RINCON — Geoff Duncan wants to do a lot more than change the curtains in the lieutenant governor's office. He said his goal is to change the political culture in Atlanta.
A Cumming resident, Duncan is one of five candidates looking to succeed Casey Cagle, who is giving up his job as lieutenant governor in favor of a gubernatorial bid. Duncan is joined in the field by fellow Republicans Rick Jeffares and David Shafer, and Democrats Sarah Riggs Amico and Triana Arnold James.
Duncan, a former state representative, hails himself as an outsider with business credentials.
"The system is not built for people like me to win these elections," he said. "The system is — get elected, play nice with special interests, gather as much money as you can so you can have the dollars to keep you in office.
"Guys like me short-circuit that system."
Duncan has spent nearly a year telling people about his vision for Georgia.
"I am running for lieutenant governor because I can do it better, bolder and create a culture that will work policy over politics," he said. "That is the cornerstone issue in this whole race — policy over politics. I think the issues in every community in the state of Georgia are too important for us to play petty politics in the back room.
"We need to have policy discussions that talk about the issues and solve the problems. As lieutenant governor, I will lead that charge."
Duncan said he was disappointed to learn how decisions are made in the General Assembly when he arrived there in 2013. He represented District 26 until resigning to run for lieutenant governor.
"When I first got elected, I didn't know anybody in the room," he said. "When I walked in there and got sworn in, I was an unknown. What shocked me was the currency that is traded all across Georgia politics, unfortunately.
"It's, 'Did you go to my fundraiser last week?,' 'Did you endorse me publicly in the newspaper last week?,' or 'Did you vote yes on a bill that you promised everybody back home that you would vote against?'
"I want to stop that. The currency I want to use at the Georgia Capitol is 'If you want to be the chairman of a (Senate) committee, show me and the folks back home that you know how to take a good idea and make it great. If you want to be a champion of a specific issue and get a big bill or big idea across the finish line, show me and the folks back home that you truly understand what conservative principles look like — which are smaller government, lower taxes."
See the May 9 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.