Nathan Russo, a Saint Simons Island resident who is a retired property appraiser, wants to make a difference in his community and says he plans to work with President Barack Obama to get things done for the citizens of the First Congressional District in Southeast Georgia and the nation.
Russo first announced his intentions in early April after forming an exploratory committee several months ago.
Russo describes himself as socially progressive and fiscally conservative along with having a belief of building coalitions in an effort to get things done.
One of his sayings is: “We can do it now….and we can do it together”
For long-term incumbent Republican, Jack Kingston, he has been part of a conservative movement throughout the 1990’s and the last decade who has attempted to balance the budget at the expense of senior citizens, children and citizens struggling with poverty.
Kingston was a rubber stamp for many of George W. Bush’s budget-busting policies such as the infamous Bush Tax Cuts of 2001 and 2003 which contributed to turning a surplus left by former President Bill Clinton into a deficit within a matter of years.
Trickle-down economics didn’t work in the 1980’s and it didn’t work during the Bush years in which Kingston committed to this flawed philosophy.
Kingston voted for two wars that weren’t paid for that have lasted a decade and has been a roadblock for Americans who need unemployment benefit extensions during a time of recession.
Kingston, a former insurance salesman, has been an opponent of the President’s Affordable Health Care Act which was enacted in March 2010.
Russo supports the President’s efforts to insure all Americans and reduce health care costs, but believes in the “public option” and the federal government must start negotiating with the pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost we spend on medicines.
Kingston has attempted to have it both ways in regard to immigration reform and has been opponent to the Dream Act.
Russo is strong proponent for immigration reform and strongly believes in passing the Dream Act.
Kingston has attempted to use the immigration reform debate as an opportunity to divide Americans and use as a wedge issue.
Russo understands that the system is broken, but has said there must be a pathway to citizenship along with ways of protecting the border.
The First Congressional District consists of 17 counties and they are: Chatham, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn, Camden, Ware, Brantley. Pierce, southern Effingham, Wayne, northeastern Lowndes (Moody Air Force Base), Clinch, Echols, Lanier, Long, Bacon and Appling.
Chatham is the largest population center in the First Congressional District.
For Russo to be in a position to win, he must win Chatham County decisively and one of Georgia’s largest and most progressive cities, Savannah.
Additionally, Liberty County (Hinseville), has been a Democratic stronghold for presidential candidates and Russo, a military veteran himself, can do well in this part of the district as well.
In 2008, President Barack Obama, handily won Chatham County by winning 57 percent of the vote. And Chatham has been reliably Democratic for decades.
In 2008, President Obama won Liberty County by a similar margin as well.
In 2010, when Republicans were winning everything, but former Governor Roy Barnes still won Chatham County over Nathan Deal by the tally of 50 percent to 45 percent.
Other areas of the district which will be critical will be Russo’s hometown, St. Simons Island and Brunswick in Glynn County, Darien in McIntosh County, Waycross in Ware County along with Kingsland in Camden County and Folkston in Charlton County.
However, congressional and state representatives, who are Democrats, have had a tougher time getting a majority of the vote in recent election cycles.
Kingston has taken some right-wing positions and has become increasingly more conservative during his nearly two decades in office.
President Obama had recently challenged House Republicans— including Kingston– in regard to passing legislation which would stop the interest rate from doubling on federal student loans by July 1.
Kingston’s record on education is dismal, and Russo must be able to shine a light to the incumbent’s record on education.
In 2008, Obama, won every demographic of all races and backgrounds who are under 30 years old.
Kingston has become mostly an ideologue who has little to show in regard to accomplishments for his district.
Russo says he wants to be a voice for the voiceless and even though he might not agree what everything the President says, but he is willing to work with him to get things done for the good of his district and the nation as a whole.