GOP Bus Tour rolls into Albany

Photo by Terry Lewis

Photo by Terry Lewis

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Republicans' "Real Jobs For Georgia" Bus Tour rolled into The Thronateeska Heritage Center Tuesday morning, unloading the GOP's hopes of creating a roadmap for an "America at a crossroad."

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, one of seven GOP candidates on the tour who are running on Tuesday's general election ballot. All had something to say.

"America will be at a crossroad Tuesday," Isakson, the incumbent running against Democrat Mike Thurmond and Libertarian Chuck Donovan, told a crowd of supporters. "Do we see the government as the solution to all of our problems, or do we subscribe to the power of the individual?

"I think we represent the power of the individual. I think we are the people who understand America."

Isakson was introduced by fellow U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Moultrie who quipped, "I think I might be the most relaxed person in the room because I'm not running for election Tuesday."

Joining the two U.S. senators at the podium were Second Congressional District challenger Mike Keown, state attorney general hopeful Sam Olens, state school superintendent candidate John Barge, state labor Commissioner hopeful Mark Butler, Georgia agricultural commissioner hopeful Gary Black, Public Service Commission candidate Tim Echols and State House District 150 challenger Karen Kemp.

Olens, who is running against former Dougherty District Attorney Ken Hodges, a Democrat, and Libertarian Don Smart, said, "My opponent has sided with Barack Obama in regard to health care reform.

"We'll change that when I get to Atlanta by joining the lawsuit against Obamacare. Also, we'll have to deal with redistricting next year and I look forward to working with (gubernatorial candidate) Nathan Deal on it."

Barge, who is running for school superintendent against Democrat Joe Martin and Libertarian Kira Griffis, cited his experience.

"Experience should be the deciding factor in this race," Barge said. "My opponent is not even qualified to teach in the state of Georgia. There is no greater economic tool than a state's school system, and we won't create jobs in Georgia if we don't have an educated work force."

Butler, who is running against Democrat Darryl Hicks and Libertarian Will Costa, then stepped up. "I want to be the first Republican labor commissioner in the state of Georgia," Butler said. "We need a labor commissioner who knows small business and we are going to come up with a plan for Jobs in south Georgia."

The Tour then visited Blakely and Thomasville later Tuesday.