NUCLEAR POWER?

ARRINGTON: I support the safe use of nuclear power as an alternative energy source.

CARR: With the Plant Vogtle reactor, we’ve seen that nuclear power is extremely costly, so while I certainly support alternate energy sources, I’m not inclined to favor any system that unduly burdens citizens, where they are forced to absorb the massive costs that’s involved, not to mention the environmental health issues related to nuclear power.

(2) BALLOT ACCESS MEANS MAKING IT EASIER FOR INDEPENDENT AND MINOR PARTY CANDIDATES TO GET ON THE BALLOT IN GEORGIA.  THE CURRENT PETITIONING REQUIREMENTS ARE ONE PERCENT STATEWIDE, FIVE PERCENT FOR JURISDICTIONS (IE- COUNTY, STATE HOUSE DISTRICT, US HOUSE DISTRICT). WOULD YOU SUPPORT LOWERING THE PETITION REQUIREMENTS AND IF SO, TO WHAT LEVEL?

ARRINGTON: I support maintaining the requirements as is, one percent statewide.

(Analysis: The current requirements are actually one percent statewide, five percent non-statewide.)

CARR: It’s ironic that at the same time Georgia was giving 18 years to vote for the first time nearly 70 years ago, the very first petition requirements were set in the Georgia Code.  I strongly support creating a study committee to examine this issue and the committee should hold public hearings throughout the state. The study committee should make a recommendation to the Legislature as to what specifically would the petition requirements should be for which office and whether or not minor parties be responsible for a portion of the costs for the election.

(3) DO YOU SUPPORT ADDING A VOTER-VERIFIABLE PAPER AUDIT TRAIL TO ELECTRONIC VOTING IN GEORGIA?

ARRINGTON: I support secure voting and want to leverage technology to do so without additional costs.

CARR: Absolutely. Maintaining the integrity of our voting system and making recommendations on specifically how we can improve the election process will be one of my top priorities as State Representative.

(4) WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON CHARTER SCHOOLS?  SHOULD THE GEORGIA CONSTITUTION BE AMENDED TO ALLOW THE STATE TO OVERRIDE LOCALLY-ELECTED SCHOOL BOARDS’ DECISIONS WHEN IT COMES TO THE CREATION OF CHARTER SCHOOLS?  WHY OR WHY NOT?

ARRINGTON: I am a proponent for charter schools. However, I believe locally-elected school boards are the voice for the people in their area. If the people of a locale want a charter school, I believe their elected officials should give the people they represent the charter schools, as long as the schools are held accountable to state regulations and guidelines for schools.

CARR: I’m extremely committed to working very hard to strike a balance between the state and the local school children on this particular sensitive issue because we owe nothing less to the children. I’m also committed to the concept that all the students in Georgia deserve a world-class education, no matter if they are in public schools or in a charter.

(5) WOULD YOU SUPPORT LEGALIZING MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA?

ARRINGTON: Yes, I support legalizing medical marijuana in the state of Georgia.

CARR: I’m not inclined to support this as long as the federal restrictions are in place. My main concern in this area is would we permit this for Georgia residents only, or would we allow  non-residents to also seek treatment in this manner? Can our clinics and hospitals, many of which are already stretched to the limit– handle patients from out-of-state?

(6) DO YOU SUPPORT ENDING THE CURRENT PRACTICE PERMITTING UNLIMITED GIFTS FROM LOBBYISTS TO STATE LEGISLATORS?

ARRINGTON: I support placing a cap on gifts from lobbyists to state legislators.

CARR: As legislators, I believe our role is to set policy for the state and I think that limit-less gifts may distract our focus from what we’re elected to do, so yes, I support limits for lobbyists gifts.

(6b) HAVE YOU SIGNED THE COMMON CAUSE GIFT CAP PLEDGE?  IF NOT, WHY NOT?

ARRINGTON: I did not sign but my comments were, I like the cap idea but also want an overall cap included, such as a total of $2500 (reflective of current campaign).

CARR: Yes, and I’m the only candidate in this race to do so.  This is exactly the type of issue that voters want to know very clearly where we stand.

(7) DO YOU SUPPORT A MORE PROGRESSIVE TAX STRUCTURE?  IF SO, WHAT SPECIFIC TAX REFORMS WOULD YOU PROPOSE?

ARRINGTON: I am still evaluating the progressive tax structure (flat tax system). Studies indicate people identify with a higher “well-being” using the flat tax system. However, finding the “right” tax rate is very important because other factors would have to be taken into consideration income, family size, and benefits.

(Analysis: By definition a progressive tax structure is not a flat tax structure, so it is unclear what Arrington is referring to.)

CARR: Mindful of the fact that changes to the tax structure has a direct impact on the dollars into
the state’s coffers, obviously some items that would bring some relief to average citizens include a gradual phase-out on the sales tax on food.  Our first priority is to build up healthy reserves, and once we’ve done that, I’d seriously be inclined to look at some options in this area.

(8) WHAT, IF ANYTHING, WOULD YOU DO TO SUPPORT AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN GEORGIA?

ARRINGTON: I would support affordable housing for low to moderate income families in Georgia.

CARR: Georgia received more than $800 million as part of a settlement for foreclosure fraud.  I’d work to get some of that money set aside for taxpayers to assist them with maintaining their homes.

(END/2012)

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