State Senate, District 7

Published On: Jul 01 2012 05:31:49 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 07 2012 12:01:08 AM EDT

Three Republicans and one Democrat are running to represent Georgia Senate's seventh district includes Charlton, Ware and Pierce counties. 

Tyler Harper, Mark Hatfield and Rodney Vickers will compete in the Republican primary, with the winner facing Democrat Donald Mitchell in November.

Tyler Harper

PARTY: Republican

AGE:  26

FAMILY: 

HOMETOWN:  Ocill

OCCUPATION:  Small businessman and farmer

EDUCATION:  University of Georgia, Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering; Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Associate of Science

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE:  Worked for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss through a congressional fellowship in Washington, D.C. on the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. Served as the county campaign chair for the election of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black as well as helped on both his 2006 and 2010 campaigns.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP THREE ISSUES IN THIS RACE?

  1. Economy/job creation and retention
  2. Education
  3. Affordable healthcare

HOW DO YOU THINK YOU CAN HELP VOTERS IN A WAY OTHERS IN THIS RACE CAN'T?

  • "I have a passion and desire to be the Servant and Trustee as enumerated in the Georgia Constitution, and I will have an open mind and open door for my constituents and fellow legislators to work together to be an effective Senator for District 7."

WHAT WOULD YOU HOPE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR ACCOMPLISHING AFTER SERVING IN THIS OFFICE?

  • "I want to be remembered as a legislator that helped to rebuild the trust and confidence that citizens should have in their elected officials and government."

WEBSITE:  TylerHarperForGeorgia.com | Facebook.com/TylerHarperForGeorgia

Mark Hatfield

PARTY:  Republican

AGE:  42

FAMILY:  Wife, Lee; 2 children, John Mark II, Annabeth

HOMETOWN:  Waycross

OCCUPATION:  Self-employed attorney

EDUCATION:  JD, University of Georgia, 1993;  BA, Political Science, University of Georgia, 1990

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE:  Representative, Georgia State House of Representatives, 2005-present

WEBSITE:  HatfieldForSenate.com

This candidate has not returned the WJXT/News4Jax.com candidate survey.

Rodney Vickers

PARTY:  Republican

AGE:  65

FAMILY:  Single parent of two daughters

HOMETOWN:  Douglas

OCCUPATION:  Retired physician

EDUCATION:  M.D.

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE:  President of Rotary Club, Coffee County Forestry Commission, two terms as chief of staff of Coffee Regional Hospitality Board.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP THREE ISSUES IN THIS RACE?

  1. Moral/ethical reform in state government
  2. Out of control state spending and declining economy
  3. Health care

HOW DO YOU THINK YOU CAN HELP VOTERS IN A WAY OTHERS IN THIS RACE CAN'T?

  • "As a retired physician, I am best suited to address health issues. Also, I am not taking campaign contributions, so I will not be obligated to special interest groups."

WHAT WOULD YOU HOPE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR ACCOMPLISHING AFTER SERVING IN THIS OFFICE?

  • "Decrease state debt; Bring large and small industry to the 7th District; Help farmers in the 7th District; Ethics reform including limits on lobbyist contributions to members of General Assembly."

WEBSITE:  None listed | Facebook.com/DrRodneyVickers

Gene Mi tchell

PARTY:  Democrat

AGE:  26

FAMILY:

HOMETOWN:  Fitzgerald

OCCUPATION:  Self-employed

EDUCATION:  Fitzgerald High School;  BA in Political Science from Mercer University (Magna Cum Laude)

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE:  "This is the first time I have run for public office, but I have also been around politics for over a decade. I actively worked with the Ben Hill County Democratic Party and worked on Jim Marshall's campaign. I also have experience working with government officials. I served in the United States Marine Corps and worked briefly with the American embassy in Oslo, Norway."

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP THREE ISSUES IN THIS RACE?

  • "In this race, two issues that must be addressed in District 7 are education and jobs. In South Georgia, our education comes primarily from the public school system. Cuts to public education over the past ten years have affected South Georgia more than they affect areas with dozens of private schools. Teachers have been furloughed and budgets have been cut, but we still expect more and more of our public school systems. We must give teachers the proper tools to reach the high standards that we set.
  • "Secondly, unemployment is hurting South Georgia more than other parts of the state. This is because South Georgia lacks the necessary infrastructure and development to attract new businesses and major manufacturers. As a state senator, I will fight to increase state funding for projects in South Georgia.
  • "Both of these issues are representative of a greater third issue: the failure of our elected officials in Atlanta to help grow areas of the state beyond Atlanta. Georgia consists of more than Atlanta and everything else. South Georgia pays taxes too. If elected, I will remind them of that simple fact."

HOW DO YOU THINK YOU CAN HELP VOTERS IN A WAY OTHERS IN THIS RACE CAN'T?

  • "My family often struggled financially while I was growing up. Coming from a single parent household, my sister and I grew up knowing how to stretch the little money that we had. From that, we learned how to prioritize what we needed versus what we wanted. This understanding is currently what the state is lacking. As a state, we need to reprioritize and ensure that our school systems have the funds they need to educate our children. We need to fund those projects that the South needs to bring jobs to the regions. For this to happen, we need strong leaders with South Georgia values who will protect our interests. My proven leadership skills are what allowed me to advance quickly to the rank of Sergeant within the United States Marine Corps. I will make sure that other elected officials in Atlanta do not forget about its citizens south of the gnat line. I would be honored to be elected as the next State Senator to provide the necessary leadership to help South Georgia grow."

WHAT WOULD YOU HOPE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR ACCOMPLISHING AFTER SERVING IN THIS OFFICE?

  • "South Georgia needs and is owed infrastructure development. Too much money has been spent funding projects in the Atlanta area and not enough to support the basic needs of the citizens in the South. I hope to be remembered as the senator who upset this balance and fostered investment in the region."

WEBSITE:  GeneForGA.com | Facebook.com/MitchellStateSenate