Bringing jobs to Georgia and improving education were on the minds of State Senate candidates at a voter information forum at Johns Creek High School on Tuesday night.
State Sen. John Albers (R-District 56) faced his Democratic challenger, Akhtar Sadiq, during a question-and-answer session moderated by Johns Creek City Council Member Ivan Figueroa.
When asked what his top priorities would be if re-elected, Albers said he would continue what he had already been doing – creating jobs. He said that would be accomplished by lowering taxes and reducing regulatory burdens. He pointed out that he had participated in a commission to lure jobs to Georgia.
Sadiq said his top priority was revitalizing the HOPE scholarship. He claimed that his opponent had slashed education programs by millions of dollars. (Albers later refuted this claim, stating the legislature had increased the education budget and made necessary changes to keep HOPE viable.)
When asked how they would bring more jobs to Georgia, Sadiq said he would work to encourage small business growth. He said he would work to make sure small businesses took advantage of available government grants.
Albers said he would continue to work to bring high-tech jobs to the area and bring manufacturing jobs back to Georgia.
Answering a question posed by an audience member on how they would curb Georgia's high dropout rate in schools, Sadiq said he would encourage more parental involvement and after-school programs. Albers said he would work to raise the drop-out age requirement as well as support alternative forms of education, such as online and cooperatives.
State Senate District 56 includes Roswell, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Milton and Sandy Springs.
The question-and-answer session was part of a voter information night sponsored by the Johns Creek High School PTSA. The night's activities also included a meet-and-greet, informational tables and a charter school amendment discussion.