Robert Busbee, a Statesboro attorney who has not served in elected office, touts hard work and loyalty to South Georgia voters as his qualifications for the District 160 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives.
Republican-ballot voters in the district will decide this race in Tuesday’s primary. Busbee is the challenger. Rep. Jan Tankersley, from Brooklet, is the incumbent. Since introductory stories on them appeared back in February, this pair of questionnaire interviews is intended as a refresher.
Herald: Why should District 160 voters choose you to be their state representative?
Busbee: “Because I know the value of hard work. I got a job when I was 16 and worked through college. After I finished school, I started a business and built it from the ground up. I will get the job done at the Capitol.
“Because I haven’t forgotten where I came from,” he continued. “I was born and raised in South Georgia, and when I go to Atlanta, I will take our values with me.
“Because my loyalty is to the voters,” Busbee said. “My opponent has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions while representing this small community, and the majority of her money came from outside of the district. That’s why she has to vote ‘yes’ for nearly every bill that comes through the General Assembly (over 98 percent). I will read every bill and only vote for those that represent the voters’ interests and values.”
Note: Tankersley was given an opportunity to respond to Busbee’s statement about her campaign contributions and voting record. Her response appears at the end of the separate story about her.
Herald: Now that revenue is growing again from a recovering economy, the General Assembly acted this year to reduce the state's income tax rate. Do you want to see further tax cuts or changes to the tax structure, or is the money needed to rebuild a reserve or for other priorities?
Busbee: “The value of cash is constantly depreciating. Building a state ‘reserve’ would mean billions of dollars coming out of the economy to sit in an account and lose value. That is why businesses invest rather than sitting on large sums of money. The best investment the state can make is to let her citizens keep their own money. If we want this recovery to continue, we need to keep taxes low.”
Illegal Immigration has to be a top priority. Our economy is becoming more and more high-tech, and jobs are disappearing. We cannot continue taking on uneducated, low-skilled workers by the millions.Robert Busbee, Republican candidate for House District 160
Herald: What steps should the state take to protect against attacks on schools and gun violence in general?
Busbee: “For starters, we should stop blaming law-abiding gun owners and look at what really causes these tragedies. I would suggest beginning with school security and mental illness. When a bad guy with a gun comes to a school, there needs to be a good guy with a gun there to put him down. In addition, we need to find out what is happening with these people mentally to cause them to commit these horrors so we can stop them from happening in the future.”
Herald: What issue that hasn't been mentioned here is a top priority for you?
Busbee: “Illegal Immigration has to be a top priority. Our economy is becoming more and more high-tech, and jobs are disappearing. We cannot continue taking on uneducated, low-skilled workers by the millions.
“The United States is over 3.7 million square miles, and we average more than three illegals per square mile,” he wrote. “With those kinds of numbers, there is no way for the federal government to effectively police this problem. The states are going to have to help. I want to see 1) mandatory e-verify across the state, 2) no more state resources and welfare going to illegals and 3) criminal prosecution of persons working in Georgia illegally.
“Also, if Justice Kennedy follows through with his rumored retirement from the Supreme Court this summer, it could provide an opportunity for states to challenge current abortion law,” Busbee continued.
Both candidates were emailed the questions and replied with written answers.
Busbee, 35, is a native of Jesup but first arrived in Statesboro as a Georgia Southern University student. Majoring in political science, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2009. He then went to the Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta. After receiving his law degree in 2012, Busbee moved back to Statesboro that year before starting his law practice in 2014.
He owns Busbee Law Group LLC, in Statesboro’s Market District, and specializes in criminal defense and domestic litigation. He also handles wills and estates and serves as an appointed attorney for people who cannot afford one in cases involving the Department of Family and Children Services.
He and Erika Jordan Busbee, also a graduate of Georgia Southern, have been married since November 2016.
In his February announcement, Robert Busbee identified modernization and transparency in Georgia’s state and local governments as his key platform issues.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.