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Posted: February 7, 2013 10:55 p.m.

Douglas gives conservative credentials

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County Commissioner John Douglas announces his candidacy for the soon-to-be-vacated seat of U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens.

County Commissioner John Douglas called himself a combination of Ronald Reagan, former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, former Florida Congressman Allen West and U.S. Rep. Paul Broun Thursday as he sought to position himself as an ultra-conservative Republican voice in what’s likely to be a crowded race to replace Broun, who is seeking U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss soon-to-be vacant seat.

Douglas expounded on his platform Thursday at an official campaign kickoff at the Historic Courthouse. The longtime politician is jumping into the fray early as he seeks a chance to enter national politics after holding multiple roles on both the local and state level. The 10th District contains the eastern half of Newton County and extends east to the state’s border cutting a wide swath across 24 other counties.

Douglas said he wants to get the federal budget under control, repeal Obamacare, implement the Fair Tax, protect the Second Amendment, make America energy independent and promote a strong military, but not engage in costly, unwinnable wars. He also said he’s pro-life, supports a very close relationship with Israel and wants to actively patrol the Mexican border and send illegal immigrants home.

He said the current level of federal spending is out of control and dysfunctional and said the federal government is basically selling America to the Chinese. He said he would not support raising the debt ceiling as that would be like giving President Barack Obama a blank check to spend.

Douglas does support the Fair Tax, a national sales tax that would replace the current income tax-based federal revenue system. Douglas supports the tax because he believes it’s fairer as it taxes all people at the same rate and doesn’t disincentivize people to work.

He’s also in favor of a balanced federal budget and wants the government to pass an amendment. Appealing Obamacare is a priority, as Douglas said he believes it will the single biggest drain on the economy.
Douglas also said he staunchly supports the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, and always has.

“If you can get rid of the Second Amendment, you can get rid of the other eight amendments in the Bill of Rights,” Douglas said. “The only thing that stands between freedom and tyranny in this country is a well-armed citizenry…and they can’t stand it and they’re going to do everything they can to get our guns.”

As for energy independence, Douglas said it was crazy that the federal government was not exploiting its own natural resources, but instead choosing to send money overseas.

“We only penalize ourselves when we send millions and millions of dollars overseas to kings and palpitates who don’t like us but who our president bows down to,” he said.

As for the military, Douglas said the U.S. needs a strong military, but needs to get out of Afghanistan and not engage in wars it can’t win.

“We have to have a strong military in this county; it is not a left-wing social laboratory,” Douglas said, noting that Afghanistan is no better off today than it was years ago.

Douglas said it would be more useful to use the military for border patrol. He said he would not support an amnesty-type program.

“You go home and get at the back of the line of the U.S. embassy and you apply to come to this country legally,” Douglas said. “And that’s where the military can come in and protect our vital national interests. Put them on that southern border and seal that thing up.”

Douglas was just elected as a county commissioner in November, but he won’t have to vacate the seat unless he officially qualifies to run for U.S. Congress, which won’t happen until April 2014.

He told The News that if he doesn’t believe he has a chance to win the congressional seat, he will not qualify and instead serve out the remainder of his term as a county commissioner.

Some residents have called for Douglas to immediately step down and vacate the county commission seat; however, Douglas said he doesn’t believe his focus on his duties will be split.

“I’m giving as much time to the county commission as the issues require. I’m answering phone calls and I’m responding to people, and I may not leave the county commission,” he told The News after the official announcement.

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.

Douglas was asked if he had anyone in mind who might fill in for him if he does vacate his seat in 2014. He said there are many qualified people, but said he wasn’t going to get into that yet.

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