April 26, 2014

Candidates should stay focused on our area

We have long maintained that the northwest Georgia area — particularly Whitfield and Murray counties — is an integral piece of the Peach State.

We have an economic engine in the floorcovering industry that provides jobs to thousands. In turn, that economic engine sends millions of dollars in tax money to state coffers in Atlanta. We have an active community that gives back, whether in volunteer hours at a nonprofit group or in monetary donations to charity. We have many residents who have served or are serving on state boards and in leadership positions in areas including education, juvenile justice and the department of transportation.

We care about this community. We care about the state.

In past editorials, we have bemoaned the fact that many politicians seem to ignore our area when they are on the campaign trail. Now, that trend appears to be reversing. In advance of the general primary on May 20, a number of candidates for statewide positions and a seat in Congress have visited Whitfield and Murray counties.

The race for a U.S. Senate seat held by the outgoing Saxby Chambliss led to a mad scramble on the Republican side, with eight candidates seeking the position. It’s no surprise that candidates would stump in the fertile Republican ground of northwest Georgia. Nevertheless, we are happy to see them here. Businessman David Perdue was in Dalton Saturday while former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel plans a visit here Friday. Congressman Jack Kingston has made several trips to Dalton.

On the Democratic side, five Democrats are aiming for a primary victory. Atlanta psychiatrist Branko “Dr. Rad” Radulovacki visited Dalton in March and Michelle Nunn has been in the area as well.

Gov. Nathan Deal — although not on an official campaign visit — was in Dalton Monday to sign the Worked Based Learning Act at the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy. And David Pennington, one of Deal’s two challengers, is Dalton’s former mayor.

As candidates make their final push to the primary, we hope to see them more often in the area. And as the field narrows, we hope they make speaking to — and more importantly listening to — the residents of northwest Georgia a priority.

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