A call for questions in the debates for governor

Ladies and gentlemen, I need some help.

The Insider has been invited to pose questions in three debates for governor this weekend – two Republican, one Democratic.

But the question well is dry. Yes, I’ve opened an old cask of interrogatories from 1990 that are slightly stale but still relevant – “Do you think a lottery would take advantage of the poor?” But fresh would be better.

So I’m soliciting three hours’ worth of questions for Democratic and Republican candidates – individually or as a group. Use the commenting process below to submit them.

If you include your own, real name, I’ll do my best to use it when I pose the question.

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47 comments Add your comment

Banjo Bob

July 12th, 2010
6:21 pm

Please ask a question about Sunday alcohol sales and get a clear answer. Too many candidates give a vague response on this issue with no real position. Make them pick a side.

Jonathan Harwell

July 12th, 2010
6:27 pm

Please ask them how they will protect Georgians from voter intimidation as it occurred in Statesboro in 2007 (threatening university students not to register to vote locally); how they will promote clean energy in Georgia; and how they will ensure proper funding of education at public K-12 and post-secondary institutions.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

July 12th, 2010
6:40 pm

Q: As the Roman Catholic Church has openly published its stratagem for promoting illegal immigration to “take back” America from those, they teach their Spanish-speaking Hispanic followers, “stole it,” our ancestors, mounting an explicit invasion for conquest tax-free (Viz. “The National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry,” ISBN-10: 1555861997), just how stupid can we be to let them continue to effect this proven treason, particularly as the cited pamphlet is a de facto signed confession?


July 12th, 2010
6:42 pm

What I would really like to know is what are their plans to strengthen and diversify Georgia’s economy? What do are their plans to attract business to Georgia and/or to build up businesses that are already here? I don’t want to hear platitudes, I want to hear plans. The industries that we have, have been hit the hardest in this recession. Consequently, we don’t have what it takes to pick up ourselves up by our bootstraps. We may not have the highest unemployment rate in the nation, but it is very high and Georgia promises to be one of the last places in the nation to see our unemployment rate go down because of our economic base. What are their plans to return Georgia to an economic power house?

sam creal

July 12th, 2010
7:10 pm

how do they plan to run state government without raising taxes?


July 12th, 2010
7:20 pm

Ask them why Georgia failed to establish high risk pools in the past, when 35 other states managed to? And what would be their replacement plan if Obamacare is repealed?


July 12th, 2010
7:22 pm

Oddly enough, I actually emailed you a question for the GOP candidates earlier today, Jim (same topic mentioned by Banjo Bob at 6:21P, my contact info is in the email….)

“The Republican Party has long put itself out there as THE party of ’smaller government’ and ‘local control’, yet on some very visible issues many in the Party fall back into ‘nanny state’ mode. If elected as Georgia’s next Governor, would you sign a bill that gave city and county governments the ability to extend their already-legal package sales of alcohol to Sundays, via local referendum?”


July 12th, 2010
7:28 pm

With Senator Chapman’s poll numbers steadily raising, do you feel he is a viable candidate and should have been included in tonight’s debate?


July 12th, 2010
7:30 pm

Ask the Republicans – Why are they running against the Obama Adminstration and not on their Georgia record of the last eight years?

Ask the Democrats – How are they going to be different from the Obama Administration and actually bring jobs to Georgia?

Sam Meller - UGA 2L

July 12th, 2010
7:33 pm

In the New York Times this week, Adam Liptak’s Sidebar column was entitled “Defendants Squeezed by Georgia’s Tight Budget.” The entire nation read about how the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council is poorly funded, understaffed, and inappropriately takes orders from prosecutors and judges. Is the GPDSC experiment a success? How would you improve Georgia’s public defender system? What reforms would you undertake? Would you raise taxes if the GPDSC goes broke? Or would you increase filing fees to subsidize the GPDSC?


July 12th, 2010
7:55 pm

There are only two questions on which the governor can have significant impact and which also have significant long-term implications to the well-being of the average normal person:

1) What steps, exactly, do you plan to take to insure an ongoing supply of water for existing citizens and industry and to insure for future growth? Do not allow the candidates to slide by quoting feel-good platitudes or bashing their opponents.

