ALBANY, Ga. -- After 10 years as a state representative, Tom Knox, R-Cumming, says that service and his position as chairman of the House Insurance Committee makes him the most qualified candidate to be Georgia's new Insurance Commissioner.
"Serving in the state legislature and as chairman of the House Insurance Committee has allowed me to see up close and personal the problems we need to solve," Knox, an attorney from Cumming, said last week during a campaign swing through Albany.
"And we solve the problem -- specifically health care -- through free market and free enterprise solutions."
Knox is just one of nine Republicans, including State Senator Seth Harp of Columbus, taking aim at replacing outgoing Commissioner John Oxendine, who is running for governor.
"As insurance companies work to stay afloat because of the financial crisis and President Obama tries to nationalize health care, we can't afford an insurance commissioner who needs on-the-job training," he said.
Knox took the opportunity to fire more shots at "ObamaCare," which he said has the potential to turn ordinary citizens into lawbreakers.
"Eighty-five percent of the people in this country are happy with their current health insurance," Knox said. "We shouldn't hold a gun to people's heads and make them buy health insurance. Young people probably aren't going to buy the government's insurance anyway.
"But the government has to have young people (on insurance roles) because (the government) will need the money, and young people are less likely to use the plan and incur costs.
"This plan would just make them criminals."
Knox said he will shoot straight with Georgia's consumers.
"I tell it like it is," he said. "I think it's important to tell the truth and let people have the opportunity to agree or disagree. I have confidence that people will do the right thing.
"I don't have a bone to pick with anybody. I just want elected officials to do the right thing."