MARIETTA — Eleventh Congressional District voters may choose to send a seasoned congressman back to Washington or take a shot in the dark by electing a neophyte, said former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr of Smyrna.
“The important thing in this congressional race,” Barr said, “is whether or not the people of Cobb County and the people of the 11th District are going to have somebody represent them in the Congress who actually has the knowledge, the skill set, the experience working on those issues in that arena which is the Congress — not the Gold Dome, the Gold Dome doesn’t teach you anything about how to get things done in the Congress — or whether they want a neophyte up there who basically is just going to go up and by all accounts, by all analyses, vote no on everything.”
Barr, who served in the U.S. House from 1995 to 2003, claims Loudermilk has already alienated the Republican leadership, an action he called strange.
“Do we want somebody in the Congress representing the 11th District, and this applies especially to Cobb County, which if I’m not back in the Congress will be the first time in decades, at least three decades, that Cobb County has not had somebody from Cobb representing them in the House of Representatives,” Barr said. “Do the people want somebody that actually has a track record and the experience on the issues that matter to the district and to Cobb County to once again move those issues forward, or do they want to take a shot in the dark and send somebody up there with no experience in that arena, and who’s already basically told people I’m just going to be on my own up there. In other words, somebody that won’t get anything done.”
Fighting a possible base closure
The stakes are high with Dobbins Air Reserve Base and Lockheed Martin at risk from a potential base closure in the near future, Barr said.
To avoid a base closure, Lockheed needs to keep as many jobs filled at the plant as possible.
That is achieved by having a strong Georgia delegation in Congress, Barr said. But U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) left his seat to run for Senate, as did U.S. Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) and Paul Broun (R-Athens).
“So we’re going to have a very young delegation with no senior members on key committees up there,” Barr said. “That’s why it’s so important in my view that I be back up there. But the danger to Lockheed and to Dobbins is not just the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which could crop up next year or the year after,” he said.
The threat is also from the administration’s “constant nibbling away” at the defense budget.
“The danger to the F-35 program that’s always there, or to the continuation of the C-130 program and the next model of C-130 and some of the renovation work that Lockheed is involved in. There are constant threats to that, and we need to make sure that we always remain ahead of the power curve rather than behind it there,” he said.
Sue Everhart of east Cobb, former chairwoman of the Georgia Republican Party, said one of the reasons she’s endorsed Barr is because he understands the importance of Lockheed to Cobb’s economy.
“If Lockheed goes and we were to lose the contracts and they pulled up and moved to California, it would take, I believe, Cobb County 30 years to recover, even with the business we have, because the vast majority of blue collar workers work at Lockheed in Cobb County and they make good money,” Everhart said.