A young adult pastor, Wes Cantrell, 52, of Woodstock, will face off against contender Meagan Biello on July 22 for the seat now held by Rep. Sam Moore (R-Macedonia), who was defeated in the May Republican primary.
The First Baptist Woodstock pastor said he’s lived in Woodstock for 22 years, and has three children and one daughter-in-law with his wife, Jane.
Cantrell said the most pressing issue facing the district right now is job creation, and “the government cannot create jobs, but it can remove a lot of the barriers to job growth that it has created.”
“One key way to do this is by eliminating the state income tax,” Cantrell said Friday. “Texas, Tennessee and Florida have all demonstrated that this can work … I will sponsor legislation to eliminate the state income tax.”
Cantrell said another priority would be to impose term limits on many elected positions.
“I believe in term limits for all state legislators. The state House and Senate were designed to be citizen-led organizations. They were not designed to be led by career politicians. This is why I am the only candidate in this race to term limit himself,” Cantrell said. “I will introduce or support existing legislation which limits all state legislators to four consecutive terms, (totaling) eight years.”
Cantrell added “the source of many of our current problems on the state level is career politicians.”
“The advantages of incumbency are such that it makes it very difficult for new leaders to enter the fray,” he said.
When asked what he thought should be done to strengthen ethics laws in Georgia, specifically relating to campaign contributions, Cantrell said “term limits would have a major impact on this issue.”
He said the state Legislature should address funding for the Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, formerly the state ethics commission.
“The main thing that must be done is to constitutionally protect the funding of the state ethics commission and ensure that it is an autonomous agency,” Cantrell said.
When it came to transportation, Cantrell said properly allocating funds is one of the most important aspects to solving problems.
“Right now, only 75 percent of the gas tax goes to transportation, 25 percent goes to the general fund; 100 percent of the gas tax should go toward improving our roads,” Cantrell said. “Alternative forms of transportation are not really feasible at this time in House District 22. We need to focus on improving the current roads we have, using a common sense approach.”
Cantrell said he brings “a wealth of experience to the table,” and his knowledge and community service make him the best choice for the seat.
“I worked with students for over 21 years — having been a youth pastor for over 13 years — and I taught in Cobb County public schools for seven years. I’ve raised three incredible children. My wife and I started The King’s Academy in Woodstock 15 years ago — the first hybrid school in our state,” Cantrell said. “I have started three nonprofit organizations, which serve our community, and I’m currently serving as board chair on each of them.”
Cantrell added he had served on boards for three additional nonprofits, and recently served with pro-life organization Life Resources of Georgia.
“I currently serve on the board of Patch Our Planet, an organization committed to solving the orphan crisis. I have been a servant leader all of my life,” Cantrell said. “I want everyone in the country to know what you and I already know to be true: Georgia, and specifically House District 22, is the best place to live and work in America.”