Shafer discusses campaign for Lt. Gov.

Published 7:02 pm Sunday, May 13, 2018

With less than two weeks before election day, lieutenant governor candidate David Shafer is one of many candidates making their way around the state.

Shafer made a quick visit in LaGrange this week on his way to Columbus.  In an interview with The LaGrange Daily News, he talked about providing high speed internet to rural areas, such as unincorporated Troup County, how to prepare young people for the workforce and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s controversy with Delta and the NRA.

Shafer is one of three Republican candidates campaigning for the lieutenant governor position. Geoff Duncan and Rick Jeffares are his opponents in the Republican primary. Sarah Riggs Amico and Triana Arnold James are competing in the Democratic primary. Cagle, the incumbent, is running for governor of Georgia.

Shafer, who currently represents district 48 in the Georgia Senate, said it’s vital that high speed internet access is provided to the entire state of Georgia. 

“The young people are not going to move to or remain in an area that is not connected to the internet,” he said. “We have to make the same determination about broadband access to the internet that we made 120 years ago to access to a universal telephone system. Every home and business ought to be connected to each other with broadband access to the internet. I would like to see us explore utilizing the universal service fund to employ broadband technology.”

Areas like Troup County are preparing for the potential of an influx of jobs, especially in the growing industrial sector. Shafer said steering more students toward technical education is important.

“One of the biggest mistakes we have made as a society in the last 30 years is to stigmatize technical education and heard all young people toward a liberal arts college degree,” Shafer said. “The truth is if you can weld or plumb or fit pipes, you will never be out of work. And many of those jobs pay more than the jobs you would get with a sociology degree.”

Cagle was embroiled in controversy earlier this year when he led the charge to cut a tax break that would’ve benefitted Delta Airlines after the company eliminated a discount for National Rifle Association members.

Shafer, who is endorsed by the NRA and Georgia Carry, said the jet fuel incentive should’ve never been included in the income tax reconciliation bill.

“The jet fuel tax exemption should probably never been inserted in the income tax reconciliation bill to begin with, so removing it from that bill was the right decision, whether they discriminated against NRA members and pricing or not,” he said.

He also said he does not believe businesses should charge customers different prices based on political beliefs or memberships.

Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a hacking bill just hours before Shafer’s interview with the LDN. Shafer had voted in support of the bill. Major companies like Microsoft and Google opposed the bill, which would’ve made it illegal for researchers and expert hackers to look for cracks in security systems.

“How do you distinguish between malicious hacking and ethical hacking?” Shafer said. “That’s what the legislature struggled with, and that’s obviously what the governor struggled with, and I have not read his veto message but obviously he’s determined the approach we initially took was not the right one.”

Shafer also said he co-sponsored a bill that would’ve provided state funding for sheriff’s deputies being assigned at schools.

The bill did not move forward after being introduced late in the 2018 session.