Republican candidate Bo Hatchett faces fellow Republican Stacy Hall in the General Primary Runoff Election, which concludes with election-day voting tomorrow, Aug. 11. The winner of the Runoff will face Democratic candidate Dee Daley in the November General Election.
ConnectLocal sent candidates Hatchett and Hall a list of questions by email on Saturday, Aug. 8. They were asked to provide answers to those questions for publication today. The questions supplied to Hatchett and Hall are a combination of questions submitted by ConnectLocal readers, and questions drafted by ConnectLocal, attempting to address questions that have not already been answered in earlier debates and campaign efforts, and provide readers with a wider range of information on which to base their choices at the polls. Answers will be provided exactly as submitted, without edit.
Following are Hatchett's responses.
1. If you win the election, you will be serving on behalf of not only those who supported you, but, equally, those who did not cast their vote for you. What active steps will you take throughout your term to make sure you are serving all of your constituents and their interests, including those who did not vote for you?
HATCHETT: I’ve run my campaign like I’ll represent this district, with integrity. I want to be our next State Senator because I want to protect our Northeast Georgia values, stop the rising wave of socialism coming from Atlanta, and stand up for our farmers, teachers, law enforcement, and small businesses. I think this type of representation will benefit ALL members of our community.
2. In the 2017-18 Regular session of the Georgia Legislature, there were more than 9,000 pieces of legislation drafted. Of those, approximately 3,000 Resolutions and 1,500 Bills were introduced, and roughly 550 Bills and 2,200 Resolutions were passed by both chambers.
A) What is your opinion on legislative time spent discussing and acting on Resolutions? HATCHETT: Resolutions are a great way to acknowledge the accomplishments of our local communities. Though I believe the budget and legislation should be our priority, I am not opposed to finding the good in our State and praising it!
B) What policies and processes, if any, could be enacted to ensure that legislation introduced/passed by the Georgia Legislature adheres to the scope of legislation mandated by the Georgia and US Constitutions?
HATCHETT: Elections happen every two years for all the people serving in Atlanta. I believe citizens need to pay attention to the bills introduced by their representatives and hold them accountable.
3. Article III, Section V, Paragraph III of the Georgia Constitution states “No bill shall pass which refers to more than one subject matter or contains matter different from what is expressed in the title thereof.” Do you believe that this is adhered to in the Georgia Legislature, and if not, what steps can be taken to bring practice in line with mandated procedure?
HATCHETT: Georgia's government is set up in a way where legislators are citizen representatives. Session only lasts for 40 days, then legislators return to their districts and full time jobs. Oftentimes, this short session means that bills get combined or altered last minute. It is up to the legislators to ensure they NEVER cast a vote on a bill they have not read.
4. There have been examples of negative campaigning during this campaign season, and one of the accusations leveled against you is that you have accepted a high percentage of donations from out-of-area entities and individuals. Can you address the concerns regarding this subject?
HATCHETT: When we started this election, no one could have predicted that we would have to campaign through a pandemic. COVID took an incredible toll on our local businesses and I didn't feel comfortable asking them to fund my campaign while they struggled to pay employees and keep their doors open. Therefore, I turned to friends and family from all over the state to help. These people know me and know that having conservative representation in Atlanta helps ALL Georgians.
5. The balance between agribusiness and residential interests is often a point of contention – as was evidenced by this county’s experience with the Wilbros facility. With concerns again being expressed about negative impacts of certain agricultural processes, how, as a Senator, would you proactively work to help Stephens County maintain a balance between quality of life for citizens and support for the rights and economic advantages of agribusiness?
HATCHETT: Agriculture is the number one industry in our state and it is vital for our district's economic success. If elected, I will work hard to continue Senator Wilkinson's legacy of representing the people of SD50 while also being an advocate for our local farmers.
6. If you win the election, how will you overcome the limitations of being a “freshman” in order to be productive and proactive for your constituents from day one?