2) What strategies do you plan to follow to insure transportation mobility and choice for all (but especially Atlanta metro) citizens of Georgia?

King Roy “The Rat” Barnes is automatically disqualified since he spent his four years in office negligently ignoring these issues in favor of poisonous petty political gamesmanship.


July 12th, 2010
7:56 pm

Debra, you can only be in the Metro Atlanta debates if you are currently or have been in the past under investigation for wrongdoings/unethical behaviours. . . . . . . you know that’s the norm for career politicians these days.


July 12th, 2010
8:01 pm

It is 2112. The attempts to settle the water dispute through negotiation have failed. There is a drought, and no water to share with Alabama and Florida anyway. Metro Atlanta is about to run out of water. What do you do?

Twenty four and counting

July 12th, 2010
8:04 pm

chamblee 54, I believe the answer to your question is:

War was beginning.


July 12th, 2010
8:20 pm

To the two previous writers about the region running out of water. It’s 2112, we’re all be dead anyway.


July 12th, 2010
8:24 pm

Education, education, education!! As Governor, what policies would you encourage implementation of in our public schools to challenge students of all academic levels, so that our brightest students are not suffering in our classrooms, espcially at the elementary school level?

Paddy O

July 12th, 2010
8:24 pm

A few questions:

1) How would you best fund the need for increase water storage (reservoirs) in and around Atlanta & throughout Georgia?

2) Do you support declaring all incorporated cities in Georgia special taxing districts to enable cities, via citizen approved referendum, to enact MOST (municipal option sales tax)? If not, why?

3) Do you support the establishment of ELOST M&O, (educational sales tax for maintenance & operations)? The purpose of this tax would be lower/eliminate property tax for those citizens who do NOT have children in the local school system & if possible, lower the tax burden for operating school systems for all primary residence paying citizens of a respective school system? If not, why?


July 12th, 2010
8:26 pm

For those running for Governor and Attorney General who have said they would file suit against the federal government to get a ruling that the new health care law is unconstitutional, ask why Georgia should spend money by joining litigation that has already been filed and is being pursued by a number of other parties when Georgia’s participation will not change the outcome.

For candidates that have vowed not to increase “taxes” and voted to increase “fees” in the last legislative session, have them explain the difference between a tax and a fee that is used for other than the expense for which it is charged (an example would be the newly increased lawsuit filing fees that go to the state’s general fund, not the county courts operating expenses).

As others have said, don’t let them slide with avoiding a specific answer to these or any other questions.

Paddy O

July 12th, 2010
8:27 pm

Average – you know your statements regarding BArnes are blatantly false – he was moving forward with commuter rail/mass transit, and he & Tom Murphy had floated 44 million in bonds for a water reservoir in Haralson County, which was intended to 1 of 19 surrounding Atlanta to drought proof it. Know what Sonny Perdue did with those funds? Not a dollar went to reservoir construction!!!!

Paddy O

July 12th, 2010
8:28 pm

Final question:

1) How do your propose getting commuter rail throughout the regions (Tallapoosa to Athens, Dalton to Lovejoy) installed?

Roy Evritt

July 12th, 2010
8:31 pm

Who do you consider authoritative on the economy, and what are they saying?


July 12th, 2010
8:33 pm

And for those that refer to the health care law as “Obamacare” ask them what, other than perceived political advantage, is gained by using a charged term. Or put differently, how does using such a charged term advance a rational debate about the wisdom or constitutionality of the law?


July 12th, 2010
8:41 pm

As Governor, what would you do to hasten the release of technologies which have been suppressed from the public for decades? Also what would you do to encourage these technologies being introduced into the Math and Science curriculum ASAP? Our students are so “dumbed down” due to the governments involvement and control, what could you do to bring LOCAL control back to our educational system?

Stephanie W

July 12th, 2010
8:49 pm

What, specifically, would you do to attract green energy and biotech industries to Georgia?

Stephanie W

July 12th, 2010
8:52 pm

Would you like to see oil drilling off the coast of Georgia? If so, how would you know for certain that oil companies’ assurances of safety are both truthful and accurate?

