Thursday, June 10, 2010

League of Woman Voters provide profiles on Dunwoody area candidates for House District 79.

Georgia House, District 79


The Georgia House of Representatives is the Lower House in the Georgia Assembly, comprised of 180 members. The House, together with the Senate, constitutes the legislature. The duties of the legislature include consideration of proposed laws and resolutions, consideration of proposed constitutional amendments for submission to the voters, and appropriation of all funds for the operation of state government.

PLEASE NOTE: Responses are published exactly as they were submitted by the candidates. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the League of Women Voters of Georgia have made no edits to correct spelling, grammar, punctuation or factual errors.

Tammy Anderson (R)

Ms. Tammy Anderson, Republican candidate for District 79 had not replied to the LWV survey or possibly it was lost in the mail therefore I will list her replies here if she desires the information to be published at a later time.

Keith Kaylor (D)

Age (as of June 10): 45
Education: B. Chemical Engineering
Family: Married 11 years with one daughter
Web site: none
E-mail: kakaylor2003@yahoo.com

Why are you running for office?: I feel that the career politiatians that have been running the Sate of Georgia are not dealing with the important statewide issues facing us: - Education, transportation, ethics, and water conservation.

The 2010 General Assembly has received significant criticism for failing to resolve critical financial issues of the state. If elected, what will you do to ensure better success in 2011 and future legislative sessions?
Keith A. Kaylor: The biggest problem with Georgia's financial status is numerous special interest tax breaks handed out over the years. I would abolish as many of these tax breaks as possible.

How will you engage voters in your district in identifying issues that are important to them, and how will you ensure progress is made on these issues?
Keith A. Kaylor: I would keep in contact with the voters through email, as well has holding community forums open to all. The traditional communication of elected officials in Dunwoody has been one-sided, with our legislators telling the voters what they want, and no room for feedback except for an elite few. I will change that if elected.

What specific changes, if any, to property tax policy would you like to see?
Keith A. Kaylor: One of the few positive things the state legislature has done recently is make it easier for citizens to challenge their property assessments. The recent drop in real estate values has left many homeowners paying far more in taxes than they should. We should continue to make it easier for citizens to distpute their property assessments.

If elected, what would be your three (3) top policy priorities and how would you work to achieve results?
Keith A. Kaylor: Education - We need to ensure adequate funds are provided to education. The future of our state depends on our public education system. Suggestions for improving our schools should come from educators and parents, not partisan think tanks. Transportation - we need comprehensive transportation planning for the Atlanta Metro area, including adequate funds for mass transit, telecommunting, and other options besides one-person commuters. Water - We need comprehensive, regional water planning.

Do you think that Georgia should adopt an independent redistricting commission, that should be put into law in time for 2011 redistricting?
Keith A. Kaylor: Definitely. Our current system is partisan, and leads to politicians picking their constituents, instead of the other way around. This leads to districts dominated by one party, and politicians that are forced to cater to the extremes of their party to remain in office. We need a non-partisan, indipendent commision to draw districts according to logical lines such as county and city boundaries.

What else needs to be done to resolve Georgia’s transportation problems?
Keith A. Kaylor: We need a permanent source of transportation funding paid for by the people who use the transportation system. The best way to do this would be an increase in the gasoline tax, not a sales tax. Revenues from this tax should be used on a county or regional basis only, not statewide. A portion of the funds should be used for mass transit. A gas tax would also have the benefit of encouraging fuel efficiency and reducing traffic thrugh public transportation, car pooling, etc.

What further changes, if any, does Georgia need in terms of ethics reform?
Keith A. Kaylor: Georgia needs substantial changes in ethics reform, including restrictions on lobbyists, real enforcement powers, and a nonpartisan, independent ethics body. The current system is dominated by PACs and influential politicians who distribute money to other politicians. This makes it almost impossible for incumbents to be challenged, except for millionaires. Why are so many incumbents unchallenged, but open seats see 8 challengers? Our campaign finance system in Georgia is broken.

