Getting to Know Your Candidates for 14th Congressional District
Heading into the election with the exit of 14th District Congressman Tom Graves, voters will have no less than 10 candidates to choose from, including nine Republicans and 1 Democrat. Georgia's 14th Congressional District includes almost all of northwestern Georgia. Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Polk, Walker, Whitfield, and a portion of Pickens counties.
Incumbent Republican Tom Graves, who was first elected in 2010, announced his retirement at the end of the year. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced the postponement of Georgia's statewide and presidential primary elections to June 9, 2020.
If no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the primary election, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will be held on August 11, 2020. The petitioning deadline for minor-party and unaffiliated candidates was extended from July 14th to August 14th, 2020. Candidates for Georgia's 14th Congressional District responded by email to the following brief questionnaire regarding their candidacy.
What Civic activities/volunteer do you currently participate in and how long have you participated in those activities?
Kevin Van-Ausdal, Democrat
My family has been making frequent donations to local, national, and international charities to help share our good fortune. Most recently I become a Catoosa county poll worker to do my part to ensure my community has access to fair and free elections.
John Barge, Republican
In addition to volunteering with my local church for food banks, ministry teams, etc. for the last 30-plus years, I also served the community where I was superintendent by serving on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Public Health, and a local scholarship foundation.
Ben Bullock, Republican
I’m a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserves with a rank of Major. I’ve been serving for 11 years between active duty and reserves as an intelligence officer working on counterterrorism. I’m a board member of the Cancer Support Community and I also volunteer at the local homeless shelter.
Kevin Cooke, Republican
I have been the State Representative for District 18 for ten years and I am currently the head varsity soccer coach for Harvester Christian Academy.
John Cowan, Republican
I’m proud to call northwest Georgia home, raise my children here, and be involved in the local community. I served as the president of the Medical Association of Georgia for four years and I’m an active member of the Rome Rotary Club. I serve as an Elder, Deacon, and Sunday School teacher at the First Presbyterian Church of Rome.
Clayton Fuller, Republican
I’m currently deployed with the National Guard, leading teams into nursing homes and medical facilities to keep our nation's most vulnerable citizens safe. When I was home from my Guard unit, I volunteered in Chatsworth and Fort Oglethorpe, doing clean-up work from the recent tornadoes.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican
Through my company, my husband and I donate school supplies, backpacks, and build computer labs in the low-income communities our company renovates. Recently, at the Alcohol Drug and Recovery Home in Garden City, Ga. our company provided roofing, framing, and general renovation for the property to help people recovering from Opioids. We built two cabins at Camp Highland Christian Camp in Elijay, Ga. We donated all of the concrete for the Georgia Vietnam War Memorial Wall That Heals. We just donated the siding and windows to two Women Build Houses for Habitat for Humanity. We’re annual supporters for Camp Kudzu for children with diabetes.
Andy Gunther, Republican
I’m currently in my 17th Year participating with the Haralson County Republican Party where I am Vice-Chair. I’m a life member and participate with the Veterans of Foreign Wars since I retired from the Army in 2002 (18-Years). I’m a life member of the Disabled American Veterans since 2019.
Bill Hembree, Republican
I lead Sunday school and leadership seminars. I’ve previously taught business classes at West Georgia Technical College and remained involved. I’ve served on the Atlanta Regional Commission, 20 years on the U.S. Selective Service Board, worked with the United Way, Chamber of Commerce, and the Boy Scouts.
Matt Laughridge, Republican
I’m a longtime NRA member and donor, a sponsor of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a Rotary Club member, and a volunteer and past Chairman of the Etowah Scholarship Foundation, where I grew the program’s scholarship count for kids in need by 29%.
What is your ultimate purpose/reason for running for the office you are seeking?
Northwest Georgia has been left without a voice in Washington. A real American working for the people and not big businesses and self-interest. I want to give back to our community by making it easier for others to achieve their dreams as well.
President Trump needs more men and women who have the courage to do the right thing. Our country faces immense challenges, most immediately the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic ramifications. I pledge to hold China and the WHO responsible for their actions. And I will do everything in my power to make sure Georgia has the resources and leadership needed to emerge from this crisis stronger and more united.