Cobb GOP

July 12th, 2010
8:57 pm

Please ask a question about Ox’s ex wife representing insurance companies before John Oxendine


July 12th, 2010
9:05 pm

Ask them how they intend to run the state, eliminate teacher layoffs and furloughs while cutting taxes. Especially when the state in in financial straits now. Ask why they run against Obama, when their new position is about our states rights.


July 12th, 2010
9:18 pm

What is your plan for fixing the Department of Revenue so that all sales and business taxes are collected and sent back to cities and counties in a timely and consistent manner?

No one for Governor

July 12th, 2010
9:21 pm

Ask this question to all candidates. A. If you win the primary for your party next week,will you take a lie detector test (overseen by the AJC and without any legal representation) to answer three questions. 1.Have you every taken a bribe from any lobbyist, business, friends or family while holding any public office.2.Have you ever placed your personal gain above the best interest of the state of Georgia and it’s citizens.3. Do you want to be Governor to better the state of Georgia or your own personnel monetary gain while in office. All answers will be published in the AJC and all major news outlets 30 days before November election.Let’s see how many will laugh at the question or state they will comment on the question at a later time after legal consultation.

Dave Smith, Alpharetta

July 12th, 2010
9:23 pm

For Ms. Handel,

I voted for you for Commissioner, you lost…

I voted for you for Chairman, you resigned to run for another office…

I voted for you for Secretary of State, you resigned to run for Governor…

If elected how do I know you would stay put and actually finish a term? (ACTUAL QUESTION BELOW)

For Mrs. Handel,

You repeatedly resigned previous offices to run for other offices, how can we trust that Governor is not a stepping stone for another office? How can the voters of Georgia trust you to actually fulfill your constitutional duties if you are always looking for the next step?


July 12th, 2010
9:37 pm

1. If you are for limited government, how can you justify NOT allowing municipalities and counties of this state to decide if they want Sunday alcohol sales?

2. Would you apply a means-test to the Hope scholarship?

3. What initiatives of Sonny Perdue would you roll back, or discontinue?

- Cutty’s Ballers

Atlanta biker

July 12th, 2010
9:39 pm

Ask the Republicans, since you stand for smaller government and “individual freedom” why do you insist on inserting government into the very personal decision to bear a child?

The Goobernator

July 12th, 2010
10:07 pm

Are you really ready to get tough on deporting illegal immigrants (not just a few University students)? If so, how will you convince Georgia citizens to take $8-10 jobs in construction, maintenance, restaurant, hotel and other labor intensive service industries?


July 12th, 2010
10:37 pm

Dave Smith, Wow, good analysis, she was either self serving? or run out each time?

Will Holland

July 12th, 2010
11:27 pm


My name is Will Holland. I’m a native Atlantan – I grew up in north Buckhead and went to North Atlanta High School, an APS school. I’m a senior at Georgia State University, graduating in December, and will be entering a master’s program for Mental Health Counseling next August and plan to later pursue a PhD in psychology. I carry a diagnosis of bipolar type II, my mother is diagnosed with major depressive disorder, my father died in 2007 after a brave seven year battle with Alzheimer’s, and many of my friends are undergoing treatment for various mental illnesses that have significantly impacted their lives. I also work with the Emory School of Medicine, volunteering for something called the Grady Trauma Project, an endeavor to assess and help find medicine to help the traumatized, marginalized individuals suffering in metro Atlanta and across the country. If elected governor of Georgia, what will you do to address the rising necessity for mental health treatment as budget cuts are being made across the board, most especially in an area that is already neglected and underfunded? And what will you do to help stem the tide of the growing homeless population, the vast majority who suffer from mental illness, all across this great state?

Sincerely, a concerned citizen and voter,
Will Holland

Bobby Anthony

July 12th, 2010
11:59 pm

I would like each candidate to state their position on interbasin transfer of river water in Georgia. The water supply in our state, in the next few years, will be a critical issue for the new Governor. We are already entangled in law suits with both Florida and Alabama. The same situation could occur between Georgia and South Carolina. This is a valid question for the candidates. Jim my real name is Bobby Anthony. I doubt you remember me but you once described me as having a mellifluous voice when I ran for president of the SGA at UGA in 1975. I’m sure you can recall J. Tom Morgan won the election because his sister sketched an awesome campaign poster for him. My address is 301 Cleveland Street, Thomson, GA. My email address is RHAnthony@msn.com

Jill Thompson

July 13th, 2010
7:00 am

There is an assumption that all GOP candidates are “Pro-Life” and all Democratic candidates are “Pro-Choice” on the question of abortion. Can you ask a simple question to test those assumptions?


