Republican Seeks to “Sneak Up on ‘Em” in House District 55
(APN) ATLANTA — In our continuing coverage of the June 16, 2015 Special Election for House District 55, Atlanta Progressive News today takes a look at candidate John Guest, a Republican running as an independent, who recently told a local group of Republicans that he plans to “sneak up on ‘em” in House District 55.
“I’m running for Tyrone Brooks’s former seat, because this race is winnable. We’ve got a Special Election, we’ve only got 37 days, and if we band together we can sneak up on ‘em and corral ‘em,” Guest told the Fulton County Republican Party at a May 09, 2015 breakfast, according to a video recorded by open meetings activist Nydia Tisdale.
(Speech by Mr. Guest at 35:40)
“I guarantee you we can. And as an example of that [former Fulton County Chairwoman] Karen Handel did that in a Special Election. [Former Fulton County Chairman] Mike Kenn did that in a Special Election,” he said, referring to two Republicans.
House District 55 is approximately 80 percent Democratic.
Guest, an interior designer, is listed as the Vice Chairman of the Republican Party for Georgia’s 5th U.S. Congressional District, according to the group’s Facebook Page, although Guest tells Atlanta Progressive News that he does not currently hold that position:
One of Guest’s campaign consultants is Todd Rehm, a well-known Republican consultant.
Guest tells APN he doesn’t recall using the term “sneak up,” but that he is not trying to fool anybody by running as an independent.
“I am a Republican. I am running as an independent, I want to let people know I represent the entire district. Most of the district is Democratic. There is no question that I am a Republican by party, but I’m running as an independent. I’m not trying to fool anybody, but that’s just the way it is,” Guest said.
“There’s so many people that are caught up with labels; that don’t look at the positions,” Guest said.
Indeed, APN has consistently exposed intra-party differences and cross-party commonalities among Georgia politicians over the years, including by publishing candidate questionnaires and incumbent scorecards focused on specific policy issues.
Seven candidates are running in the Special Election to replace former State Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta), for State House District 55.
The candidates include Tyrone Brooks Jr., the son of former State Rep. Brooks; Alysia Brown; Guest; Marie Metze; Michael Fitzgerald; Raghu Raju; and Shelitha Robertson, who has run for the City Council of Atlanta and Fulton County Superior Court.
APN’s coverage of Brooks Jr.’s candidacy is available here:
APN has sent questionnaires to all seven candidates, and the remaining five responses are due tomorrow, May 25, 2015. APN will next send out questionnaires in the DeKalb County District 5 Special Election.
Guest’s responses to APN’s questionnaire are as follows:
DO YOU BELIEVE ALL HOUSE AND SENATE COMMITTEES SHOULD KEEP MINUTES, AND THOSE MINUTES SHOULD BE MADE PUBLIC? DO YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL IDEAS FOR TRANSPARENCY AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS?
I do believe all house and Senate committees should keep minutes. I believe there are exceptions from release of all minutes for items such as defense or personnel matters where containment of the information is driven by law or concerns for safety. But the vast majority should be available. However, since this might be expensive, we should look for the most economic method of recording them than having a physical transcriptionist. I agree that we need transparency, but even more I wish we had more citizens who cared what their government does and wished to participate.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Legislature is not subject to the Georgia Open Meetings Act, as it is not an “agency,” as defined in the Act; thus, minutes are typically not kept. While asking the Legislature to subject itself to the OMA may be a tall order, Committees could be required keep minutes as a matter of stand-alone policy.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON NUCLEAR POWER?
I like what nuclear power can do for us. I feel our government has strangled the abilities of our scientists to utilize nuclear power by adding such a regulatory burden that the cost is excessive and the delays to build, almost unsustainable. Yucca Mountain must be opened up to provide a secure storage or we need to use the French to recycle spent material.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS, IF ANY, TO EXPAND WIND AND SOLAR IN GEORGIA?
None. If solar becomes economically viable it will be a big hit with many. I am concerned that it not be generated in such a way that it destroys our birds and wildlife as it has in some Western states. We have many natural sources of energy in this great country and we should use every one to become independent and provide them to other nations so that they will not be solely reliant on enemies of the United States.
WOULD YOU SUPPORT REDUCING PETITION REQUIREMENTS FOR INDEPENDENT AND POLITICAL BODY (MINOR PARTY) CANDIDATES FROM THE CURRENT ONE PERCENT STATEWIDE, FIVE PERCENT NON-STATEWIDE REQUIREMENT?
I had no bar to my running as an independent in this special election. But for a regular cycle election, I would keep the requirement for a candidate to demonstrate that he or she has a plausible constituency. Failing that ballots could become too large to show on a screen. Candidate forums or debates would be unmanageable and useless. Less actual information would be transmitted to the public. Chaos would ensue.
WOULD YOU SUPPORT ADDING A VOTER VERIFIABLE PAPER AUDIT TRAIL TO ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS IN GEORGIA?
Absolutely, I was for that when the democrat secretary of state Cathy Cox rejected that option. I never trust ballots that cannot be verified easily. I have had too much experience with software.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON THE REFERENDUM TO CREATE A STATEWIDE OPPORTUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT TO TAKE OVER SO-CALLED FAILING SCHOOLS?
There has to be a solution to correct the schools that are failing our children. This method deserves a try. If it does not work we must try other methods until we fix this problem which damages those children and the quality of life for all of us in Georgia.
DO YOU SUPPORT AN EXPANDED MEDICAL CANNABIS PROGRAM (IN-STATE CULTIVATION, FULL PLANT MEDICINE, EXPANDED LIST OF CONDITIONS)? DO YOU SUPPORT DECRIMINALIZATION? DO YOU SUPPORT LEGALIZATION?
I do to all. I do not feel the votes are there right now to pass it.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON CITYHOOD PROPOSAL FOR SOUTH FULTON, AND ATLANTA’S PROPOSAL FOR SOUTH FULTON ANNEXATION?
I believe that should be up to the people within South Fulton. Their choice is what counts. The legislature may vote to allow a referendum but the final decision must be by the citizens.
DO YOU SUPPORT GMO LABELING?
Yes. I cannot imagine any argument against it; whether it is good or it is bad.
DO YOU SUPPORT ANY OF THE RECENT PROPOSALS REDUCING THE EARLY VOTING PERIOD, OR ALLOWING LOCAL JURISDICTIONS FLEXIBILITY TO REDUCE EARLY VOTING?
I am not aware of such proposals but from my experience in the last elections, I felt early voting went on far too long. The expense vs the number of people who actually voted showed that it was a real drain on financial and other resources. There was no early voting for many of my voting years and we never had a problem getting to the poles. [sic]
I am glad we were able to find a way to be sure that our servicemen’s votes are always counted. That should always be done.