2nd District Congressional Race Heating Up

6:04 PM, Aug 15, 2012   |    comments
Rick Allen, R-Candidate for Congress
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Republican voters return to the polls Tuesday to select their nominee for Georgia's 2nd District congressional seat.

The candidates, both from Columbus, are businessman Rick Allen and retired Army colonel/consultant John House.

They're self-proclaimed conservatives who stronly oppose the federal health care program and if elected, hope to repeal it.

Among other things, House said information he's received indicates the health care law will hurt small businesses.

"They're going to have to change how they hire people, cut people from full-time to part-time," House said. "Some of them may basically be run out of business, because they can't afford their healthcare costs."

House also said some Columbus doctors won't take Medicaid patients anymore because their reimbursement rates are so low.

Allen said the healthcare package has too many bad provisions.

"I believe it would take the best system in the world and really ruin it," Allen said. "It would also make a barrier between the patient and physician. It would put a Washington bureaucrat between the patient and physician."

People would pay more for inferior healthcare, Allen said.

Both men support term limits for federal lawmakers. But they have different opinions on how long members of Congress should serve.

House noted that Democratic incumbent Sanford Bishop has been in the House of Representatives 20 years. That's too long, he says, for anyone to hold public office.

"I'm not going to stay 20 years," House said. "I'd like to go and stay two terms."

Members of the House are elected for two-year terms, which would give House four years.

"I think if you stay too long, and too long varies by person, but if you stay too long, you get infected, if you will, by the envirfonment of Washington, D.C. and begin to think that you're better than anybody else."

Allen doesn't think two terms give a representative enough time to be effective.

"Sometimes it's hard to get on committees," Allen said. "Sometimes it's hard to get the job done in two terms, especially when you've got to battle to get re-elected again."

Allen said U.S. senators serve six year terms.

 "Two terms for senators, 12 years," he said. "I think maybe the maximum 12 years. Maybe 10 years. Maybe 12 years.I don't know. Two terms might be a little quick."

Both candidates said presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney picked an excellent vice presidential running mate when he chose U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

They both also said federal entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Medicare and Social Security need reforms. House supports replacing the current income tax system with a flat, or so-called fair tax, for everyone.

Allen supports the nine-nine-nine plan espoused by former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. That plan calls for a nine percent corporate tax, nine percent consumer tax and nine percent flat tax.

Georgia's newly drawn 2nd District includes parts of Bibb County and along with others, runs southwest through Crisp, Peach and Taylor counties and into Muscogee County.

The Republican nominee meets Bishop in the November general election.

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