Cory Ruth is running as more than a black Republican candidate in the race for the fourth congressional district seat, currently held by Rep. Hank Johnson, which covers the southeastern portion of DeKalb and southern portion of Rockdale County.
For Ruth, the race is about ideas and issues. But discussing ideas and issues, instead of personalizing the issues, is also the key to winning over black voters to a Republican ticket, advised Ruth."We don’t have to give slogans that are, to (African-Americans), conversation stoppers. We have to be able to speak to them like adults. Show them the issues, show them we’re better on the issues." For instance, he said, instead of calling the health care bill "Obamacare," he said he presents his concerns with the bill and its shortcomings. Instead of talking about tax cuts, he talks to voters about having more take-home pay, to frame it in terms that resonate with both the affluent and families struggling to make ends meet.
"African-Americans are not anti-conservative. You’ve got to have the right kind of conservative," he said.
Ruth, whose parents were church planters, grew up in Florida in a conservative, Pentecostal household and later became an ordained minister. He has also written for a Philadelphia-based think tank and said he has run a rescue outreach mission and food drive in Atlanta and mentors young men on the path to expulsion in Clayton County.
He felt his calling to conservatism early in high school, where he followed George Herbert Walker Bush and then Newt Gingrich and Alan Keyes.
"What conservatism does is it encourages individuals to be generous," said Ruth, addressing a criticism he sometimes hears that conservatives aren’t concerned with social issues like poverty. "You cannot ask for a lean government if you are not a generous person. The reason you’re telling the government we don’t need that program is because you’re taking care of your neighbor… This is not about individualism. This is quite the opposite. It’s about the promotion of hands-on individual charity one towards another."
The 32-year-old and father of one said he decided to run because he felt like the nation was at a critical moment.
"I felt like I needed to have my voice in the national dialogue in a way that wasn’t being afforded to me through that think tank. I said I need to run for office."
Ruth said he is a Fair Tax supporter, but it would take time to bring about such a large change.
"If I go to congress, that’s one of the first things I would do is put that group together. I’m going to fight for the Fair Tax, but in the mean time, I want you to give me good steps; low bills I can slide in and negotiate."
When asked what things he would do to reduce the Federal deficit at a recent forum held by the South Rockdale Civic Association, he said he would cut the Department of Education.
"We should empower parents to choose the educational option that best meets the need for their children," he said. "I would support unlimited charter schools and charter systems, like we have in Decatur." He said he would also take a close look at how federal government employees conduct day-to-day business to reduce costs.
He said he would keep in touch with his constituents, if he were elected, by setting up "points of presence," or groups of churches, community centers, business owners, charities and anyone who wanted to be informed by a weekly Skype, or video communication system over the internet, on how he voted and why.
Ruth’s website is coryruth.com and he can be contacted at email@example.com