ALBANY, Ga. -- As Tuesday's primary elections draw nearer, freshman state Rep. Carol Fullerton, D-Albany, says voters need to remember what she has delivered to District 151, while challenger Freddy Grimsley hopes to tap into voters' unhappiness with incumbents.
Fullerton, who has served since January 2009, said she's aware that there is a possibility of a voter backlash against her.
"It's possible, I guess," Fullerton said. "But since I really haven't been in office that long, I don't think I can be accused of being an inactive incumbent. I have delivered several things for my district, and that wasn't done before I took office."
Grimsley, a Marine veteran who has served on the Southwest Georgia Regional Development Commission, said he was running because he knows "how important public service is." He said he believes the current legislative delegation has "taken their eyes off the ball" in regard to working for the local area.
Both candidates have records of public service. Fullerton, a consultant, has served on the Albany City Commission and, in addition to her legislative duties, serves on the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission board of directors. Grimsley served six years on the board of the RDC.
Fullerton is especially proud of helping nail down funding for the Ray Charles Fine Arts Center at Albany State University. The funding finally came through because she crossed party lines and supported republican David Ralston as house speaker.
"I believe I have represented my district well," Fullerton said. "I believe I am knowledgable of the issues we face and I am willing to cross the aisle to get things done, as in the case of my support for Speaker (of the House David) Ralston.
"I thought he'd be fair and not overly partisan. So far, I've been correct."
Fullerton serves on a total of five house committees that all impact our area -- Higher Education; Economic Development and Tourism; Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications; Health and Human Services, and Natural Resources and Environment.
Grimsley, a native of Miller County, said he sees state budget issues, public safety, transportation (including rail from Albany to Atlanta) and water as major issues.
Grimsley said it was wrong to tax property owners extra with the revocation of the state property tax rebates while giving multi-billion dollar corporations tax breaks. Any incentives should be aimed a small businesses, he said. "We've got to support small business," he said. "I'd prefer that those credits go to small businesses."
Regarding transportation, Grimsley says he advocates pushing for freight rail and the start of a commuter rail service. He says that would encourage industry to come to south Georgia and would give residents in south Georgia access to more sources of medical care.
Reportedly, plans now tend toward establishing commuter rail in the Atlanta-Augusta-Athens area first, followed by Macon. Albany would be further down the line.
Grimsley said Dougherty County's delegation should push to move up Albany on the list. "South Georgia needs to get its fair share," he said.
Fullerton said if re-elected, her priorities would include transportation, education and health care.
"I plan on concentrating on transportation issues next session, mainly getting (Georgia Highway) 133 straight to Valdosta," Fullerton said. "That will help the (Marine Corps Logistic Base) an easier way to Jacksonville. It will help us keep the base here during the next round of BRACs (Base Realignment and Closure).
"I will also work to soften any budget cuts to education and work on health issues that affect our citizens."