Candidates make case for Democratic nomination for US House seat

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, May 7, 2024

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A pair of candidates are seeking the Democratic Party nomination for Georgia’s Third Congressional District. The duo competed during a forum hosted by the LaGrange-Troup Chamber of Commerce on April 23.

Candidates Val Almonord and Maura Keller are seeking the seat of outgoing Congressman Drew Ferguson (R). The former West Point Mayor announced he planned to retire following the current term in late 2023.

Almonord is a native of Haiti and a U.S. Army veteran. Almonord previously ran against Ferguson in 2022 in a failed bid for the seat.

Keller is originally from Weymouth, Massachusetts, and is also a U.S. Army veteran and a healthcare professional.

Each candidate was given 90 seconds for each question, with two minutes for an opening and closing statement.

Some of the questions covered in the forum include:


What are the top three most important issues facing our district, Congressional District 3, and what do you think Congress should do about those issues?

“As I travel around the districts, what I’ve been told is we need more affordable housing. We need to codify women’s reproductive health care. And we need more job opportunities in the areas where individuals can find better paying jobs where they don’t have to go into Atlanta, so they can actually stay here, they can actually have a career. But we have to look at transportation systems that people can use to actually get to those jobs,” Keller said.

“As I go around talking in different groups, different focus groups in the community, the question that comes up most often is a woman’s reproductive rights. Broadband, high-quality broadband because we need that and in this district because a lot of people don’t have connection in the district. And also good paying jobs. A lot of people want good, good-paying jobs. But they’re not available to them. So they have to go somewhere else, or travel to Atlanta to have the job,” Almonord said.


Global Issues can and do have a local impact here in our community. How can you keep your constituents’ interests at the forefront when considering these issues?

“Climate change is not a hoax. To combat climate change. We need a comprehensive approach involving individual communities, the local government and the national government. We need to improve energy efficiency and enact regulations and rules to protect our forests, protect our land and protect our waterways. And by doing everything strategically, we can create a sustainable, resilient future for future generations,” Almonord said.

“Climate change is a huge bit,” Keller said. “While everybody is saying that climate is just weather, we have to say no, it isn’t. We’ve got to find better ways, more research and development. We need to look at carbon tax, so we can put money back into our budgets. But to me, health care is extremely important, especially when you look at a lot of our people here who just don’t have it.”


How do you plan to work across the aisle to promote bipartisanship in a politically divided Congress?

I am somebody that’s coming from the military and we have to get things done. We don’t have an option to say, I’m not going to work with you today,” Keller said. “If any of us here went to our business and said that, how many of you would have a job at the end of the day? That just does not work. And we’re not doing right by our people. We have to listen to them, we have to work together.”

“As a union leader, a federal union at Fort Benning, one of my jobs is walking with elected officials, especially in Congress, the congressmen and senators, for the benefits of my union. I have the experience, I know how to work with them, you’re not always successful, “Almonord said. “But a lot of the time, we find something in common, a common ground.”