HATCHETT: I've had the honor of serving in the Governor's office where I worked with his Executive Counsel researching and drafting legislation. I have also helped nonprofits and local businesses navigate the legislative process to reduce government regulations. I'm not a politician, but this experience means I'll be an effective State Senator on day one.
7. Funding for K-12 education is an ongoing issue that has been exacerbated by the response to COVID-19. How can the Georgia Legislature help ensure that society at large is contributing adequately to a necessarily well-educated populace, while addressing equity for taxpayers who have not and/or do not have children in the education system?
HATCHETT: I support any local government that wants to decrease the tax burden on the senior population or lower property taxes. Georgia is attracting new business at an incredibly fast pace. As your State Senator, I will advocate for new businesses that share our Northeast Georgia values to move into our district expanding our tax base.
8. If you were a senator today, and a bill was introduced to enact a state mandate for face masks or force the closure of private businesses in response to COVID-19, what would your vote be, and why?
HATCHETT: I would NEVER support legislation mandating face masks. As a limited government Republican I believe in personal responsibility. I think our Governor has done an incredible job navigating this pandemic. We must protect our at risk population but we can not destroy our economy or trample individual rights.
9. Do you think changes are needed in law enforcement – either in terms of reform or in terms of stronger support? If so, what specific recommendations would you make and what proactive efforts will you take in the upcoming legislative session to address those recommendations?
HATCHETT: I commend the Legislature for passing HB838, the Peace Officer's Bill of Rights. I believe this sends a clear message that in Georgia we stand with Law Enforcement. At the same time, I also believe that we ask our men and women in uniform to make quick decisions under an enormous amount of stress. Therefore, anytime we can offer more training, we should.
10. One of your campaign platforms is to “continue to lower the tax burden on residents.” What are the top three cuts in spending you would propose to make those tax cuts possible?
HATCHETT: I believe we need to go to a true zero based budgeting process. This means EVERY agency justifies every tax dollar, every year. With tough decisions having to be made during this pandemic, this seems like a no brainer way to save tax dollars across the board.
11. A second platform you have campaigned on is the reduction in size of the government. What are three areas in which you will proactively seek to comply with this campaign platform in your first term?
HATCHETT: I believe Brian Kemp has done a great job fulfilling his campaign promise of being a limited government Governor. He has slashed regulations on small businesses and just recently he lessened high stakes standardized testing on our children. I will work with the Governor to continue finding areas where we need to lessen government involvement and return control back to our local communities and families.
12. The term “proactive” has appeared in many of these questions. In your own words, define this term in relation to your service as Senator, if you win the seat.
HATCHETT: Proactive means planning for the future. I am honored to have the endorsement of former Governor Nathan Deal and I think that his administration was incredibly proactive when it came to saving for our rainy day fund. COVID-19 has obviously taken a toll on our stream of revenue forcing legislators to make tough decisions but without Governor Deal's proactive actions we would have to take even more extreme measures when it comes to slashing the budget.
I am running for office to ensure our community remains a place where my children want to raise their children. Therefore, I will always be proactive in planning for the future and protecting our Northeast Georgia values. 13. What impacts could the upcoming redistricting process have on Stephens County and what efforts will you make to help ensure that all of your constituents’ best interests are protected?
HATCHETT: Districts change as populations shift but with a Republican House, Senate, and Governor, I trust that the redistricting will be fair and the interest of all SD50 counties will be protected.
14. Is politics a career plan for you? How many terms do you plan on seeking office?
HATCHETT: I have a career now doing something I love. I am not running for office because I need a job or title. I am running to give back to the community that has given so much to my family and me. As of now, I have only planned through August 11th and have been 100% focused on running a positive campaign focused on the issues. My decision to seek public office was not something I took lightly. Ashley and I talked about what it meant for our family and prayed extensively before I announced my campaign. If elected, this is what I would do before running for re-election.