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Who's running for new House District 28? Meet these 6 candidates
HOUSE28 2022
Six Republicans are running for state House District 28, which now includes a portion of north Forsyth County and west Hall County following redistricting.

The Times is presenting candidates’ positions on local issues in print editions through the end of April ahead of the May 24 primary. Early voting begins May 2. For more coverage, visit gainesvilletimes.com/election2022

What to know about this race: State House District 28 represents a portion of northern Forsyth County and of west Hall County after district lines were redrawn in November. Six Republicans are vying for the seat, and the winner will face Democrat Claudia Wood in November.

How to vote: Check your district at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov. Voters select either a Republican or Democrat ballot in the primary.

Meet the candidates

Brent Cox 

Republican

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Brent Cox

Residence: Forsyth County 

Occupation: Business owner and football coach 

Political experience: None 

Family: Married with three children 

 

Donald “DA” Lannom

Republican

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Donald "DA" Lannom

Residence: Forsyth County

Occupation:  Defense consultant 

Political experience:  None        

Family:  Married 

John Luchetti 

Republican

HOUSE28 John Luchetti 2022.jpg
John Luchetti

Residence:  Cumming 

Occupation: HVAC contractor  

Political experience: None 

Family:  Married with three children


Blake McClellan 

Republican

HOUSE28 Blake McClellan.jpg
Blake McClellan

Residence:  Bridlewood Neighborhood in Coal Mountain Precinct  

Occupation:  Entrepreneur  

Political experience:  None

Family:  Married with a daughter 

Tim Short

Republican

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Tim Short

Residence: Cumming

Occupation: Pharmacist

Political experience: Adviser on Georgia Pharmacy Association Board

Family: Married with two grown sons


Julie Tressler

Republican

HOUSE28 Julie Tressler
Julie Tressler

Residence: Forsyth County

Occupation: Residential real estate sales

Political experience: Forsyth delegate to state GOP convention, serves on governmental affairs committee for real estate association 

Family: Two children, engaged

Candidates on transportation

Traffic issues are some of the most common complaints from local residents. While there are projects in the works to alleviate congestion, including new Ga. 400 interchanges at Browns Bridge and McGinnis Ferry roads, what do you think can be done at the state level to deal with transportation issues in the county? 

Cox: “Our tax dollars sent to Atlanta must make it back here.” He said that if elected, he would fight every day to ensure that Forsyth and Hall County projects are prioritized at the state level. 

“Georgia Department of Transportation leaders will see my name pop up on their phones frequently.” He also said transportation affects public safety.

“Let’s invest in technology to help first responders and reduce response times.”

Lannom: “As Forsyth County and District 28 continue to grow, it is essential we plan on traffic projects,” Lannom said. “It’s not enough to build out these new areas and then later realize we’ve created a traffic nightmare.” As new developments are built, a focus should be placed on improving transportation and new road construction, he said.

Luchetti: He said he would push for the widening of Ga. Highway 20 leaving Cumming. “There should be alternative routes around (the downtown) Cumming square (to help alleviate) traffic on Highway 20.” 

McClellan: He said Forsyth County is one of the fastest-growing communities in the state, and our state funds should be allocated to Forsyth and Hall County highways appropriately. 

“I will address this issue with Capitol leadership and fight to ensure 100% of state highway projects are funded by the state.” He added that government should limit the amount of high-density housing in the county, saying it will only exacerbate traffic congestion.

Short: “Traffic is a sign of growth, and we are facing rapid growth in Forsyth County,” Short said. “We need to stay ahead of this challenge with better prioritization and planning.” 

He said a lot of tax dollars are sent to the state for roads and there is a need for leadership to articulate those needs and be proactive in delivering solutions. 

“I have an entire career of experience solving complex problems by listening and aligning the right resources to get the best result. We cannot let politics get in the way of a basic need like transportation and infrastructure.”

Tressler: She said we need to elect bold, knowledgeable, and innovative leaders to represent us at the Capitol. “(Leaders) who can work as a team with the local delegation to bring money back home for transportation and infrastructure projects in Forsyth and Hall counties.” She said she is a relationship and consensus builder, “which is what it takes to get things done.” 

Candidates on their priorities

Casino gambling, mental health, and issues with public schools were some of the biggest items discussed at this year’s legislative session. If elected, what legislation would you want to sponsor or support in the next session? 

Cox: As a parent, coach and teacher, Cox said he understands the challenges students, parents and teachers face.

“Because every household and community is different, it would be a disservice to students to use a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to education.”

He said he will advocate for parents to have more choice and involvement in their children’s education." 

He added that reducing teenage suicide and drug use must be a priority. “It’s unacceptable that students are suffering without a plan to address this crisis.”

