WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Election Day now just weeks away, so we're taking a closer a look at the race to represent Georgia's 8th Congressional District in the U.S. Congress.
Republican Austin Scott currently holds the position.
He is a husband and father to three.
"I feel good about the work on the Armed Services committee and the ag committee and just wanna keep pushing forward with that," Scott said.
But Democrat Darrius Butler hopes to change the long-time red district to blue.
He's a 28-year-old Hawkinsville native who's now a pastor in Warner Robins.
"I want to invest in our community. I actually want to see the 8th District become the next metropolitan area, the next big spot," Butler said.
Butler says he wants to create better infrastructure in rural Georgia.
"We just had the infrastructure bill get passed not too long ago and we've got to make sure that that money and those resources are allocated down here to the 8th congressional district, so these roads, these bridges have got to be fixed. Our waterways have got to be fixed; and not just infrastructure in the sense of this innocuous term of infrastructure. Every day in middle and south Georgia, as we drive from city to city, to county to county, we hit dead spots on our cell phones. Georgia is bigger than Atlanta. We have 159 counties, 30 of them that just so happen to be in the 8th District, and I want to make sure that all 30 of these counties are investing in just like Fulton, DeKalb, and Clayton," Butler said.
Scott says he wants to protect Georgians "constitutional rights," like their "religious freedoms."
"I believe in personal freedom and individual liberty and economic opportunity and if you look at what the Democratic Party wants they want to micromanage all aspects of our lives; and so they very much believe in federal control. Federal control of the health care system. Federal control of the education system. Federal control of all aspects of our lives. I believe that we are a free country, and we are free people; and we need to protect those freedoms. That's what the Constitution gives us," Scott said.
Butler says he supports the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, but he also says more can be done to help with inflation.
"We've got to make sure, allow the feds, the Federal Reserves to have interest rates that are actually going to be comprehensive and doable for the American people. We can't just keep on saying we are going to throw money at the problem and not actually fix the problem," Butler said.
Scott says the way to help with inflation is to "regain energy independence."
"The cost of fuel, especially diesel in this country is one of the things that has lead to the huge inflation in grocery prices and I think undoing what the Biden Administration and liberal democrats have done to America is the number one thing we can do to get inflation under control," Scott said.
Both agree they want to support Robins Air Force Base and Georgia's farmers.
"Our area is majority farmland. That's what our bread and butter is. The State of Georgia's bread and butter is agricultural, so what we need to make sure we are protecting our farmers, that we are giving them support; and giving them a seat at the table," Butler said.
"I'm on the ag committee and we are writing a farm bill this coming year, and so, some of the things we want to do is to expand the availability of crop insurance to specialty products like vegetables, which don't have crop insurance right now. We want to stop the dumping of vegetables from countries like Mexico at subsidized rates, which means that our American farmers are having a hard time competing, when other governments are subsidizing their producers in their countries, so it's making sure our farmers have a level playing field," Scott said.
13WMAZ asked both candidates if they had anything else they'd like to add to the interview. They both commented one.
"It doesn't really matter if you vote for me or not. It doesn't matter if you agree with the things I say or don't say; or the things Representative Scott says or doesn't say, but what I want people to know is, at the end of the day, we have a lot of things that we need to work on here in the 8th District. We have a lot of things that we've got to invest in; and I just want you to vote for the person that you believe is going to actually invest in what's important to you. Vote for not just yourself, but for your kids. Vote for your grandkids, because we've got to leave something for them," Butler said.
"I'm a dad and a husband; and I've got a four-year-old and a seven-year-old; and I will tell you what's happening on the social aspect of America is very concerning to me; and when you look at the far-left is doing where they are demanding that transgender surgeries be allowed to be performed on minors. I think that's absolutely ridiculous," Scott said.
The 8th district stretches south to the Florida line and includes Houston, Jones, Monroe, and part of Bibb County.