Tom Taylor (R)

Occupation: Manage all aspects of defense programs for major industry contractor.
Age (as of June 10): 48
Education: Georgia State University BA, International Relations & Economics, and MBA, International Business
Family: Wendi Taylor, wife of 26 years & Son Keith Taylor, 18,recent Wesleyan grad
Web site: TomGetsResults.com
E-mail: TomGetsResults@gmail.com

Why are you running for office?
: My conservative leadership experience provides proof of my dedication to Dunwoody & North DeKalb County and evidence I get desired results. •Founded Citizens for Dunwoody & Dunwoody Action Committee PAC •Led legislation & referendum effort to incorporate Dunwoody •Provided blueprint for Dunwoody Police as Police Task Force Chair •Ramped up city services achieving 1st year surplus without raising taxes as City Councilman •Orchestrated Parks & Property bill passage, transferring parks & $7M bonds ..

The 2010 General Assembly has received significant criticism for failing to resolve critical financial issues of the state. If elected, what will you do to ensure better success in 2011 and future legislative sessions?
Tom Taylor: Run state government more like a business model. Adopt Zero-based budgeting and have government function with as few employees as possible. As an inaugural City Councilman in Dunwoody, we established a government where there are very few employees with the exception of Police, allowing us to run a surplus in year one of operations without raising taxes. This same model could be applied to some state functions, outsourcing and using public/private partnerships to be better stewards of tax $.

How will you engage voters in your district in identifying issues that are important to them, and how will you ensure progress is made on these issues?
Tom Taylor: In leadership positions in advocacy groups and as a City Council member, I know that open and transparent discussions and exchange of information and ideas is critical to resolving issues. As councilman in a brand-new municipality, there were a plethora of issues, much akin to starting a business. While not all can be resolved to everyone's satisfaction, staying engaged and being a listener are key factors. The most important item to ensure progress is perseverance, some issues need time.

What specific changes, if any, to property tax policy would you like to see?
Tom Taylor: The most important item regarding property tax policy is to set a statewide standard for assessments. Having a piecemeal system that varies by county. It is also important to link assessments with actual market values, which in may instances is not the case.

If elected, what would be your three (3) top policy priorities and how would you work to achieve results?
Tom Taylor: 1. Reduce state spending. Adopt strict Zero-based budgeting and hold people accountable. To balance the budget the first priority is to identify non-essential or non-performing programs and eliminate them. 2. Settle the water dispute. This problem is not going away and will effect jobs and growth for the future. Engage the issue rather than in just rhetoric. 3. Education policy. Quality education is critical to the future, must be coupled with accountability both in classrooms and admin.

Do you think that Georgia should adopt an independent redistricting commission, that should be put into law in time for 2011 redistricting?
Tom Taylor: Although this sounds like an equitable process, my firm belief is that neither party would ever agree to implement this. As a practical matter, neither party wants to give up the power of the majority in the process.

What else needs to be done to resolve Georgia’s transportation problems?
Tom Taylor: This is an answer that requires more than 500 words, but the bottom line is to implement, rather than discuss to death, transportation solutions. As an example, more public/private partnerships to leverage dollars and advance projects. A very clear and successful example of an innovative solution is the success of the CID's in Atlanta. The other critical element is to bring MARTA and the jigsaw puzzle of other metro area transportation authorities under a unified management structure.

What further changes, if any, does Georgia need in terms of ethics reform?
Tom Taylor: Ethics should be a simple issue that any 2nd grader should know. Don't lie, don't steal, don't cheat or allow others to do so. As a candidate that has had frivolous ethics charge filed against him, the one change that I think is critical is to have a provision for recourse. As a an observer of the State Assembly over the past 5 years, I would also push to have ethical lapses enforced uniformly. This has not been the case over the past few years.

2 comments:

John Heneghan said...

Forgot to mention: other statewide races can be found here.

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Dunwoody Mom said...

Question for Tom Taylor - are your 3 priorities in "priority" order?