“I’ve been here several times and have enjoyed the visits here. It’s very important to this race. We believe Bartow is one of the growing, emergent counties that is going to play a big part in the economic recovery of Georgia,” Kingston said. “I’m just coming through one more time. I’ve probably been here, maybe, five or six times as a candidate.”
The reason he is seeking the Republican nomination, Kingston said, is because he is worried the American dream may become a thing of the past.
“I’m very concerned that we’re losing the American dream, that an intrusive government with runaway spending is taking our liberties and our freedoms away —sometimes by bureaucratic control, sometimes just by overspending. I worry that the American dream won’t be there for the next generation. I’ve seen so many pieces of legislation that we’ve passed in the House to reform government get killed by the Senate. I believed the battleground for America is the U.S. Senate,” he said.
Among the items passed in the House, Kingston later said, were efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” The defunding issue, he added, was one of the topics Bartow County voters told him they were concerned about.
“I voted to defund it 40 different times, and believe that — it’s a sixth of the economy. We can’t just dismiss it. It’s driven up the cost of health care and decreased the access, and in terms of spending, they’re very concerned about the growth of the federal government. As chairman of the [agricultural] committee, I actually cut spending $3.6 billion, and so I know how to cut a budget and how to negotiate with Democrats to get that done. In my office I’ve cut over a million dollars. As a member of Congress, I’ve spent federal money the way people in their own household spend their money,” Kingston said.
If elected Senator, Kingston said his top priorities would include job creation and stopping regulatory overreach in the form of the Dodd-Frank Act and Environmental Protection Agency regulation. In a specific job-creation effort, Kingston highlighted his work to deepen the Port of Savannah.
“Something very specific in Georgia, I’ve championed the deepening of the Savannah [port]. Three hundred fifty-two thousand jobs in Georgia are related to the Port of Savannah, and it’s a huge export facility,” he said. “So if you’re a business in Bartow County, it’s a gateway to a lot more customers. So I’ve worked very hard on that just in the name of job creations. The cost/benefit ratio is a dollar spent at $5.50 return — [a] very good thing for Georgia and so many of those jobs are, of course, in this area.”
Among Kingston’s responsibilities as a member of Congress was sitting on the House Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee from 2008 to 2012, according to his House website. Though he is no longer on that committee, Kingston said the stalled farm bill is still important to him, as Georgia remains a strong agricultural state.
“It’s a $71 billion industry in the state of Georgia. That includes not just growing onions in Vidalia or baking bread somewhere. It’s the restaurant business and anybody’s who’s in food or food production. … The tail of it is now bigger than the dog itself and that is food stamps, and I co-authored an amendment saying able-bodied recipients should be able to work, and that’s a big division on the left and right,” Kingston said of the farm bill. “On the conservative side we want less people on food stamps and able-bodied people being required to work, and the Democrats really want to expand it and not have any reductions, and that’s what’s bringing down the agricultural side.
“And the agricultural side, by the way, over the life of the farm bill has $23 billion in cuts, but that does not count the food stamps.”
Kingston continued, saying food stamp usage grew from 17 million people on food stamps in 2000 to 47 million now. He also said the cost in 2008 was $39 billion and has grown to approximately $79 billion today. As for the cuts on the agricultural side of the farm bill, Kingston said they reflected moving away from a direct-payment subsidy and toward an insurance-based program.
Farmers support the policy shift, Kingston believed.
“They do support it. What they really want is stability in the farm bill, and they need a farm bill so they can go to the bank and get loans and say, ‘These are the federal government programs that would be influencing my production.’ Having a farm bill is important for the stability of rural economies,” he said.
Kingston said he has introduced what he calls the American Renewal Agenda, which has six points and involves a strong national defense, balancing the budget, creating jobs, bringing down the price of gasoline, work fair over welfare and tax simplification.
“I support the fair tax, but anything that moves us towards the simplified tax code makes us more competitive. Jobs — our businesses would not have to spend so much time worrying about compliance. They could go out and create jobs,” he said.
For more information on Kingston and his campaign, visit www.jackkingston.org or his House website, www.kingston.house.gov.