After he was found ineligible to run for State Senate in 2006, former State Senator Mike Crotts moved to Covington where he announced on Thursday that he will again challenge Sen. John Douglas for the Republican Party nomination.
The events which lead to Crotts' disqualification nearly two years ago from the Senate District 17 ballot still weigh on Crotts' mind as evidenced by the lengths Crotts has gone to ensure that he will be able to run for office in November.
In 2007 Crotts said he was summoned for jury duty in District 17 and was paid by the court for serving.
"That in itself, I believe, proved my residency," Crotts said.
Last October Crotts moved to a house located off of Brown Bridge Road in Covington. Crotts said he has put his home in Henry County, which former Secretary of State Cathy Cox ruled in June 2006 lay outside of district boundaries, up for sale.
Crotts served six terms in the Senate and was the ranking republican senator before redistricting in 2004 eliminated his district and a failed Congressional run cost him his seat at the state capitol.
"I've just had so much encouragement by the people that want me to go back," Crotts said of his decision to run again. "It's something that I enjoyed. I enjoyed serving the people."
Crotts cited his greater number of years of experience serving in the Senate as a chief reason for voters in Newton County to vote for him over Douglas, who is seeking a third term.
During his time in the Senate, Crotts served on six standing committees, was the chair of the Senate Ethics Committee and was the vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.
"I think that with my years of experience and the committees I've served on, I can accomplish more," Crotts said.
Crotts said he has proven his ability to obtain earmarks for the county by sending roughly twice the amount of money to Newton County as the previous two state senators combined. Crotts said he also worked hard to bring SKC Inc. to Covington 10 years ago.
A strong social conservative, in his time at the Senate, Crotts saw a bill he introduced making English the official language in the state passed and an amendment he sponsored to the Georgia Constitution which prohibits same-sex marriage approved in a voter referendum by a wide margin.
Douglas has also made a name for himself as a staunch proponent of conservative issues. This session he introduced a bill which would make it illegal for any state agency to require its employees to speak a language other than English as a requirement of a promotion.
Crotts said of Douglas' bill, "All he's doing is amending my resolution. If anything it appears that he's copying me."
According to a press release, Crotts is running on four issues which he says are the core of his campaign. They are the economy - he supports Gov. Sonny Perdue's tax cuts, addressing high healthcare costs, providing tax cuts for the elderly and limiting the state and federal government's role in education by placing the emphasis on local school districts.
Crotts said he was not a supporter of House Speaker Glenn Richardson's GREAT Plan, which would eliminate all ad valorem taxes and replace them with a wider sales tax. Crotts said he would rather see a tax plan passed similar to Congressman John Linder's FairTax Plan. The FairTax would eliminate all state income taxes and replace the lost revenue with a 7.5 cents sales tax. Crotts said he was in favor of eliminating ad valorem taxes on cars and replacing the lost revenue with a one or two cent increase on gasoline taxes.
To address rising healthcare costs, Crotts said he would support cutting off all emergency healthcare to immigrants living in the state illegally. How that would be done without violating federal laws needs to be worked out by the state Crotts said.
Crotts said he was also in favor of imposing a higher tax burden on employers who hire undocumented workers. Crotts said he favored a policy that forced illegal immigrants to voluntarily move out of the state by taking away the social services and jobs that they depend on.
The race between Crotts and Douglas will no doubt be a very tense one with Douglas already announcing that he has secured the endorsements of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, three mayors in Newton County, Rockdale County Sheriff Jeff Wigington and Rockdale County Chairman Roy Middlebrooks.
He and his wife, Phyllis, have one son. He is the owner of Crotts Realty and Insurance Company, a commercial real estate firm.
Crotts is a charter member of Kiwanis International and is a past-president of Choices for Children, a nonprofit which advocates on behalf of abused children. He is a former chairman of the Standards and Ethics Committee of the Board of Realtors.