Bartow resident Nally challenges Jasperse for State House District 12
by Matt Shinall
Nov 01, 2010 | 1163 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the far northeastern corner of Bartow County, the community of Pine Log and its residents lie within House District 12 for the state legislature. Vying for the State House of Representatives seat is Jerry Nally of Pine Log running on the Democratic ticket against the freshly incumbent Rick Jasperse of Pickens County.

The district 12 seat was left vacant as Tom Graves successfully filled the seat of Nathan Deal as he left the 9th Congressional District to run for governor. In a May 11 special election, Jasperse was elected to fill the open house seat.

From their time on the campaign trail and Jasperse's brief time in office, the candidates see the biggest concern to members of the district as jobs and the economy.

"In the 12th district, it's jobs, everything is secondary compared to that," Jasperse said. "Whatever we do in the legislature is making sure we work, finding out the issues that are barriers to job creation and solve them.

"The budget is the biggest bear in the woods. ... But after that what we do as a legislature is work for job creation to make Georgia, north Georgia, a place where if you're a business you want to come here -- you want to put your place here just because of the tax structure and regulations are very positive for doing that," he added.

Seeing the same issue before them, the two also share many of the same personal concerns, both listing jobs and education as their top priorities. Nally leaned toward conservative issues, specifically emphasizing the definition of marriage as a man and a woman, the right to bear arms, life beginning at conception and a limit on government regulations. His Democratic stance is seen, however, as he opposes past actions of the Republican-held state house and senate.

The issue of ethics, however, is one that he sees as widespread throughout both parties.

"I'm 63 years old, I'm getting close to retirement and I thought I could retire but after watching the politics ... The country is in turmoil economically and politicians are just going about the business as usual of trying to make themselves a retirement home at the capitol," Nally said. "That stuff has got to stop because that's the problem with the economy now."

His dislike for career politicians is evident as he spoke about backdoor deals and under-the-table profits. His emphasis on ethics continued as he addressed the need for stricter term limits in government.

"They've lost their sign of common sense," Nally said. "I want to see term limits because I've met so many young people in my lifetime with the enthusiasm and education to run this country and keep it out of the hole that we're in now and take us into the 22nd century with our heads up still being number one in the world. But they're afraid to put their name on the dotted line and run for politics because of one thing -- the word is incumbent."

Jasperse is also a newcomer to the political realm; having retired just over a year ago, he spent the past 33 years as a county agricultural extension agent. His career began in Cartersville in 1980 as assistant county agent before working in south Georgia and eventually back to Pickens County where he spent most of his career and raised a family.

"When I retired, I knew I wanted to continue doing something, I just didn't know what it was, and like I say, the good Lord opened this door and I just walked in, jumped right in there," Jasperse said.

The love he found in agriculture is a passion that still motivates him to fight for family farms and small business owners.

"Agriculture is the number one industry in the state of Georgia and I'm very passionate about it, I just am. I know that industry and I know the relationship our communities have in that," Jasperse said. "The 12th district is one of the largest agricultural districts north of Macon. ... And we need a strong, vocal person who knows about that."

As a county agent, Jasperse said that his job relied on his ability to solve problems. He compared the work he has done since the election in May to his previous work by helping sort through issues.

"That's what I like the best about this job right now is my ability to take an issue that one of our constituents has and work hard to find a resolution, and that's the satisfying and gratifying part of this job," Jasperse said.

July's primary election resulted in more than 5,000 votes cast for Jasperse and just over 700 for Nally. Knowingly an underdog in the upcoming election, Nally spoke straight to the point and gave insight to his personal philosophy, which he charged to young people and others that may be afraid to run for office.

"I'm not afraid of getting beat because everytime you run for an office or anything -- this is just life in general -- you're not a failure. I may start out to be a millionaire and I might die a thousand-aire or I might die broke, but I gave it everything I had while I was there and that's what counted. So losing isn't in my vocabulary -- it's just that I didn't win. I didn't lose nothing because I gained a lot of experience, I've met a lot of different people," Nally said.

If he is elected, Nally emphasized the importance he places on accountability to the voter and keeping constituents apprised of what takes place at the capitol. He also proposes bringing the meaning of political speech to the public in an understandable matter, even translating that to political cartoons when appropriate.

For more information on the candidates visit their websites: www.jerrynally.com or www.rickjasperse.org.