The Republican effort to win the newly remapped fourth congressional district has begun with a bid from Henry County church pastor Chris Vaughn.
Vaughn, 45, has been the senior pastor of The Landing church since 2008 and has lived in Rockdale County in the Meadowbrook subdivision since 2002. This will be his first time running for elected office.
“I want my children to have a better life than me,” Vaughn said, after attending the annual Rockdale NAACP and Chamber of Commerce MLK Breakfast. “I want to leave an inheritance and I don’t think that’s where we’re going right now. Not nationally, not in our districts.”
Although he has no prior experience in public office or government, he said his background as a senior pastor gives him relevant experience.
“I’m constantly dealing with people who want to do it the old way versus the new way,” he said. “It’s always trying to bring some level of agreement to the table.”
“I’ve always been passionate about politics,” he added. When he lived in North Carolina, he hosted a political and local talk radio show. He counts among his friends and congregants Henry County leaders, including Henry County Commission Chairman BJ Mathis, who is also on the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable Executive Committee.
He described himself as socially and fiscally conservative, and his campaign slogan is “Vote your values.”
“Somebody’s got to work with both sides of the aisle to create some kind of financial reform,” he said. “Our financial stability should be our most primary concern,” he said. “Cut spending back to proper levels. Quit living on the deficit.”
“I don’t think we have an income issue, I think we have a spending issue.”
Vaughn, of no known relation to the late Judge Clarence Vaughn, was looking at proposed redistricting maps one night last fall when he felt what he described as a calling.
“It’s still considered a strongly Democratic district. But I still had something come over me, speak to me, to affect change.”
Even friends have asked why he doesn’t run for state office instead. “I looked at them. I said I don’t feel led to do that. I feel called to make a mark congressionally.”
“Our district needs representation,” he said. “I want to serve my district. DeKalb needs more jobs. And Rockdale needs more jobs.”
Prior to moving to Georgia, Vaughn and his family lived in North Carolina, where he pastored a church. Born with the gift of the gab, he took up the corporate speaking and church speaking circuit for several years after moving to Rockdale.
“I haven’t been as involved in Rockdale as much as I would like. Most of my work was in Henry, my church was in Henry.” However, he said most of his commerce is in Rockdale.
He said the reaction of his church and his family to this decision has been largely supportive.
When he told his wife, he said, “There’s something I want you to look at. I’m serious about this… I remember she had a pitcher of water, and when she set it down it made a noise. She said ‘Oh God. The last two times you said that, we’ve had a major change of life. Something’s about to change.’”
Vaughn and his wife have two daughters attending Georgia Perimeter College and a son, and all have been homeschooled.