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Posted: February 5, 2013 10:30 p.m.

Commissioner Douglas to seek US rep seat

Newton County Commissioner John Douglas is planning a run at Georgia’s 10th congressional seat in 2014, hoping to replace U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, who officially announced Wednesday that he would be seeking the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

Douglas, who was just elected to the county commission in November, said he’s running because he wants to continue Broun’s fiscally conservative, Republican ideology.

"Well I think the federal government is so dysfunctional now, fiscally and politically, that we need to send somebody up there that is willing to take a stand and stop this fiscal and political nonsense, this crazy out of control spending and the negative impact that all these policies are having on the economy," Douglas said Saturday night by phone.

Douglas, 59, has previously served in the Georgia House and Senate, and said he believes he has a good shot at winning the seat because he’s already represented seven of the biggest counties contained in the 10th district, which includes parts or all of 25 counties, including Newton and nearby Butts, Henry, Morgan and Walton counties.

"I think people will appreciate the fact that in my 12 years of public service when I tell them something that’s what I do and carry through with. They appreciate that. They’re sick of people (politicians in general) saying one thing here and then going to Washington and doing exactly the opposite," Douglas said. "My record shows I’ll take a stand. I’ve never voted for tax increases, and wouldn’t do that in Washington. I wouldn’t vote to raise the debt ceiling in Washington. We need to take control of this dysfunctional government and get it under control."

Though he was just elected to the county commission, Douglas said he’s running for U.S. Congress because there’s an open seat that just became available.

"If it’s going to be an open race, frankly, we need to have someone from Newton County in the race. It would be quite a feather in our cap to have a congressman from Newton County.," he said.

Douglas does not have to resign from his seat on the Newton County Board of Commissioners until he officially qualifies to run for U.S. Congress, something he said he’ll only do if it appears he has a shot. Qualifying will not be until April 2014, Douglas said.

"I look forward to being on the county commission for the next year and a half and serving the first district (of Newton County). I’m not going anywhere," he said.

According to the county charter, if Douglas does eventually vacate his seat, the remaining members of the Board of Commissioners will appoint a person from District 1 to fill the seat until the next election. Douglas beat local attorney John Strauss in the Republican primary in July; no Democrat contested the seat in November.

Because a race for U.S. representative requires so much money, Douglas will spend 2013 raising money and garnering support, but he won’t actively campaign.

Douglas will host a campaign kickoff rally at 1:30 p.m., Thursday on the steps of the Historic Courthouse, where he’ll expand on his platform of cutting federal spending/the economy/jobs, strong support for the 2nd amendment, making the U.S energy independent and maintaining a strong military.

Douglas is a Georgia native. He graduated from The University of North Georgia in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in American politics from Mercer University in 1987.

He also graduated from the United States Army Command and General Staff College and was an Army officer from 1977 to 1994, attaining the rank of major. He served as a field representative for the Georgia Peace Officers Association from 1997 to 2011.

Politically, he served on the board of education for one term, in the Georgia House for one term and in the Georgia Senate for three terms.

Douglas is a member of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church; he and his wife, Susan, have one daughter.

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