Valdosta Daily Times

March 29, 2013

Kingston considering options; Is a U.S. Senate bid in his future?

Kay Harris
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston made a swing through Valdosta Thursday, following a tour of the Southwest region of the state to meet with farmers, business owners, and elected officials to explore a possible bid for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss.

Following Chambliss’ retirement announcement, a number of individuals have expressed interest in the seat. Paul Broun of Athens and U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey of Augusta have both announced their participation in the GOP primary, and Kingston’s name has been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate as well.

Currently, no Democratic challengers have announced for the seat.

Kingston said his visits in the state were going very well but the decision to run or not to run still holds a lot of variables, including the cost of mounting a Senate campaign.

If he decides not to run, he said he will continue to serve in Congress and seek re-election to the House of Representatives.

“The Senate is the battleground for America right now; it’s where all the decisions are being made,” Kingston said. “We’ve been able to do many things in the House, but the Senate is the place where the business of the country takes place. I’d like to be a part of that so I can continue working on the same issues in that venue.”

Kingston mentioned the effects of the sequestration, and although he lauded the fact that the Senate passed its first budget in four years, “it was a political fig leaf,” and didn’t address the core issues or the needs of the American public.

He said the American public is tired of the government excesses and they want smaller government. He gave the example of a recent Environmental Protection Agency document with new regulations for ceiling fans.

“Ceiling fans have been around forever and they didn’t need to be improved by more regulation. The document is 106 pages long, and I understand that now a $40 ceiling fan could increase to a $400 ceiling fan if companies have to meet all these new requirements.”

Kingston said one of the themes he heard time and again while traveling in the state is that employers are competing against the welfare system for workers.

“In Camilla, Ga., you’d think that most entry level type jobs would be minimum wage, but that’s not the case. They’re offering higher wages and still can’t find workers because people can get welfare, SSI, food stamps, etc. and don’t have to work. The jobs are there, but there’s no incentive for workers.”

Kingston said he would like to see an overhaul of the welfare system so that those who are able bodied have to work.

He said business owners are also very concerned with the effects of President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan.

“It went from a  2,100 page bill to a 20,000 page regulation, and no one understands it. Employers are leery of it, because there’s so much uncertainty over the true costs.”

With Moody AFB in Kingston’s district, the congressman is a staunch military advocate, and said that even though there will probably be another BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) round in 2015, Moody is well positioned as are Georgia’s other bases.