The simmering dissatisfaction with government that boiled over into the Tea Party movements won’t go away anytime soon, said a candidate for Georgia’s 12th Congressional District seat.
Jeanne Seaver, a Savannah Republican running for the GOP nomination, said last week’s passage of the massive health care overhaul may only serve to stoke the flames of an irate citizenry.
“I think people are more motivated now,” she said Saturday. “I’m hearing over the district now, everybody is concerned about their jobs now, more than anything else.”
Seaver said she’s had conversations with major companies thinking about eliminating their health insurance and letting their employees go into the government coverage pool, opting to pay the 8 percent payroll fee instead. Health coverage, Seaver said, is usually the second-largest expense for a company.
“Once people start waking up and finding out what’s in this bill,” she said, “nobody is going to hire.”
Seaver also said she spoke with a young woman who works in a doctor’s office and the talk in that office was whether anyone there would have a job in the near future because of the health care reform impacts.
“Thirty percent of the doctors are supposed to be retiring because of this,” Seaver said.
Seaver also pointed a finger at President Obama signing into law having companies go back to September 2009 and pay 60 percent on their COBRA for workers who were let go from their jobs.
“That’s one reason premiums are going up,” she said.
The state’s unemployment rate is at 10.5 percent, and nationally, the jobless rate is 9.7 percent. Of Georgia’s 159 counties, 128 had unemployment rates of at least 10 percent in January. Three counties in the 12th District alone — Hancock, Jenkins and Warren — have unemployment rates of at least 20 percent.
“Jobs should be the most important thing in this country,” Seaver said. “This health care thing is going to eliminate a lot more. Small businesses are being taxed to death.”
Seaver said what she’s hearing most in her travels across the 22-county district is about jobs. She backs the deepening of the harbor at Savannah, adding a deeper harbor will allow for larger ships and more traffic at the port and would have an impact beyond Georgia’s borders.
“That’s 6 percent of employment and 5 percent of the revenue for the state,” she said of the Savannah port. “Well, why should someone in Arkansas pay for the harbor deepened in Savannah? It’s going to bring imports, exports, it’s going to benefit the whole country.”
She also said farmers are expressing to her their concerns about getting loans on their equipment and how much of their product they’re having to put up.
“The profit margins of the farmers are shrinking,” she said.
Seaver and Carl Smith are seeking the Republican bid in July’s primary for the seat currently held by John Barrow (D-Savannah). Former state senator Regina Thomas is running for the Democratic nomination.
Seaver is a past vice chairman and board member of the Chatham County Court Appointed Special Advocate, and she’s also the founder of the Youth Yoga Initiative, which helps at-risk youth handle pressure and stress. She was also one of the co-founders of the Savannah Tea Party movement, and the first event drew more than 1,000 people last April 15.
“People want to be heard,” she said. “There are a lot of unhappy people in the district and in the country. People are involved and people are angry, and I don’t think it’s going to go away.”