Candidate Q&A: Roy C. Barnes
This is the first in a series of profiles of the hopefuls for the Sept. 20 special election to fill the state House District 43 seat.
Roy C. Barnes tells a story from 1932, when he was just a toddler traveling with his parents in the Northeast. The family was stopped and held for a time by police, who mistakenly thought Barnes was the kidnapped son of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
The Lindbergh child had been abducted days earlier in New Jersey.
Barnes is 81 years old now and is one of five candidates running in a special election for the Georgia House District 43 seat, held for 15 years by Rep. Bobby Franklin, who died in July.
The election for the Northeast Cobb County seat is Tuesday, Sept. 20. If a runoff is needed, it will be held Tuesday, Oct. 18. The winner will represent the 43rd District in the 2012 legislative session.
If newly drawn legislative maps are approved, the district will get a new number, 46, and will stretch into Cherokee County to pick up additional voters. But voters in the current district will go to the polls Sept. 20.
Early voting is runnng through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at two locations: the East Cobb Government Service Center, 4400 Lower Roswell Rd.; and the Cobb Board of Elections and Registration, 736 Whitlock Ave.
Barnes is the oldest candidate in the field of five (none of the other four was alive during the Lindbergh case) and shares a name but no relation, politically or otherwise, to former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes. On his website, vote4roybarnes.com, the candidate says his middle initial stands for Calvin or Conservative.
Barnes is a 20-year Navy veteran who served in the Korean War. He spent 10 more years on inactive duty in Washington.
He worked at the U.S. Census Bureau for 20 years as a computer programmer and systems analyst and has owned two small businesses dealing with security and home insulation.
Barnes is now in real estate sales. He and his wife, Ann, have one daughter.
Barnes has never run for a political office before. He answered questions about his campaign for Patch.
Q: You're 81 years old and very active. Do you think the youngsters down at the Capitol will have a hard time keeping up with you?
A: Age is only a number, and my only concern is whether we're all running on the same track and keeping up with one another.
Q: If elected, you'll have a short learning curve before the start of the 2012 legislature. What do you think will be the two or three biggest issues facing legislators in January, and how do you think they should be addressed?
A: I expect that the redistricting will be a bit of an issue because of those who have some objection to it, and it may be possible that this issue will have to be revisited if ordered by a court.
The Georgia budget may have to be re-examined to ensure that we are providing adequate funding for emergencies, such as the recent hurricane situation that affected other parts of the U.S. with loss of utilities, flooding, and damage to roads, bridges and homes, but mostly to provide for the safe rescue of our Georgia citizens.
Q: How would you compare yourself, politically, to the late Rep. Bobby Franklin?
A: I really don't want to compare myself to Bobby. My opinion is that his constituents re-elected him (and I was one of them) to serve them for 15 years, so they are the ones who must be counted as being satisfied with his performance.
Q: Rep. Franklin voted no on most bills that came up in the legislature. Was he representing the views of his Cobb constituents?
A: See previous question/answer.
Q: If the metro sales tax for transportation projects vote were held today, would you support it?
Q: Given a federal judge has ruled parts of the state's new immigration reform law unconstitutional, what should the state's next move be?
A: Appeal in court. Georgia was one of the original signers to the Constitution, and I find it beyond belief that those signers meant to surrender all the rights of Georgia's citizens to the federal government.
Q: How would the proposed reapportionment plan outlined by the Republican leadership of the House and the Senate impact the current House District 43? Do you believe it is a plan that is fair?
A: I have seen the proposed House plan but was unable to see street names that defined the new areas. It appears that District 43 will be in a new geographic area, and the geographic area where my home is located will become House District 46. I have no opinion if the new areas are unfair.
The U.S. census determined that Georgia would have one additional congressional representative because of the population increase, and that would require the creation of a 14th U.S. Congressional District for Georgia. If there is a battle over fairness, it will be resolved in the courts.
Q: If the Georgia presidential primary were held today, who would you support?
A: None of us have a crystal ball that we can accurately see the future, and I will simply make up my mind when all the candidates are truly revealed.
Q: What current politician nationally or in Georgia do you think you are most like? Why?
A: I've never thought of myself as a politician, so I find it difficult to make such a comparison. I would really have to give that question a lot of research and thought.
Q: Does your name ever create any problems with Republicans in Northeast Cobb?
A: If it does, I'm totally unaware of any problems. Most of my friends will say things in jest, and I take it simply as fun.