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Posted: June 5, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Republican candidates prepare for ‘10 elections

‘We’re coming back,’ local republicans claim

Sen. John Douglas (R-Social Circle) declared last Thursday’s local Republican Party meeting a victory party, in the wake of the Board of Commissioners decision to not raise the millage rate.

"We couldn’t have done it without all of your phone calls, e-mails and the rally," Douglas said. "We made our message clear to the four Democratic commissioners."

Ester Fleming said about 82 people attended the rally on the square and they all made a difference. He said the party has been making things happen the past few months and he expects that trend to continue.

"A week ago the commission was divided, and this last night they all voted not to increase property taxes," Fleming said. "We lost in November, and that was our fault, but we’re coming back and we’re going to get our message out."

After the discussion of the county budget situation, two Republican candidates for state offices then spoke to the crowd in preparation for next year’s elections.

Brian Kemp, a former state senator from Athens, spoke about his campaign for Secretary of State. He said he planned to continue the work of current secretary Karen Handel, who has streamlined government and fought corruption.

Kemp said he has experience dealing with budget cuts, and he wants to continue to run government like an efficient business. Kemp said he believed small business owners were over-regulated and he was going to help businesses as much as he could by removing unnecessary regulations.

Kemp was followed by Ralph Hudgens, who is running for insurance commissioner. Hudgens said he is an experienced Congressman who fell in love with the insurance industry. He said he wants to fight against the federalization of insurance and continue to promote affordable health insurance for families.

Both Hudgens and Kemp talked about how important family was in their lives, and stressed they had experience in politics, business and family life.

Fleming said the local Republican Party will change their meetings from the fourth Thursday in every month to the fourth Monday in every month. The next meeting will be June 22.

He said that the August 24 meeting will feature some other state candidates including gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel.

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