Local News

May 14, 2014

Candidate profile: Edwards says improving student opportunities will help economy

— One of the most important things the state can do to improve the economy is to help improve educational opportunities for students, says Ebeth Edwards.

Edwards faces incumbent Steve Tarvin and Rebecca Ann Brown in the Republican primary on Tuesday for state House of Representatives District 2. District 2 includes the western part of Whitfield County as well as parts of Catoosa and Walker counties.

Edwards’ biggest concern for the state and for the people in her district is improving the economy. She said for many years the focus was on helping students go to college by creating opportunities for them to do so more easily, such as dual enrollment in high school and college. Now it’s time to focus on giving the same opportunities to those who want to pursue a career in a technical field.

“When in high school we need to give them the opportunity to go into more training,” she said, citing apprenticeships and dual enrollment in technical schools as examples.

“It would boost our economy,” Edwards said. “And it would keep them more engaged in high school.”

Edwards, originally from Summerville, is married to Rodney and they have four grown daughters ranging in age from 36 to 18 and one grandson. All of her children attended Whitfield County schools at some point, and she volunteered at Westside Elementary for many years.

Edwards and her husband now operate a sod farm in Villanow. They once owned a store at the intersection of Highways 201 and 136. She was a dental hygienist before that. She graduated from the Medical College of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene.

“All my children are grown, and this is an opportunity I have,” she said about why she’s running for office. “I raised the girls to go to school and make good grades and to help someone every day. I sat them down and talked to them each day about the ways they had helped someone else. I feel I can expand that area and serve.”

Being a Christian, service to others is one of Edwards’ biggest priorities.

“I want to be accessible to people,” she said. “People have the best ideas, and the best part has been talking to other people. Solutions are out there. I want to listen to the people of this district and take that to Atlanta.”

Another area of concern for Edwards is making sure veterans have access to benefits and hospitals quickly. Having a veteran for a husband, father and brother, Edwards has seen how much is involved in veterans receiving the benefits due to them for their service. Much of veterans affairs is handled at the federal level, but Edwards says she hopes there is something she can do on a local level to help.

“I can at least help raise awareness,” she said.

As for Common Core, a set of education standards developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, Edwards is glad to see state officials are considering teacher input before making decisions. She has had children in the school systems in the state for more than 30 years now and has seen many sets of standards come and go. The main concern with Common Core seems to be the amount of testing and paperwork that accompanies the standards.

“It started with good intentions,” she said. “Teachers need to be allowed to teach without a paperwork and testing overload. There’s got to be a way for our teachers, who work so hard. There’s got to be a way to ease the paperwork and allow them more classroom time.”  

Edwards can be reached at (706) 397-8358 or ebeth@ebethgahouse.com. Her website is ebethgahouse.com.

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