A HUGE CONGRESSIONAL RACE Since this is a presidential election year, other races tend to get overlooked. However, there is one federal race this year that affects all Americans; the race for the 3rd Congressional District of Georgia. For years, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Grantville) served Georgia in the House of Representatives as the representative from the 3rd District. However, earlier this year, he announced his retirement from Congress. At only 65, I expect to see him pursue other opportunities in public service. Westmoreland regularly visited Carrollton and the other cities in the 3rd District. I will never forget the fundraiser when my then 5-year-old son, Jake, just hopped in Westmoreland’s car ready to ride back to Coweta Co. They pulled out of the driveway and were heading to Maple St. when Westmoreland noticed he had an “extra passenger.” I soon caught up with Jake and pulled him away from another one of his adventures. Well, where is the 3rd District? This is a rather large (geographically) area that includes the counties of Carroll, Coweta, Fayette (partial), Harris, Heard, Henry (partial), Lamar, Meriwether, Muscogee (partial), Pike, Spalding, Troup, and Upson. This race to replace Westmoreland is important for many reasons. For me, the most important aspect of this race is to ensure that a strong conservative wins. The 3rd District is one of the most conservative congressional districts in the country. Fortunately, a conservative Republican will win this race. Westmoreland won landslide victories every time. The questions are who out of the seven Republican candidates can win the summer primary on May 24th and maybe a runoff and how conservative will that candidate be? Also, will the winner be a rock solid conservative, moderate conservative, or something else? With the primary election day just around the corner, you may want to consider researching the candidates for yourself. While you may have different criteria, I use the following general considerations to assist me in deciding who to vote for: 1. Does the candidate believe in a free market economy with minimal government regulation? 2. Is the candidate committed to the safety of our people from domestic and foreign terrorists? 3. Does the candidate believe that taxes should only pay for the bare necessities of running a government as outlined in the Constitution? 4. Is the candidate committed to securing our borders first and then addressing the problem of illegal immigration at home second? 5. Will the candidate protect the Constitution as it is written, particularly the 2nd Amendment? 6. Does the candidate have any experience working in the private sector? 7. Do I believe that the candidate truly understands and cherishes freedom? I really do not care about the age, race, gender, or other physical attributes that we are born with. History shows that good and bad leaders come from all races and genders. I hope that you will take a few minutes after reading this column to become familiar with the candidates, their beliefs, their histories, and their visions. As I have said before, the United States is more polarized today than at any time in history since the 1850s-60s. The Supreme Court is split 4-4 with no one knowing when, how, or who will replace Justice Scalia. The political parties in Congress are imploding as they fight amongst themselves when they should be focused on serious problems like debt and defense. Lastly, the presidential election process this year has fallen to depths so low that I wonder if the Office of the President of the United States will ever recover. Can you imagine Ronald Reagan or FDR behaving like the frontrunners in both parties this year? Since almost all of this is out of our control, let’s get active and elect the best candidate to represent the good, hard working people of the 3rd Congressional District. Time is short.