NGwinnett.com invited candidates to complete a questionnaire outlining their goals and reasons for seeking office. The responses by participating candidates are presented unedited and in their entirety.
Timothy Swiney (D), candidate for State Senate District 9
Campaign website: ElectTimothy.com
Campaign Facebook page: Timothy Swiney for Georgia Senate
Campaign Twitter account: @ElectTimothy
NGwinnett: What is the primary reason you decided to run for office?
Swiney: My children are the reason I am running for office. As the parent of a 5 year old boy and a 4 year old daughter with special needs, I'm very concerned about their future. State legislators have focused on nonsensical and divisive issues while Georgia families continue to suffer under one of the worst state economies in the nation. I am concerned about the future of public education, whether my children will be safe in our neighborhoods, if they will have access to adequate healthcare, whether they will be treated fairly in the work place, and dozens of other concerns shared by all parents. I do not believe our current government is working in the interest of Georgia's families but instead are paid representatives of radical special interest groups and big business. It's time we get Georgia working for Georgians.
NGwinnett: What three issues do you believe are most important to the constituents in your district and why?
Swiney: I believe the number one issue in our district is a very basic question. Who are our representatives actually representing? I believe that working Georgians have been left behind. While Republicans have been pushing a controversial social agenda, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 4 Georgia children are living in poverty. While Republicans have blocked the federally funded Medicaid expansion, 650,000 working poor in Georgia cannot get medical insurance. While Republicans have pushed Georgia to be one of the top 10 states for big business, Georgia families make less than they did 10 years ago and 40% have absolutely no savings. While Republicans talk about ending free school lunches, 25% of children in Georgia go to bed hungry. The Republicans here in Georgia are clearly not working in the interest of Georgia families. So I believe the number one issue facing my district is having Georgia families adequately represented at the state capital.
The second issue is the economy and job creation. As I already referenced, Georgia families are suffering under this Republican dominated government. Georgians have the 2nd worst credit scores in the nation and the 2nd highest bankruptcy rate. We have one of the highest unemployment rates, one of the highest foreclosure rates, one of the highest poverty rates, one of the highest uninsured rates, and one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. Big business may be flourishing under Republican domination here in Georgia, but this economy is breaking the backs of working families.
The third issue is social justice. In spite of a very loud minority, most residents of Senate District 9 are fair minded and believe in individual liberties, personal freedoms, and the celebration of individuality. Our government has been focused too much on promoting a very narrow radical agenda that offends most people's sensibilities and perpetuates an image of Southern bigotry. It's time our elected officials stop working on behalf of special interest groups and get back to doing the business of the people.
NGwinnett: If elected, what do you hope to accomplish in the next term?
Swiney: We need to get Georgia's economy working for Georgia families again. 26% of all occupations here in Georgia pay full time wages that are below the poverty level. Of the 1 in 4 children living in poverty, more that 80% having at least one parent working. Georgia families are financially suffering under Georgia's Republican domination. We need to focus more on economic and family issues and less on injecting fundamentalist dogma into personal lives.
Georgia needs to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The Republicans refusal to expand Medicaid and cover an additional 650,000 working poor is based purely on political reasons and makes no sense for Georgia's economy. Failing to accept billions of dollars in federal funding to expand Medicaid has already resulted in several rural hospitals having to close, costing jobs and eventually lives. We need to stop this political posturing and do the right thing for hard working Georgians.
I support abolishing the income tax in favor of a sales tax revenue base. Two of our neighbors, Tennessee and Florida have already abandoned the income tax. By converting to a sale tax, hard work is no punished. Overtime does not increase your tax burden. And, all residents share the tax burden based on consumption rather than productivity.
I support abolishing the property tax on owner occupied residential properties. Home ownership should not be singled out for special tax penalties. Achieving the American Dream should not be punishable by annual fines, fees, or subject to tax liens. By eliminating the property tax, all residents of Georgia, whether documented or undocumented, will carry a fair share of the tax burden.
NGwinnett: If you could only tell voters one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Swiney: No matter what your personal beliefs, your political party affiliation, or your religious affiliation, I want your readers to understand that my purpose for seeking office is to give my children, and yours, the brightest future possible. When I cast a vote as your State Senator, my first concern will be the impact each bill will have on Georgia's children. Whether you're a parent, a grand parent, or have no children of your own; the point is that what is good for Georgia's children benefits all Georgians. Above all else, I am a dad, not a politician. My children are my motivation for everything I do.
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