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Republican to bid for District 95 state representative seat
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A Rockdale resident and small business owner has thrown his hat in the ring as the first Republican candidate for the District 95 state representative seat, currently held by Rep. Toney Collins (D-Conyers).

Rodney Upton, 29, a first-time candidate, said he decided to run because of his concerns about being underrepresented in the district.

"There was almost zero representation by our current Democratic incumbent," said Upton. "I don't know whether that's a party issue, because Democrats can't do much because we have a pretty much Republican General Assembly, or if he's an empty suit candidate... I'm inclined to believe we're underrepresented."

He also said he was concerned about the overgrowth of the federal government.

"The thing that prompted me the most was the forcing of the health care legislation on the federal level," he said. "I think we talked a lot about the checks and balances in government. But we don't talk about the check the state can have against the federal government. If I were in the General Assembly, I would push that issue."

He said there are three things he stands for, as a candidate: "I believe in small government, I believe in local government, and I believe in accountable government. I will be an accountable person."

Upton and his wife LaRae live in north Rockdale county and have six children. He said, said he was not yet familiar with local issues in Rockdale and Newton counties and was in the process of asking residents about their concerns.

"I work a lot in Rockdale, Gwinnett and Newton. Right now, I'm basically fielding questions from people I work with and talk to everyday and find out what concerns them," he said.

Upton moved to Rockdale from Louisiana in 1997 when he was 16 years old, and he attended a private Christian high school in Pennsylvania.

He is currently the owner of a septic and plumbing business, a ministerial candidate at Providence Reform Presbyterian church in Newton County and is attending Christ College in Buford for continuing education and seminary.

Although this is Upton's first time running for elected office and first major involvement in campaign, politics is in his family background as his father works on the national level for congressional campaigns.

Newton County Public Defender's Office investigator Andrea "Andre" Cooper and Delta flight attendant Pam Dickerson have both declared their intention to run for the Democratic ticket in District 95. Incumbent state Representative Toney Collins has said he would be running for the office again.