Meet the candidates
NAME: Marc Silver
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: No elected office, is president of the Young Democrats at Georgia Southern University
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Student at Georgia Southern University, double-major in political science and economics, plans to graduate in May; legislative intern for Congressman Sanford Bishop, 2011
NAME: Jan Tankersley
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Incumbent, elected to 158th District in 2010 (redistricting changed this district to 160th); Bulloch County Board of Commissioners (first female elected, served 2002-10); Brooklet City Council (1997-2002)
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Willingway Hospital, last position held was director of aftercare, served in number of positions during 14-year tenure
FAMILY: Husband, Hughie; two adult children
The 160th Georgia House District race really is about youth vs. experience.
Marc Silver is a senior at Georgia Southern University, majoring in political science and economics. He is set to graduate in May.
He also is a Democrat running against Republican incumbent Rep. Jan Tankersley, R-Brooklet.
A Georgia native, Silver said he intends to focus on the economy, ethics and the Ogeechee River should he win his bid to unseat Tankersley. In a twist thanks to redistricting, Tankersley currently represents the 158th District, but was shifted to the 160th when the Legislature redrew the lines earlier this year.
Tankersley, a Bulloch County native, said she plans to continue pushing for a more environmentally friendly Ogeechee River and hopes to continue focusing on improving Georgia’s education.
Silver decided to run for the office after the Georgia House Democratic Caucus asked him to search for a candidate to run for the office. In disagreement with Tankersley’s record and finding no suitable candidates after searching voting records, Silver decided to run for the office himself.
“The handling of the Ogeechee River is another reason I decided to run for office,” he said, adding he is dissatisfied with current efforts to solve the river’s pollution problem stemming from discharge by King America Finishing.
“I will fight to ensure King America Finishing pays for the damage that has been done to the Ogeechee River,” he said.
Tankersley said she is the only legislator who has addressed the river issue via an op-ed that appeared in the Statesboro Herald. She said she initiated town hall meetings and has attended several in support of the river cleanup, but pointed out legislators have very little power.
“The Environmental Protection Division is an executive branch of government; the director answers to and is appointed by the governor,” she said. “We have no authority over the EPD.”
Despite that, Tankersley said she has done the best she can as a lawmaker to impress upon Gov. Nathan Deal, EPD and the state Department of Natural Resources the importance of stopping the pollution of the river.
Silver said if elected he hopes to devote attention to “strengthening the economy, invest in home-grown talent and improving ethics in the state.” Reduction in welfare program costs and decreasing unemployment also are areas he wishes to focus upon.
While the Ogeechee pollution issue is very important to Tankersley and she said she intends to continue pushing for a solution, education is also highly important, she said.
If elected, she said she will make sure “education will stay on the front burner. It is always going to be a major issue.”
It has also been her desire to “broaden the tax base” in Georgia. “Most of the burden is on property owners, and a flat tax or consumption tax will” more fairly spread the burden, she said.
Another focus she plans is a “Plan B for transportation since T-SPLOST (transportation special purpose local option sales tax) failed.”
All of those issues, she said, are intertwined and part of a comprehensive agenda she has pursued, and plant to continue, should she be re-elected.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.