Aaron Brooks, a member of a local conservative citizens group, is seeking the Republican nomination for Georgia’s 112th house seat after 10-year incumbent Rep. Doug Holt, R-Social Circle, announced that he won’t seek re-election.
Brooks, 40, is a founding member of the Newton Conservative Liberty Alliance, which was formed in 2013 to oppose Newton County’s decision to increase the property tax rate. The group meets regularly to discuss local issues.
Brooks says he is running for the state representative seat because he’s concerned by the lingering economic recession and doesn’t believe Georgia has a friendly enough business climate to pull it out of the doldrums.
"As I get older, I started thinking I can either sit here and complain or I can get off my butt and do something about it. I’m the type of person who likes to do something about it," Brooks said. "I wish I didn’t have to run. I wish everything was running smoothly, so I didn’t feel concern for the future. But I am concerned."
Brooks said his top priority is tax reform, namely pushing to abolish Georgia’s income tax and replace it with higher sales taxes. At the national level, the idea is referred to as the Fair Tax, so called by proponents who argue it is the fairest form of taxation as it is applied equally to every citizen through their purchases of goods and services.
Brooks said many people campaign on the Fair Tax, but he said he’s willing to make the issue his top priority.
"We’re surrounded by states, Tennessee and Florida, that don’t have income tax and that’s attractive to talent. It’s also attractive to businesses as well, and we (in Georgia) can focus on fostering an entrepreneurial spirit and getting businesses started," Brooks said, noting Newton and Morgan counties would be able to use their resources to take advantage of a more friendly business climate.
Brooks said he’d like to re-evaluate the entire tax code, including looking at alternatives for corporate taxes. He said Texas has one of the most business-friendly climates and has seen high growth and low unemployment, while Georgia has consistently had a high unemployment rate.
"I’d like to look at all the (economic) models and see if we’re going about it the correct way," Brooks said.
Increasing school choice is Brooks’ second priority. He said he has a unique perspective, having a son who has been home-schooled but also has attended both public and private schools.
"I see the benefits of all of those, but I believe if we can bring more competition into the picture, we will see improvement across the board," Brooks said.
He said he hasn’t decided whether vouchers or tax credits would be a more effective method to offset costs for people who want to send their children to private schools. He supports the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program, which provides tax credits for people who send their children to certain private schools, but said it’s not enough.
"It’s such a small program. We’ve seen success with it; data has shown parents who take advantage of it, especially with economically disadvantaged families, there are dramatic benefits to doing it that way," he said. Finally, Brooks said he wants to see more ethics reform to build off laws passed last year, though he knows that won’t happen overnight.
He said he will push for a conservative budget and lower taxes.
Brooks is a territory manager at Faultless Starch, a Kansas City, Mo.-based company; he’s been with the company since August 2003. He works with the company’s manufacturing customers, who are generally large industrial laundry companies, selling products and consulting on various issues.
Brooks also worked in sales for Auto-Chlor, a dishwasher producer, and also worked in logistics management for Knight Inc., a Newton County manufacturer that closed down. He’s also worked at a sign printing company.
Brooks was in the U.S. Navy from 1994-1995, working as an aviation store keeper, handling logistics for the aircraft carrier he was stationed on the USS George Washington.
Brooks earned an associate degree in business administration from Georgia Perimeter College in December 2012 and is working toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgia State University, with an emphasis in business economics.
As a founding member of the Newton Conservative Liberty Alliance, Brooks has been outspoken against tax increases and spending by the county’s government.
"We wanted something to offer the community, to get involved in local politics and give taxpayers a voice," he said.
Brooks said the group has also been active in talking to elected officials and political candidates.
Brooks is the missions chair at Philadelphia United Methodist Church in Conyers.; the church’s missions team has worked with area homeless shelters and nonprofits and has aided missionaries and orphanages overseas. Brooks is a member of gun rights organizations, Georgia Carry and Georgia Gun Owners.
Brooks has lived in Newton County for the past 20 years; he owns a home in eastern Newton County. He and his wife, Michelle, have a 20-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son.
Brooks can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org; his website, aaronbrooksforga.com, is under construction but expected to be completed soon.