Lannom: He said he will sponsor legislation that protects students from “extreme liberal indoctrination, including critical race theory and comprehensive sexuality education.” “I am in favor of taking education out of the hands of people in Washington, D.C. and giving it back to our local boards of education and parents,” Lannom said. 

Luchetti: He cited governmental powers and overreach as part of the reason he is running for office.

“No power should be granted to government to mandate you to stay at home, close your business or any medical procedure including vaccines.” He said education of children is very important. 

“We need to prioritize school choice and make sure (critical race theory), stays out of the educational system.” He also said human trafficking is a problem throughout the country. “I’m going to be a part in building the foundation to stop it here in Georgia.”

McClellan: He said one of the significant issue he would like to address is the amount of censorship seen from big tech.  

“They are censoring people who speak out against vaccine mandates, mask mandates and many other conservative issues, while at the same time allowing pornographic material to flood their platform. They should and must be held accountable and treated like publishers if they continue to censor free speech.” 

Short: “Our school system is one of the highest priority issues for every family in this district.” He said supporting parent rights, keeping politics and divisive propaganda “like CRT” out of the curriculum, and collaborating with teachers and administrators to make sure they have what they need to support job-ready skills for students is important. 

“I will also lend my expertise as a pharmacist and business owner to fiscal responsibility with inflation-focused relief and to healthcare legislation that reduces costs and improves transparency.”

Tressler: The General Assembly voted to reduce state income taxes this year because Georgia is ending its fiscal year with a huge surplus. “It is time we eliminated the state income tax altogether to make us competitive with other states, which have already eliminated their state income tax.” She said fair and consumption-based taxes are preferable to income taxes for generating state revenue. “I would also like to expand on the strides made this session in prohibiting the teaching of divisive concepts in our public schools to include colleges and universities or any school receiving public funds.”

Candidates on redrawn district

After the recent redistricting process, the state House 28 seat, previously in northeast Georgia, will now represent portions of northeast Forsyth and western Hall counties. What are your thoughts on the new district and what do you see being key issues for the area’s residents?

Cox: “Due to unprecedented growth, it is time that our area has a comprehensive, cost-effective plan for the next 10-15 years,” Cox said. “This plan should embrace economic opportunity and bring more jobs to our community without overwhelming our home.” He said he is committed to a responsible plan for growth.

“This plan will not raise taxes, but rather cut frivolous, unnecessary spending and government waste. Common sense and fiscal conservatism are the keys to solving our area’s growth problems.”

Lannom: The two main issues he hears from residents are about traffic and retaining personal liberties. “As I’ve mentioned before, we must build out our roads and highways as we are developing Forsyth County, not afterwards. This will ease traffic.” He said frequently there is a new bill or proposal from Congress that would limit or curtail rights as defined in the constitution.

“The main concern is the Second Amendment and our right to bear arms. At the state level, I can promise I will never support any bill that restricts the rights outlined in the Second Amendment.”

Luchetti: “With the population growth (in District 28) in the past few years, keeping the high quality of life is important.”

 He said families should have a variety of options when deciding how to educate their children.

“The goal of school choice is to ensure families have quality educational options, including a Christian education.” He said that making sure the local schools stay the best in Georgia is key.

McClellan: “District 28 is one of the most attractive places to live in Georgia. We have beautiful rolling hills, a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and one of the most incredible lakes in America. At the same time, we are developing a sought-after school district.”

He said growth is inevitable, but the state needs responsible development and an infrastructure that supports it. 

“Our neighbors to the south are dealing with traffic, shrinking green spaces and high-density housing. We need to ensure that the state never takes the development planning away from local municipalities and forces HUD housing quotas on our great district. 

Short: He said he will protect pro-life policies, support Second Amendment rights and fight to keep government small and transparent. “As this district faces a great deal of growth, I will protect our lake and river from over-development and attract the right kind of businesses that keep our taxes low and reinvest in our community,” he said. He added that the schools are attracting families to move to the area, and we need to retain local control, honor parent’s choice and equip teachers and students with the resources they need for success.

Tressler: “Being a country girl myself, I see our new District 28 as being the last great frontier of Forsyth and Hall counties,” she said. “It’s a beautiful district with working farms and a rural appeal.” She said agriculture needs continued support so farms can remain working and profitable. As growth continues, traffic and congestion are going to be more of a problem, she said. “As a longtime resident of the district, I understand we need to address these issues in a way the protects the character of the community.” She said Lake Lanier also should be preserved in so far as its level, shoreline and health. 

This article was updated to include responses from Julie Tressler, who had not responded to requests for comment by deadline.