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Challenges building for Rep. Buddy Carter
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Jeff Rayno is a recovering politician and head of Stop Taxing Our People. 

IT WAS a quintessential political moment you can never forget. During the 1988 Vice Presidential debate between Se. Lloyd Bentsen and Sen. Dan Quayle, Bentsen looked Quayle right in the eye and said, "Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy."  

It is at this moment in time through the writer’s pen that I must shamelessly borrow the phrase and say, “Representative Carter, you’re no Jack Kingston.”

I was initially excited about Rep. Carter’s victory, and asked to be on his staff.  I also sponsored a get together at my former place of business, Savannah Joe, in Pooler to help support his campaign. It was after he started to legislate that the thrill was quickly gone. Largely because you cannot help but compare him to Jack Kingston.

Jack had a unique way about him that made you forget he was a politician. He snuggled into the grassroots like it was the natural place to be, and he unexpectedly would show up to local events without a great deal of hoopla. It was just Jack stopping on by.  

Representative Carter always appears to be on this hyper-speed agenda that is timed for maximum camera and media exposure, pressing a little flesh and he zooms off to the next event. 

When you try to inquire about his position on issues, it is if he is reading from the President Trump agenda book without a moment for independent thought. Just when you think you have an opinion or decision from him, he is flipping, flopping and moving like a water balloon.

Thankfully, two people are running against Carter in 2020, both of whom have military backgrounds. Lisa Ring is the Democratic Candidate and Daniel Merritt is the candidate for the Republican Party.

While their agendas are very far apart, there is a consensus that there must be a better connection with the people of the First District – in my opinion, just like Jack Kingston did.

Lisa Ring’s webpage clearly outlines her agenda of Equal Rights, Livable Wages, Affordable Healthcare, Racial Justice and much more. Empowering the citizens to have access to influencing policy and regaining control of the American Dream is an enticing campaign platform.  

It is often said that candidates learn more from losing an election than winning one. Ring’s second run may prove this true.

Daniel Merritt, co-founder of Nine Line Apparel, Georgia Land and Cattle and A Southern Lifestyle Company, embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and family values that Republican’s value. Add to that the foundation of Second Amendment rights, Border Security and Health Care Reform, his platform is going to attract attention.  

Rep. Carter’s response to these two candidates has been a scramble to become an authority on the issues he ignored before he had any opposition. He must keep his finger wet to figure out which way the political winds are blowing.

The result is a weak form of leadership which causes him to appear to be wishy washy, dismantles and undermines current efforts to cure problems and creates confusion where there should be clarity.

An example of this was a recent meeting Rep. Carter called to address Homelessness and the Continuum of Care in Chatham County. It was odd he would call this meeting as the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless had already put out its five year plan, and they launched an extensive community survey of local perception of homelessness.  CSAH is the Continuum of Care provider for HUD funding in Savannah.

Rep. Carter’s meeting drew together all of the service providers and told them it was up to them to put together a new continuum of care. That is like the tail wagging the dog.   

He essentially threw the Homeless Authority under the bus for purely political reasons, while at the same time violating the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which dictates local and state government know better how to orchestrate solutions to their own problems.  

The Homeless Authority operates under a law passed in 1989 under Governor Joe Frank Harris. Why would Representative Carter wish to usurp that legislation?

The Tiny House project, the brainchild of the CSAH Executive Director Cindy Kelly, is a shining example of the progress the authority has made. It has drawn together, religious, business, retail and people from all sides of the political aisle to bond together as humanity to build homes for homeless veterans.  

If Representative Carter believes he is a Kingston as he looks in a mirror, then maybe it is time in 2020 for him to hit the road “Jack” and don’t come back.