Any contentious tone in the back room of Hudson Grille in Brookhaven last week was from the crowd on the topic of President Barack Obama, and not between District 6 candidates Josh Belinfante and Hunter Hill.
Belinfante and Hill participated in a forum hosted by an Atlanta 912 group. [Candidate Drew Ellenburg was absent.] Belinfante and Hill have similar ideologies, which begged a question asking why voters should choose one of them over the other.
After redistricting, Buckhead is now included in State Senate District 6. Republican candidates Belinfante, Hill and Ellenburg are running for the seat held by incumbent Democrat Sen. Doug Stoner of Cobb County.
See below where the candidates stand on health care and TSPLOST.
Belinfante emphasized his many roles in government leadership including legal counsel to Gov. Sonny Perdue and Ethics Commission vice chairman under Gov. Nathan Deal.
“I will be able to hit the ground running,” said Belinfante. “The question becomes how do you take an abstract principle, or a very concrete principle and translate it down into a bill that becomes law…”
For Hill, governing is about leadership. The decorated Army veteran served three tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. If elected, Hill says, he might turn to Belinfante for his take on various issues.
“You don’t elect experts, you elect leaders,” Hill said. “I will never come to you and say I have all the answers, because I don’t.”
Both candidates oppose President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Below is their take on health care and TSPLOST.
Health care and Grady Hospital
“Health care is not a right. This Obamacare tells us that health care is a right.
If we were to truly be conservative for health care, we would have hospitals that were able to reject people from care who could not pay for service, and then have some hospitals that would be highly subsidized. There would free market principles going on. Obviously Grady would not be able to reject people from coming in…”
“The no. 2 expenditure in Fulton County is public health. There’s money going to Grady and money going to the Public Health Department. Both of them have money going to satellite clinics spread throughout the county, doing exactly the same thing. One of the core functions of Grady is to provide health care. That is not the core function of the county. I would combine the two and allow Grady to run the Public Health Department. We save on overhead, and get paid patients into Grady to help them with the bottom line and taxpayers.”
Both candidates say they would personally benefit if the referendum passed. Hill is in favor of about one third of the projects and funds being invested in infrastructure.
He raised concerns about oversight of the money and would make sure dollars are spent on projects they are assigned to. If the referendum doesn’t pass, the candidate said he would pursue transportation and infrastructure improvement projects.
Belinfante said he doesn’t believe in raising taxes for economic development. And while $450 million would be directed to the I-285 and Ga. 400 interchange, he is cautious about the lack of details in overall spending.
“That makes me very hesitant to vote for something that we don’t know what it is,” Belinfante said.
Are you watching this race closely? What's more important to you, leadership or experience?