Where 14th District Republican runoff candidates stand on the issues
U.S. Rep Tom Graves surprised many Georgians when he announced he would not seek re-election in the state's 14th Congressional District.
Nine candidates qualified to fill his spot in the historically conservative Northwest Georgia seat. After the primary election, two -- John Cowan and Marjorie Taylor Greene -- will compete in a runoff.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sent questions to the candidates about five key issues. Here are the responses:
Cowan is a neurosurgeon and also owns a toy company called Cortex Toys.
Marjorie Taylor Greene
A construction executive, who originally announced a run for the 6th District, Greene moved to Rome shortly after switching her campaign.
DO YOU STAND
1. Do you support dismantling the Affordable Care Act? If so, what would you replace it with?
Cowan: Obamacare has jacked up health care prices, and health care spending is the single-largest driver of our national debt. As a doctor, I’ve closely followed how across-the-board health costs have risen exponentially, and I’m uniquely qualified to help President (Donald) Trump implement conservative, free-market solutions including promoting the purchase of health care policies across state lines. With my experience practicing medicine, I’m ready to get to work on day one to implement a system that drives down costs for all Americans, protects patients with pre-existing conditions and simplifies the marketplace so that families know they’re making the best possible decision for care.
We can also make delivery fixes like implementing specific medical tort reforms and placing a cap on noneconomic damages to significantly lower costs. With big and small solutions, we can lower costs, keep government out of health care where possible and protect those with pre-existing conditions much better than Obamacare has done.
Greene: Yes, I support repealing Obamacare. When Obamacare first passed, the premiums for my family of five went from $800/month to $2,400/month. It’s been a disaster.
As a successful Georgia business owner, I know for a fact that free-market competition for health care is the best way to provide lower costs, provide access to cutting edge medical treatments, (offer) plentiful options for health care consumers and reduce government control over health care.
DO YOU STAND
2. What should Congress do, if anything, to address concerns about climate change?
Cowan: Northwest Georgians deserve a fighter in Congress who will work for them. Nancy Pelosi and her socialist Squad have used climate change as a vehicle to push their radical leftist agenda on Americans. Their radical policies in this area include Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, which would permanently and irreparably destroy our economy. I believe Congress can have an important role in protecting America’s natural resources, but we should never allow radical Democrats to infringe on American freedoms or American enterprise.
In Washington, I will stand up to these radical Democrats to ensure we focus on the needs of American families. I will fight beside President Trump to finish the wall, rebuild our strong economy and protect our nation’s health.
Greene: Nothing, I believe free-market forces should determine what energy Americans use, and I believe that is the most efficient and productive way to keep our environment clean.
I oppose the so-called “Green New Deal,” which some estimate would cost up to $93 trillion and destroy millions of jobs and our economy.
I also applaud President Trump for pulling our country out of the Paris agreement.
China is the world’s biggest polluters – therefore I would oppose all international environmental regulatory schemes proposed in Congress, especially those that give China a competitive advantage over the United States.
DO YOU STAND
3. Does Georgia have an illegal immigration problem and, if so, what should be done to fix it?
Cowan: Georgia and the entire nation have a serious illegal immigration problem, but it’s not too late to stem the tide. Before President Trump, Washington politicians mostly ignored illegal immigration, allowing cheap labor to flood into our country, taking American jobs and ignoring the long-term consequences. It’s time to finish the wall on America’s southern border, and I’ll stand with President Trump to complete America’s most-needed infrastructure project. With caravans of illegal immigrants, including criminals who have previously been deported, openly demanding entry into our country, I say no more. I have the endorsement of several sheriffs in the 14th District because they know I will stand with our law enforcement officers to ensure criminal illegals are detained for (Immigration Customs Enforcement) deportation. We must also give our Border Patrol agents the resources they need. I will always support punishing so-called “sanctuary cities” by withholding federal funding.
Greene: America has an illegal immigration problem. Despite their opposition, socialist Democrats and Never Trump Republicans have not been able to stop President Trump from building the wall. The wall is being built. ... Now it must be finished. As northwest Georgia's congresswoman, I will fight with everything I have to help President Trump and our country finish the wall:
Build/finish the wall.
Defund sanctuary cities.
Fully fund the Border Patrol.
Secure the border.
No taxpayer-funded health plans for illegal aliens.
End birthright citizenship.
DO YOU STAND
4. Are you in favor of additional criminal justice reforms that reduce the number of inmates in prisons and jails serving sentences for nonviolent offenses?
Cowan: I commend President Trump, Rep. Doug Collins and the Republicans who made the First Step Act a reality. The criminal justice system is first supposed to protect the community and then promote rehabilitation. I believe long-term prison beds should be reserved for those who hurt others, and we should focus on helping young people who are at the crossroads of becoming habitual offenders or productive citizens. I do not support early release of violent offenders because of COVID-19, as justice and public safety requires that they serve their sentences. Yet, I believe we are now on the right track to saving taxpayer dollars by using alternatives to incarceration for those who primarily need mental health or substance abuse counseling. We must protect our communities and keep violent criminals behind bars, but with conservative, thoughtful reform efforts, we can save taxpayer money, rebuild families and create a brighter future for Americans.
Greene: Right now we’re locking up hair cutters and tattoo artists, and releasing hardened criminals into the public. Now is not the time to consider this issue.
DO YOU STAND
5. Should Congress do whatever it can to rebuild the economy no matter the long-term impact on the national debt?
Cowan: I’m running for Congress because I want my children and the children of our communities to have the best possible opportunities for success right here in northwest Georgia. While short-term stimulus action was necessary, we cannot continue to shackle our children and their children with trillions upon trillions of dollars in debt. President Trump has led our country brilliantly through this battle against an invisible enemy, and I agree with short-term action to keep small businesses afloat and help Americans pay wages. Those measures are temporary, and we must responsibly open back up our economy and allow all hardworking Americans to get back to providing for their families.
Greene: I oppose the upcoming “Blue State Bailout” and believe everything Congress does should be focused on reopening our economy and getting our country back to work. I support cutting spending, reducing our national debt and making government smaller.