To serve my country to the best of my ability, per the oath of office I took when I joined the military, and to make sure this country is in an even better state for my children and future generations.
Sadly, our country has begun to slowly drift away from our Constitution principles, and this must not continue. Future generations deserve to have the opportunities that come from limited government and the rights guaranteed by our Founding Fathers.
The 14th District is my home and I will be the servant leader who delivers results for our communities. My wife and I chose to raise our family here, and I want to ensure that the children growing up in our communities have the best possible opportunities to find success here. I’m ready to stand up to the Radical Left and the self-proclaimed Socialists who want to infringe upon our rights, take away our freedoms, and destroy American prosperity.
To fight for the conservative Christian values of my home, the 14th district by fighting for the economic growth and prosperity of small towns and rural communities, defending the unborn, holding China accountable for the coronavirus, reducing our 23 trillion dollar debt, fighting against the spread of socialism, securing the border by funding The Wall, and vigorously protecting the Second Amendment.
In 2016, after President Trump was elected, Republicans controlled the House and the Senate. The weak-kneed Republicans caved to left-wing Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer: They funded Planned Parenthood. They funded Sanctuary Cities. They didn’t fund Trump’s Border Wall. That’s unacceptable! We need strong Republicans who won’t back down in the face of left-wing attacks and will fight tooth-and-nail to get the job done and 100% stand with President Trump.
I believe there are many problems at the federal level that the House has failed to seriously address. Take the widely lauded Paul Ryan budget proposals for instance. I felt that the house was not serious about addressing the deficit and the national debt then and isn’t now. At its current rate, the debt will be approaching 40 trillion dollars in just four years. It’s past the time to be serious. I’m serious and I’m choosing to be part of the solution.
I’m a conservative Republican and a patriot who believes in the foundation of our country and I’m running for U.S. Congress in Georgia’s 14th district with a passion for serving my home state and protecting the identity of America. It’s time for me to re-enter the fight because I believe we’re in the fight of our lives.
I’m running for Congress to refuel the working class, revive the economy, bring North Georgia values to Washington and make American manufacturing great again. If, like me, you're sick of seeing "Made in China" on every phone, toy, and prescription, then let's bring North Georgia's hardworking values to Washington to cut off China and bring back American manufacturing.
What qualifications do you have to run for the office you’re seeking?
I’ve studied all levels of our government. Including being a page for the state Senate and House of Representatives. Along with a deep understanding of the legislative process, I have nearly 20 years of working in customer and client relations. This has resulted in me becoming an expert at working with difficult people and working with others to find a resolution to our problems.
I was the first in my family to graduate from college. I had a successful career in education, which included serving as Georgia State Superintendent. I fought bureaucrats in D.C. on behalf of Georgia citizens – and won! That kind of experience is essential in the situation we face now. I’ll be ready to go on Day One.
I have 10 years of business experience and now own a small business, so I understand what most Georgians face day in and day out. From my time in the military, I understand foreign policy and national security. My time spent working at the Pentagon taught me valuable lessons about navigating the DC bureaucracy and how our federal government functions. Finally, I have a heart for service and over 200 years of family history in this district, mainly in Paulding and Haralson County.
For nearly a decade, I’ve stood up for our Georgia values in the State House and I am running on my record, not from it. I’m the only candidate in this race who has both campaigned on AND voted for our conservative principles. I’m certified PRO-LIFE by Georgia Life Alliance and endorsed by Georgia’s lone Freedom Caucus member, Congressman Jody Hice.
As a doctor and small business owner in the 14th District, I’m ready to tackle the problems facing our communities. I have a unique experience to introduce solutions to strengthen the American healthcare system and lower costs for families. My first priority from Day 1 will be securing a prosperous future for northwest Georgia communities, and keeping our nation secure and healthy.
I’m an Air Force veteran with over a decade of national security experience and was an appointee in the Trump administration working on both national security issues and combating the opioid crisis. I served GA-14 for years as a successful prosecutor, and recently I founded a company that focuses on bringing venture capital to businesses in small towns in our region.
