MACON, Ga. — In November, Republican Don Cole, a pastor in Cordele, will face Democrat incumbent Sanford Bishop for the District 2 Congressional seat. 13WMAZ spoke to both candidates about their priorities if elected.
Donald Cole and Representative Sanford Bishop and are nearly complete opposites when it comes to political issues, but both say they're running to improve life for people living in Central and southwestern Georgia, beginning with economic development.
"Bring jobs, a stronger economy, better education, safe communities, a clean environment, affordable, accessible healthcare. I want to be able to support the industries in our state," Bishop said.
Cole said, "I want to be the economic cheerleader -- I want to connect up with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, with the local economic development authorities, with the regional economic development authorities."
Both candidates say a top priority is supplying rural Georgia with internet access.
"If we can run electricity back in the 1920s and '30s out to a farmhouse that is 5, 10 miles off the road, if we get electricity out there, then we certainly ought to be able to get fiber optics or some type of high-speed internet connected out," said Cole.
Bishop says as chairman of a House Appropriation Subcommittee, he's helped to get funding to bring broadband to rural America and is working to get more.
"What we want to do with our internet funding is not have it based upon cost-effective enterprise, but be able to support and supplement the cost of expanding that infrastructure to those areas," said Bishop.
Bishop says other top priorities include continuing to fund support for Georgia's agriculture, military bases, and the financial transaction industry.
Meanwhile, Cole says other issues he's running on include opposing abortion and defending the Second Amendment.
This year, Bishop is running for his 15th term, Cole says he's campaigning to fill what he sees as a vacancy.
"When you get up there and spend that much time in Washington D.C., at some point -- I believe he crossed that point a few years ago -- you start paying attention to all the people up there than you do the people down here," Cole said about Bishop.
"I would say I would have to let my work speak for me, if you look at the appropriations and the delivery of the resources to our area," Bishop said.
Election Day is November 3, and early voting starts up on October 12.
Bishop is from Columbus and the 2nd Congressional District includes Crawford, Macon, Peach, Dooly, and Taylor counties and most of Bibb County.