Steve Tarvin says the state of Georgia is spending too much money.
“We’re heading too far into debt with the capital budget,” he said.
Tarvin faces Neal Florence and Doug Woodruff in a special election on Jan. 7 to fill the unexpired term of Jay Neal for state House of Representatives District 2. The district includes Tunnel Hill, Trichum and Westside in Whitfield County and parts of Catoosa and Walker counties. Neal stepped down after being named executive director of the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Re-entry. The term expires at the end of 2014.
“The state level, local and federal all intrude in our lives and have too much control in our lives,” Tarvin said. “I want more (power) to be at a local level and for the state to stand up and say no to the federal level.”
For example, Tarvin said Georgia should be able to say it doesn’t want to participate in the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, but he realizes 40 days in the legislative session is not very long to address some of his concerns.
“The federal government cannot tell the state what to do,” he said. “We’ve sat and allowed it to happen. I’m not talking about seceding from the Union. I’m talking about being a sovereign state and taking care of ourselves. … Let’s tell the federal government we don’t want them intruding in our lives. I think it can be done.”
Tarvin believes the federal government also has too much control over local school systems.
“Theoretically I’m a supporter of charter schools,” Tarvin said. “We have to make sure governing boards do have oversight. I want to make sure the lottery system (to determine what student can attend a charter school) doesn’t become private or a semi-private situation. I don’t see it as a problem with our public schools but a way to do education better. I’m very much for our classroom teachers having more input in curriculum. Politics is hindering education of our children.”
Tarvin doesn’t believe lawmakers in Georgia are “crooks.” A federal grand jury is looking into ethics complaints involving Gov. Nathan Deal and last year legislators capped lobbyists’ gifts at $75 per gift.
“Even if there are rumors of a problem, you have to go overboard with ethics and show people there is not a problem,” Tarvin said. “I don’t think we have a bunch of crooks in Atlanta. There needs to be ethics reform. I don’t know why I need to take money from lobbyists if I’m a legislator. I don’t think there’s a reason for it.”
Tarvin is originally from Chickamauga. He attended Gordon Lee High School and has been married to his wife, Jennifer, for 44 years. They have two children and five grandchildren and one on the way.
Tarvin is retiring at the end of this year after closing Crystal Springs Print Works, which he has owned for 30 years. He said the business is closing after a profitable year, but he was concerned about its future.