Jared Sammons, from Adrian in Emanuel County, stands out as the one independent among the five candidates seeking the District 4 Georgia Senate seat previously held by the late Sen. Jack Hill.
Sammons will appear on the same ballot with four Republicans in the June 9 special election. An Aug. 11 runoff is possible, and the winner will fill the remainder of Hill’s term, through this year.
By calling himself an “independent,” Sammons is claiming no party affiliation at all. In Georgia, independent candidates usually have to gather a number of voter signatures on a petition to get onto a general election ballot after the Democratic and Republican primaries have produced nominees. But that was not the case with the open qualifying process for the special election.
“I think, like most people, they’re kind of exhausted with the current political process, they kind of see the same old stuff, nothing really happening, and so I was kind of the same way,” Sammons told the Statesboro Herald. “I just wanted to do something about it this time.”
He shares some views with the Republican Party and other views with the Democratic Party. He thinks there are some things about which both are wrong and that very rarely both are right, he said.
“This was one of the very few times that an independent can easily get on the ballot in Georgia, and so I wanted to put my name out there and give the public another option,” Sammons said.
He will be 29 years old this summer and is on track to graduate from law school in May at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. But Sammons has maintained a home address at Adrian, where he grew up.
Law and industry
After stating his occupation as “legal” on the candidate qualifying form, he explained that he cannot call himself a lawyer until after he not only graduates but also passes the bar exam.
Scheduling to take the exam is complicated right now because of COVID-19 postponements. But he hopes when licensed as a Georgia attorney to set up or join a private practice in his home area, he said, observing that some Emanuel County lawyers are approaching retirement.
After graduating from Swainsboro High School, Sammons went to the University of Georgia in an honors program. He majored in political science and attained his bachelor’s degree in 2012. Then he moved to Atlanta, where he worked for aerospace and defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin for more than two years, in federal contracting.
“So I worked pretty closely with the military branches and a few international governments,” Sammons said.
He was president of his class the second year of law school. Earlier, in Atlanta, he was a member of the Lockheed Martin Leadership Association, which did fund-raising for charities, and volunteered a few times with Open Hand Atlanta, which delivers food to people in need.
Sammons, who is unmarried and has no children, returned home to Emanuel County briefly before starting law school.
Taxes to health care
Certain that a loss of revenue will occur because of the pandemic, Sammons said he wants to see the state “maintain the integrity of the tax code” and eliminate loopholes to improve revenue rather than slash spending.
“I want to end frivolous itemized deductions that take away from the overall tax revenue, and also to that effect I would want to maintain the integrity of the budget,” he said. “I don’t believe budget cuts are the answer.”
But he added that he doesn’t want to raise taxes or create new ones that would hurt Georgians.
A part of Sammons’ campaign platform is to require that any major new spending program be approved by voters in a referendum.
In regard to education, he wants the state to “cut back on the gauntlet of standardized tests” and “focus more on teaching,” he said.
After the losses that are now occurring, Sammons wants to see jobs return to the district in greater variety, including more manufacturing and professional jobs.
“We have the port, we have I-16 and we have a lot of historic communities, and the beach is also very close to us, so it makes a good environment, I think, to invest in for private enterprise,” he said.
Sammons said he is researching what the state can do toward “keeping our rural health systems up and running” in shared responsibility with the federal government.
“I want to try as much as we possibly can to give those rural hospitals the resources they need so they can take care of us when we need them,” he said.