“I decided to get into the District 15 race about probably seven or eight months ago. I realized that we needed a Democratic candidate and I realized I would need to start planning early,” he said. “Although I’m just now beginning my campaign because it will run until November, I’ve been planning until since about that time period.”
Patrick said he recognized the obstacles a Democratic candidate would face in Bartow County, adding that he will run as a more conservative Democrat. Among the issues he plans to run on are reinstituting former Gov. Zell Miller’s policy of eliminating sales tax for families purchasing food items at grocery stores and general tax relief for working and middle class families. Also high on his list is ethics reform within the Georgia Legislature.
“I feel like some of the Republicans have done a good job finding savings in government, but I’m personally upset — and I couldn’t run as a Republican or be with that party — because I’m learning the lobbyists have returned millions of dollars in savings — about a quarter of a billion — to corporate interests like UPS and Gulfstream instead of our middle-class families,” Patrick said. “If elected, I want to be able to focus on stronger ethics reform at our state capitol and to get excessive money, gifts and contributions and lobbyists out of state and local elections. I want to use the money saved eliminating excessive special interest tax breaks to restore education funding for smaller class sizes and to provide better insurance options for our teachers — something that Republicans have not been able to do.”
The ethics reform bill passed in 2013 did not go far enough, Patrick said. He would like to see a bipartisan ethics board independent of any majority party.
“We need to restore policing to our state government and not have self-policing by the Republican Party, or any majority party for that matter because it can only lead to waste and corruption of the tax money we’re collecting,” he said.
With experience working for TAPPI, a nonprofit focusing on the forest and paper industries, Patrick said he hopes to bring his knowledge relating to alternative fuels to the Legislature as well.
Patrick said he joined the Democratic Party approximately four years ago while he was operating a mobile vending business called Arctic Sales Vending, which he operated mainly in Rome.
“I was working in poor communities and I was upset seeing the conditions in many areas in Rome and in Cartersville. Poverty is not good for America and it’s especially sad when it affects children. I felt I had to do something about it. The Democratic Party seemed to have that in their platform as a concern and that’s why I identify as a Democrat. I want to help the poor and the working class more than corporate interest,” he said.
Among the ways of how he would tackle poverty, Patrick later explained, are combinations of free-market solutions, tax breaks and subsidies.
“I believe instead of just spending our way out of poverty, which we’ve found is inefficient at fixing problems and creates ongoing dependency, we can work on creatively giving tax breaks with a combination of subsidies to restore rural areas and rural economies as well as urban centers that have been struggling in the last 20 to 30 years, because if we can foster those businesses instead of corporate titans we will start to rebuild small-town America. We will start to shrink the welfare rolls and to let the working and middle class thrive and more people can move into the middle class again, and I believe that’s what’s been missing in Georgia, all across Georgia and all across America,” he said.
As a young candidate in his mid-20s, Patrick acknowledged he would be learning about the campaigning process as he moves forward, and he also hoped he would learn from the district’s constituents. He said he plans to go door to door to speak with potential voters, which he believed will allow him the opportunity to shape his message independently of the national Democratic Party.
“I’m making a lot of connections with people from inner city Cartersville who I think feel like they haven’t had a voice before as far as representation and they think now they have somebody locally that gives them that chance, and I’m trying to explain having a local vote, that vote carries a lot more weight, especially in the midterm,” he said. “I’m getting some response, maybe, from not the usual political community, but a lot of new voters and a lot of young voters.
“... First of all, I’m a young candidate, so I’m not going into this race with the idea that I know everything, or have the solution to everything. I certainly don’t want this to be a nationalized election. We’ve had too many of those. I want to be able to go and meet constituents, and I’m certain that I will meet a lot of smart constituents here in the 15th district that have some great ideas about what we can do to make government work better and more efficiently for the people. And I plan to have my campaign evolve, not because I’m pandering, but because I’m learning things from my actual constituents. That’s honest. That’s what a true representative should do.”