Greg Kirk seeks reelection state Senate District 13

Published 12:15 pm Monday, November 7, 2016


AMERICUS — Sen. Greg Kirk, 13th District, R-Americus, is seeking reelection to his seat in the Georgia Senate. He is opposed by Ruenett Melton, a Democrat, of Tifton.
Kirk agreed to answers some questions from the Americus Times-Recorder prior to the election.
“I was voted in by the people of Senate District 13 in 2014,” he said. “I have been honored to serve and wish to continue.” Kirk had never sought public office prior to 2014.
He received a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Troy State University at Dothan, Alabama. He feels that his experience qualifies him for the office.
“My experience as an entrepreneur and small business man as well as my background in healthcare as a Licensed Professional Counselor are just two of the values I bring to the table,” he said. “I have an extensive knowledge of Medicaid in Georgia. Economic development and healthcare are two of the most critical needs for our District!”
Kirk was also asked his opinion of replacing the South Lee Street Bridge in Americus.
“The simple age of the bridge will make it necessary to replace in the near future,” he said. “Currently, it is a hindrance to expanding business. I remember when there were businesses along the rail line and the Norfolk Southern rails were running all the time. We need industrial jobs in this District and anything that hinders that needs serious consideration.”
Of the four constitutional amendments on the ballot for Tuesday’s election, by far the most talked about is Amendment 1 which deals with the public schools of the state.
“I asked a lot of difficult questions about this as we debated putting it on the ballot,” he said. “There is only one system in District 13 that has a failing school and that’s in Dooly County. There is a lot of misinformation about this amendment that has been put out there and I suspect it will be defeated. Some of these schools have failed for more than 15 years. How is it fair to the children that attend or taxpayers that pay for it for them to attend a known failing school? How is it fair to the schools the kids attend next in their educational process to have to ‘make up’ what they didn’t learn in the failing school? I concluded that Amendment 1 was not a silver bullet to resolve the issue. Rather, it’s a shot across the bow to say to these failing schools, get your act together, the kids you serve deserve it!”
Kirk says he is ready and willing to continue to serve the citizens of District 13.
“This race is about leadership. I have proven that I have leadership skills, serving on several key committees in the Senate, passing the hot car bill as a freshman senator in 2015, and the religious liberties bill this year,” he said. “I am also a Deputy Whip in the Senate. I sponsored or co-sponsored 54 bills this term and many resolutions. Many of these bills were about lowering taxes, reducing testing in education, economic development, healthcare and many other important issues for South Georgia. My record proves that I did not get elected to fill a seat.
“The Georgia Chamber predicts that by 2030, only two counties in Senate District 13 will experience growth, Tift and Lee. Their growth will be nominal and mostly from surrounding counties. We will not turn that tide unless we have leadership in our delegation from South Georgia. As a businessman I will continue to seek opportunities for industry in South Georgia. I will use all my influence to bring business here. We have seen some positive economic indicators as I have been to several company expansions and new company startups in the district, specifically in Tift, Crisp, Dodge and Dooly counties. Just [recently] Helena Chemicals in Crisp County had a ribbon cutting for one of their expansions. We have also lost some jobs in the district and had small businesses close. The challenge before us is huge and we need effective leadership to succeed.
“When I was in high school Jimmy Carter was the President. Almost daily we debated policy in Alan Anderson’s class. To be honest I didn’t know much about Democrats or Republicans but after debating with Mr. Anderson I knew whatever he was I wasn’t. As Reagan took office my junior year I paid more attention to politics and I really related to the conservative values that he held as our president. Jimmy Carter is a very good person and has done many wonderful things post presidency. However, I continue to disagree with the policies he held.
“My opponent holds policies from the far left. She would not be effective and her policies don’t even resonate with conservative Democrats, much less Republicans. There is much work to be done. I would greatly appreciate your vote in this election and I look forward to serving as your State Senator in the future. God bless, and my family and I thank you for your continued support.”
Ruenett Melton had not returned emails by presstime.