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July 8, 2014

Kingston stops in Dalton, talks jobs

In his bid for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston has toured much of the state. At every stop, the message from voters has been clear.

“People want jobs,” he said.

The Republican congressman from Savannah stopped in Dalton on Tuesday to visit a flooring manufacturing plant and discuss his ideas for spurring job growth throughout Georgia.

Kingston will face Macon businessman David Perdue on July 22 in the Republican runoff for Georgia’s open Senate seat. The winner will go up against Democrat Michelle Nunn, daughter of former U.S. senator Sam Nunn, on Nov. 4.

“We just wanted to see some of the manufacturing work here in the area, and talk to people about jobs and what we need to do in the country to help create more of them,” Kingston said Tuesday morning before exploring the J+J Flooring facility near Underwood Road.

“Part of my platform is to push back on regulatory overreach — things like (Environmental Protection Agency) mandates that have not gone through Congress, some of the Dodd-Frank Act requirements on local banks and Obamacare,” he said. “Those type of regulations are killing job creation.”

He wanted, also, to underscore support for a long-sought $652 million project to deepen the Savannah River harbor, a move that would make room for supersized cargo ships that can begin passing through the Panama Canal when an expansion finishes as early as next year.  

Georgia has set aside $231 million — Gov. Nathan Deal has requested more from lawmakers — for the project.

“More than 352,000 jobs are related to the port in Savannah. If we have the opportunity to deepen it — creating even more jobs — the state will prosper,” Kingston said. And, “A lot of the jobs affected by this port, and many that could be affected by its deepening, are in northwest Georgia.”

A self-proclaimed “long-term soldier fighting for the conservative cause,” Kingston also took time Tuesday to talk about his thoughts on alternative energy sources and welfare.

“We need to have abundant and inexpensive energy,” he said. “We need to build the Keystone Pipeline. When the president was sworn in, gas was $1.87 per gallon, now it’s $3.60 We need to develop our energy domestically.”

About balancing domestic drilling with preserving Georgia’s, and the United States’, natural resources, Kingston said, “I firmly believe that we can (harvest oil) in a way that’s more environmentally sensitive than they do in the Middle East. I think that we can get it out of the ground, in an environmentally safe way, and restore the environment when we’re finished using an area.”

“And, look at the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, in Alaska,” he added. “It is the size of South Carolina. The proposed exploration area is only 2,000 acres. It is a business card on a basketball court.”

As a subcommittee chairman for the House Committee on Appropriations, Kingston said he has worked to cut the federal budget by $3.6 billion.

With the exception of national security — we need to have a strong military, he claims — Kingston said he wants to continue that effort in the Senate, starting with welfare reform.

“We need to have workfare over welfare. So often, the welfare system is competing with jobs, because it can be more lucrative economically to stay at home. We need to say that if you’re able-bodied, then you should be out there working,” he said. “You have got to have it so there is more motivation to work, than there is not to. Right now, the motivation not to work is pretty high for certain able-bodied people that need to be part of the workplace.”

Early voting for the runoff is underway. The early voting period will end July 18.

On primary day, Perdue garnered 31 percent of the votes; Kingston collected 26 percent.

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