I’ve spent the last two decades building my businesses and raising my three children alongside my husband, Perry. I grew my construction company from Georgia to 11 different states and in the process, I’ve created thousands of jobs across the country and $250 million in revenue. I also built one of the most successful CrossFit gyms in the entire country. I’m endorsed by the most conservative members in Congress and organizations like Congressman Jim Jordan and Gun Owners of America.
I’ve earned a BBA and MBA in management from the University of West Georgia, where I also took graduate-level Public Administration Courses. I have life-long experience volunteering in leadership positions with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), Boy Scouts of America, the Special Olympics, and in my church. I commanded the Rome CAP Squadron where I was a member from 2008-15. I became certified in the National Incident Management System as the Logistics Officer, Operations Officer, and Incident Commander.
In 1992, I became the first Republican State Representative for District 67 – serving Paulding and Douglas Counties. In 1999, the district lines were re-drawn to include parts of Cobb County. I was re-elected to this office nine times. When Republicans gained control of the State House, I climbed rapidly in leadership. Having a passion for education, I served for many years as Chairman of the Higher Education Committee, Chairman of the Industrial Relations Committee, and Chairman of the powerful Rules Committee.
I’m the ONLY candidate for Congress who is a serious businessman and tough decision-maker – like President Trump. Everyone in this race will SAY they support President Trump (of course we do), but right now we don’t need politicians who SAY things, we need the real deal: someone who can work with Our President to re-open the country, bring back jobs, and stand up for everyday Georgians against Swamp Politicians.
If elected, what would you like to accomplish as a public official during your term?
To fix our broken healthcare system and ensure every American has access to the healthcare they deserve, regardless of the amount of money they have. I want to enact changes that will make it easier for Georgians to succeed by lowering barriers to access a great education, good jobs, and a living wage.
I’ll work with President Trump to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and keep our economy open and moving. I’ll protect the lives of the unborn, secure our borders, and guarantee our constitutional and God-given rights, including our Second Amendment right to bear arms. I will vote to defund the U.S. Department of Education and other programs that provide duplicative services that states are already providing.
I will focus on boosting the economy and creating jobs so that Americans can keep working and pursuing the American dream. I’m also determined to keep our nation safe both domestically and abroad so that Americans remain free and able to pursue their American dream in peace and prosperity.
I will always be a champion for constitutionally limited government, but more specifically I hope to protect the lives of the unborn, defend our Second Amendment right, cut spending and pay down our national debt.
In my first term, I’ll stand with President Trump and fight to build and finish the wall. I’ll also put forth plans to expand healthcare access and I’ll always be on guard to stop attempts by Democrats to socialize healthcare.
As a member of the House, my first action would be to sponsor a bill to hold China accountable for the coronavirus pandemic. My primary goal from Day One is to foster economic growth for North Georgia by creating meaningful incentives for local businesses to thrive and to attract outside investment in our region.
I’ll fight to defund abortion mills like Planned Parenthood. I’ll never vote for gun control, and will fight against “Red Flag Gun Confiscation. I’ll pass term limits on Congress. I’ll fight to secure the border: build the wall, fully fund our border patrol, and defund sanctuary cities.
I’d like to build relations with other members of the House. To earn their trust and confidence in my abilities in order to seek their support towards reducing our National Debt. To finish building the wall, addressing our national immigration problem and numerous other national security issues.
My goals include protecting our Second Amendment rights and stand up for the unborn. I’ll work diligently to stop illegal immigration, end birthright citizenship, and build the wall. I’ll protect social security and Medicare for our seniors. I will always support our veterans and strengthen our military. As a farm insurance agent, I’ll stand up for our farmers and small businesses and work alongside President Trump to develop a fair and simple tax code.
Pass term limits to send career politicians home, shut down unnecessary swamp government agencies that cost billions (this will help get us on track to balance the budget – another mission of mine), simplify the tax code (Trump’s tax cuts worked, we need to build on them), hold China accountable for creating and unleashing the Chinese Coronavirus on the world, and – most importantly – revive the economy and refuel the working class, with North Georgia leading the way – we’ve shown the nation we can do it: Build American, Buy American.