Breaking News
More () »

Closer look: Meet the candidates for Georgia Senate District 18

Republican State Sen. John Kennedy and Democratic challenger Chris Benton are vying for the seat representing a huge swath of Central Georgia.

MACON, Ga. — As election day gets closer and more of you head out to vote early, we want to make sure you have all the information you need at the polls.

Thursday, we spoke with two state senate candidates vying for the District 18 seat. Incumbent Republican John Kennedy and Democratic challenger Chris Benton are running. Let's take a closer look at their platforms.

Kennedy is the incumbent, first elected in 2014.

"I get great satisfaction out of solving problems and helping my constituents," Kennedy said.

Benton is his challenger, hoping to bring a different viewpoint to the office.

"They don't live my life and the life of most of the people in this district. And I want to bring our perspective to the senate," Benton said.

Both candidates place an emphasis on education, and making sure schools are well-funded.

"Doing things like teacher pay raises, doing things like making sure the education budget is well-funded. Doing things like making sure the classrooms are there to teach, and not be a vehicle for divisive policies," Kennedy said.

"I want to make sure that we're allocating funds to rural school districts that really need it. One of the things we've seen is that there's a resource gap and an opportunity gap for students in rural schools as opposed to metro schools," Benton said.

Benton also wants to focus on affordable healthcare, ending gerrymandering and legalizing cannabis.

"Legalizing sports betting and cannabis will increase revenue without increasing income taxes and with that additional revenue, we can invest in our infrastructure, repair our streets, and we can invest in our education without raising taxes," Benton said.

Kennedy is campaigning on his record in the state senate, and wants to invest further in policing, while pledging to cut taxes.

"Families in middle Georgia and around the state that are suffering because of inflationary pressures on everything. Gas to groceries and everything in between. We're now looking at maybe some difficult economic times ahead," Kennedy said.

Some fast facts about this senate seat: it covers a huge portion of Central Georgia. From Thomaston to Fort Valley, Perry, parts of Macon-Bibb, up north to Forsyth, you'll probably see this race on your ballot.

Before You Leave, Check This Out