Steve Ramey Campaigns for Georgia State Senate
Steve Ramey, a Lilburn resident and small business owner, is campaigning to unseat state Sen. Don Balfour.
When Steve Ramey meets people, he's likely to pull out a miniature book of the Constitution and hand it to them.
It's the linchpin of his campaign for state Senate: That the founding principles of the United States still hold true, and that they must be protected. In that spirit, Ramey's principles focus on limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free market, among others
As the chairman of the Gwinnett County Tea Party, Ramey sees himself as a statesman capable -- and willing -- to do the heavy lifting required of true patriotism. Politicians are one thing, he believes, but a statesman is actually concerned about constituents.
"I think I have more of the insight and the touch of the common man," said Ramey, who owns American Publishing Group, a company that publishes career guides for colleges.
Why Run Now?
Ramey has lived in the area since 1976, with the last 27 years being in his current home in Lilburn. Between him and his wife of six years, the couple has five children and three grandchildren.
In this stage of his life, the 62-year-old could have easily decided that running a campaign against the longest-serving Republican in the state Senate was too stressful, or at the very least, futile.
Besides, he's run before against David Casas for State House District 103, and lost. This time there are two other challengers besides himself -- Republican Travis Bowden of Snellville and Democrat Scott Drake of Lawrenceville.
But, the Tea Party asked, and Ramey decided it was a good idea to try unseating Sen. Don Balfour.
Although his campaign is grassroots, Ramey said: "I feel comfortable. I feel good about it -- one way or the other."
In addition, Ramey said Balfour is absent -- having only heard or seen him on occasion. Also, there's that nagging ethics concern Balfour is plagued by, and Ramey questions the $800,000 Balfour has in his campaign coffers.
By comparison, Ramey is running a bare-bones campaign, and has just $500 on hand, according to the state campaign reports. Ramey also has vowed not to take any gifts from lobbyists as a state senator, but to rather make it on the $20,000 salary for the position, and the daily allotment for other expenses.
"I will work for what the taxpayers pay me because they're the ones I represent," he said. "I don't represent big business. I represent all business."
First Thing's First
One of the first things that Ramey wants to do if elected is abolish property taxes and replace it with a consumption tax. His grandmother, who died a number of years ago, helped him get to this point -- no doubt unpopular to many.
Even after his grandmother's Buford home was paid off, there was still the issue of taxes. She was frightened, he said, that her home would be taken up from under her because of that. "The truth of the matter, he added, "is we never own our house."
To Ramey, it made no sense to him. Hardworking people shouldn't have to contend with this, Ramey believes, and if everyone paid an equal consumption tax of say 2 percent on goods and services, then all citizens would finance government, not homeowners.
"That to makes sense," he said. "Everybody uses our cars, everybody uses the fire trucks, everybody uses the ambulance, everybody uses police services, so why don't they pay? The more I talk, the more it makes sense, doesn't it?"
In the end, Ramey wants to be someone who holds others -- and himself -- accountable. He wants to be someone who fights for citizens, meets with them regularly and listens.
As a veteran sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, and a long-time competitive bench presser, Ramey said he's ready to fight, and knows how to. Losing isn't what he likes to do.
And, something he said to someone who previously told him that running for state office -- particularly against a seating incumbent -- probably wasn't the best idea, rings loud in his mind: "I'm old Marine. I got one direction; that's forward. I don't back up."
To learn more about Steve Ramey and his campaign for state Senate, click here to be taken to his website.
To find out more about the candidates, check out Snellville Patch Election Guide for State Senate District 9.