Candidate Fleming: ‘Barack is an empty suit’
Congressional hopeful against immigration amnesty
By Jessica Blomquist
The Morgan County Republican Party hosted political consultant, Gabriel Sterling, and congressional candidate, Barry Fleming, at its meeting on Monday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m. Sterling is vice president of Landmark Communications, a full-service political consulting and communications firm based in Duluth. He has managed and organized dozens of campaigns, including Charlie Norwood’s congressional campaign in 1994.
Presently running for Congress to be the representative from the 10th district of Georgia, a position currently held by Dr. Paul Broun of Athens is Barry Fleming, from Harlem.
He began his career in politics when he was elected to the Columbia County Board of Commissioners in 1999. He served as Chairman of the Commission from 2001 to 2002. Fleming was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives as a representative of Columbia County in November of 2002. When the Republican Party gained control of the House, his fellow representatives elected him as the Majority Whip. In 2006, Fleming was reelected to his district seat and his position as Majority Whip without opposition. Fleming has maintained a conservative stance on most issues throughout his career.
At the meeting, he spoke on many of the topics he felt strongly about: family values, tougher immigration laws, lower taxes, social security reform, the Iraq War, and child protection laws.
As a partner in the Fulcher Hagler law firm, he is dedicated to protecting small businesses from frivolous lawsuits. He supports tort reform, which he believes to be one of the most sweeping reforms in the state.
“One of the good things we’ve done is to make Georgia a more medical-friendly and business-friendly state,” he said.
He also supports the family values campaign and believes the recent overturning of a state ban on homosexual marriage by the California Supreme Court “made a mockery of the justice system.” Fleming backs the war in Iraq, as well as benefits for veterans.
“I firmly believe the reason we’ve had no more tall buildings fall down in America is because after 9/11 we took the fight to where they were,” he said. He believes veterans deserve healthcare, rehabilitation, help finding jobs, and respect when they return from duty.
Another recent concern for which he has taken a stand is stricter child protection laws.
“One of the worst forms of crime is crime against children,” said Fleming. “The new frontier for these horrible people who do this to our children, is the internet.” He is a proponent for the Fair Tax, an idea that would allow taxes to be spread more evenly, thus decreasing taxes and promoting economic growth.
“I’m 100 percent supportive of the Fair Tax,” he said. “That’s one more difference between me and my opponent.” His opponent is incumbent Broun. The primary contest between Fleming and Broun will be held in nine weeks, in July. “When taxes go down, freedom goes up,” he said.
Fleming is also, “absolutely against amnesty for illegal immigrants.” He believes the nation’s borders must be secured to ensure that those in the United States came here legally. “Legal immigration built this country to be as strong as it is,” he said, explaining that he had no problem with immigrants coming into the country through the appropriate channels. Speaking about United States healthcare, he argued that the free market system must be put back into the healthcare system to encourage competition among prescription medicine prices and medical insurance.
“The government is like a cancer that is eating away at healthcare,” Fleming said, explaining that they must get the free market in and the government out.
He also lent his support to Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
“It looks pretty clear we have the choice to choose a national hero, someone who understands we need a strong national defense,” he said of McCain.
“Barack is an empty suit,” he said of Democratic presidential candidate Obama. “I don’t think he has a clue as to what change we need in this country.”
Representative Doug Holt, who was in attendance, said of Fleming, “He’s been a good man and a good solid conservative.”
Sterling spoke about how Morgan County’s majority political affiliation has changed over time. In 1994, only one county commissioner was a Republican.
Now, many Republicans run unopposed in elections in the county. In the last presidential primary, Sterling said around 3,000 people in Morgan County voted in the Republican Primary, while only 1,900 voted in the Democratic Primary. This information was taken from his company’s internal database.
He also spoke on the expected growth of the county.
“Morgan County’s growth is not exponential, but it’s steady,” Sterling said.
He gave this piece of advice to attendees at the meeting – to encourage their children to become involved in politics. “It’s really important,” he said. “We need to pass this on and get more and more people involved.”
“You’ve got good people here who want to represent you,” he said, speaking of the Republican candidates for many local and state offices.
Sixty-eight people were in attendance at the meeting to hear from the two speakers.