Gregory, Reeves square off in scathing forum

Name of Publication: 
The Marietta Daily Journal
Excerpt of Article: 
by Jon Gillooly
May 12, 2014 04:00 AM
 
KENNESAW — State Rep. Charles Gregory (R-Kennesaw) and challenger Bert Reeves, a Marietta attorney, revealed stark differences between each other during a forum last week conducted by the Kennesaw Business Association.

Moderator Pete Combs of WSB Radio asked Gregory about his critical comments on the county’s partnership with the

 
Atlanta Braves to builddeological purist or a mainstream Republican?

Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, said in some ways, the race between Gregory and Reeves is an example at the state level of the battle over who controls the Republican Party at the national level.

“It’s pretty consistent with a lot of the power plays we’re seeing between what we call ‘tea party Republicans,’ but it can be sort of a broad label,” Swint said. “Gregory is particularly rigid, and what I mean is there are some tea party Republicans who aren’t as ideological or rigid as he seems to be.”

Swint said Gregory is not popular with his colleagues in the Georgia House under the leadership of Speaker David Ralston.

“He’s considered to be by some an extremist, in it for purely ideological — almost narrow ideological — reasons without a lot of flexibility or thought into his positions, and I think he fits in pretty well with a lot of the Ron Paul, libertarian, hard-right-wing-tea-party Republicans we’re seeing these days,” Swint said. “Reeves, I know less about, but from what I can tell, he’s a pretty mainstream, conservative Republican — very much in keeping with the state house these days.”

Whether a mainstream Republican or a purist appeals to voters in District 34 will be determined May 20. Gregory ousted state Rep. Judy Manning (R-Marietta) two years ago in a surprise upset.

“Judy Manning was certainly not a tea party Republican,” Swint said. “She was considered by many when she was in office to be more moderate if anything, representing that district. I would suspect a lot of the business types in that district — a lot of the ones concerned about economic growth and commercial enterprises — probably would fall more to Reeves. And of course the ideological purists would stay with Gregory.”

Swint said Gregory reminds him of the late state Rep. Bobby Franklin, a Republican who represented northeast Cobb before he died of a heart attack in 2011.

Combs reminded the audience Gregory called the use of such a public-private financing arrangement “theft, where a large corporation and some public officials have conspired to forcibly take money without consent from the electorate and then spend it on a private business venture.”

Combs asked Gregory what he intended to do to change the county’s arrangement with the Braves if re-elected.

Gregory: Braves deal ‘legal plunder, corporate welfare’

Gregory said in a free market, everyone votes on whether a product or service is useful every time they make a purchase.

“So what I would say to the Atlanta Braves is, ‘We would love to have you. You, just like any other business, you take out your loan. You build your stadium. You buy your land. You make your investment. You take the risk, and you keep all the profits,’” Gregory said. “We don’t need to be putting or socializing the risk on the backs of taxpayers. It really is legal plunder, corporate welfare, corporatism, whatever you want to call it. The taxpayers don’t need to fund private business.” ...