September 25, 2013

Snider to challenge House Speaker Ralston for District 7 seat

ELLIJAY — As a former state high school wrestling champ and coach of 11 state wrestling championship teams at Gilmer High, Sam Snider realizes he’s now in for the fight of his life. He’s announced he’ll run for the District 7 seat of the Georgia House of Representatives, currently occupied by Speaker David Ralston of Blue Ridge.

“Yeah, he’s a little bigger than some of the opponents I’ve faced,” said Snider with a laugh. Snider has also coached football and track at his alma mater, and describes himself as a “conservative Republican.”

Snider, 50, was asked as an educator what led him to make a decision not just to jump into politics, but also to square off against a fellow Republican — and a powerful one at that.

“I’ve done about most of what I can in wrestling,” he replied. “I’ve been looking for a new way to serve and lead, a new challenge … (and) it seemed like there’s a lot of people who would like for there to be a choice as representative, so I chose to run against David. There’s not a lot of choices statewide, and we’re in the same district … I want to serve, and I want to lead in a way that will help not just my school.”

‘For the people’

Not having ventured into politics before now, Snider was asked about campaigning and fundraising.

“I think the (U.S.) Constitution says, ‘By the people’ and ‘For the people,’ and the original design was for a person to work, make a living, and then for a part of their year to represent the place they live,” he said. “So it wasn’t really designed to be professional politicians, so I feel confident I can work and make a living for my family and coach. Then if I get elected, of course, I would have to take some time away from work to fulfill that role.”

Snider believes some politicians have gotten removed from the people they represent.

“The biggest thing is I want to represent these three counties,” he said of Gilmer, Fannin and part of Dawson County. “I’ve lived here most of my life — I’ve grown up here, I’ve worked here — I believe I’ve got a good feel for the issues of these counties. Sometimes when you’re in Atlanta a long time, or Washington a long time, you’re not representing your area as much, you get tied up in bigger things. So I’m hoping to represent this area and be available as a guy who goes to work every day, just like everybody else.”

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