HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — As the November 8 election draws near, we want you to hear from candidates in races around the state. In Houston County, Courtney Driver is challenging incumbent Shaw Blackmon for the state house 146 seat in Georgia’s general assembly.
Houston County candidates Courtney Driver and Shaw Blackmon both give the state of education in Georgia a passing grade-- but they want to make improvements.
"I'd like to see us moving forward continue to help our teachers teach the subjects that they're provided in the classroom and certainly want to see more things that would simplify instead of complicate the environment," Blackmon explained.
"I believe that all Georgia students deserve a quality education and that means quality teachers receive quality pay, so what I would like to do is raise teacher salaries to start at $50,000 a year," Driver said.
We talked to them about the worker shortages that have plagued central Georgia employers the last couple years. Blackmon says COVID could be to blame, while Driver says wages are too low. This is what they say they'd do to help:
"We continue to I think do things at the state level like dual enrollment, we see our high-demand career initiatives through the technical college system, and you see some of the loan reimbursement like we have going on at Mercer with our rural physicians and our engineers, so I would like to see us continue to do those kinds of things,” the Incumbent explained.
"It starts with us paying workers a livable wage, and that also means that we need to give them the health care that they require to thrive -- healthy people will be happy workers, so I believe that's one of the things we need to do is to pay folks a livable wage,” the veteran said.
Each candidate says they offer voters something different.
"I look forward to using my service and my background with regards to improving Robins Air Force Base and the environment around it, improving education, working hard to keep taxes low and in general keeping government out of the way," Blackmon said.
"I've worked my entire life fighting for people and in service and that started with me being in the marine corps and the numerous organizations that I've worked with that tackle the issues that are most important to our communities,” Driver said.