July 13th, 2010
7:12 am

Ask them if they support any type of legalized gambling coming to Georgia, specifically Underground Atlanta.

Ask them why hundreds of millions of dollars in Metro Atlanta gas tax dollars have gone to subsidize Rural Georgia infrastructure improvements over the years. Would you support prioritizing transportation projects based on cost/benefit analysis and engineering principles instead of wealth distribution based on geographic areas?


July 13th, 2010
7:53 am

Do they support using public funds (such as the current hotel tax for the GA Dome) to support building a new stadium for the Falcons? With the current economy, I don’t think Arthur Blank and millionaire football players need welfare. And please, don’t let them BS on how it would revitalize the economy, blah, blah, blah. You could get much more bang for the buck spending money on convention facilities. Those large gatherings bring in as many people who will spend money and support local businesses. There are many more conventions than major sporting events up for grabs.

Oh, and I’ll second Will Jones’ question July 12/6:40. Seeing the WTF? on their faces would be hilarious.

Cut the Fat

July 13th, 2010
8:50 am

How will the Governor hold the taxes at their current level?; cut wasteful spending?; how will he/she measure performance of programs intended to help the elderly, poor, homeless, disabled, veterans, considering that the current programs simlply blow thru money?


July 13th, 2010
10:24 am

Give 3 VERY specific examples of how you cut spending or reduced the size of govermment during your previous tenure as ______________. Allow for questions from each candidate to the others to follow up on this if they skip important points.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

July 13th, 2010
11:18 am

Tip of the hat to Aquagirl: too bad it is a deadly war on Our Nation by Rome’s “Fifth Column” no different than Bloody Marsh’s invaders.

Q: How can endorsement by GRTL, insistence that victim’s of rape and incest be forced to bear, as a de factor biological, genetic reward for their attackers, be seen as anything but an abomination to the Creator, G-d of the universe?

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

July 13th, 2010
11:19 am

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

July 13th, 2010
11:19 am

Jim Watson

July 13th, 2010
1:53 pm

My question for you is: Will any of the candidates push to REQUIRE a law for the State of Georgia that states that ANYONE running for the Presidency of the U.S. must show PROOF that he or she is a Natural Citizen as required by the U.S in the U.S. Constitution? AND will they push to have that required for the 2012 Presidential Race?


July 13th, 2010
2:32 pm

1. A study commission is reviewing Georgia’s tax structure. Would you support eliminating the gas tax and replacing it with an indexed Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax collected at the pump and that was available for all modes of transportation and not just roads and bridges?
2. Do you support a permanent, sustainable funding source for transit – rural, human services, urban and other – in Georgia? What should that permanent, sustainable source be?
3. What, specifically, are the services state government should fund and deliver? What programs, specifically, will you remove or reduce funding for in order that there will be enough funds for those necessary programs?
4. Will you propose and support a “not a cup of coffee” ethics bill for all members of your staff, state employees, members of the General Assembly and members of their staffs?
5. Many of you have proposed eliminating the state income tax. How, specifically, will you replace those lost funds? General comments about collecting “all” of the sales taxes or removing existing tax exemptions and similar vague replies should be shot down. Specifics. What services and products will you tax to replace the funds lost if the income tax is eliminated?
6. Will you support a bill that enhances the people’s right to representation in government by revoking the current restrictive ballot access laws and replacing them with a simple fee structure linked to the salary of the position sought?
7. Debates such as this one are not truly debates, but rather dog and pony shows full of sound and fury signifying nothing. If you are the nominee, will you agree to a series of single topic, 60-minute, unmnoderated sit down debate sessions with all of the opponents who have qualified for your position?
8. What government services are properly funded and provided for by county and local governments and which are the responsiblity of the state?


July 14th, 2010
6:38 am

There has been a lot of talk of the importance of teachers in the state and funding that aspect of the state budget. How do the candidates rank the importance regarding funding of other state divisions that are equally important, such as DFACS, Child Support, etc.?