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Teacher announces Democratic run for 9th District congressional race
Joshua McCall
Josh McCall

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A private school teacher in Hall County who is a newbie to the local Democratic Party plans to take on the role of David going up against Goliath as he prepares to challenge three-term U.S. Rep. Doug Collins for his 9th District congressional seat in 2018.

Joshua McCall, who teaches Latin at Riverside Military Academy, told The Times that the defeat suffered by the Democratic Party at the hands of Donald Trump last year is opening the door for someone like him to come out of nowhere and run against Collins.

“A lot of people have looked at the election of Donald Trump as a great disaster, and in a lot of ways it was for a lot of people,” McCall said. “But, in a different way, maybe it’s good that the Democratic Party was laid waste, so that people who have democratic principles, who actually believe in the equality of every single person … people like us can actually come up from the bottom… I believe that this is a really golden moment in history, if the Democratic Party wants to become a party again.”

The 36-year-old McCall blames Democrats’ defeat at the polls in 2016 on their losing touch with ordinary working people. He wants to take his message to “the people” — farmers, welders, workers, builders — of the 9th District.

“(Trump) did not make them ashamed because they were from the country,” McCall said. “He didn’t make them ashamed for being NASCAR fans … He spoke to them in their language. I was very upset that the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt has managed to let flip the people we need on our side.”

McCall said the path forward for the Democratic Party is to reconnect with working people, and he plans to do just that in challenging the 9th District congressional seat incumbent.

“Doug Collins has not worked for quite a while,” McCall said. “He’s been a congressman, but as we all know, that doesn’t mean he’s working.”

He is married to Jennifer McCall, a family law attorney in town. The couple has lived in Hall County since 2002 and has three children.

McCall said his campaign will focus on issues that impact every family. He promises to make health care the top issue of his campaign.

“One of the things we need to do to bring this country together and tear down the walls between people is to find issues that do not drive a wedge between people,” he said. “Every single community is affected by health care. Everybody needs doctors. Every person needs medicine at some point in their life.”

McCall singled out the health insurance companies as the biggest problem facing the Affordable Care Act and the “most damaging institution to our nation.” Although he said Obamacare was better than nothing, McCall said it has terrible flaws in it.

McCall said he would work toward getting guaranteed universal access to life-saving health care for every single American man, woman and child without exception.

Another issue high on McCall’s agenda is making sure there’s a national education program less fixated on standardized testing and more focused on providing programs to prepare young people for a trade.

“There’s no shame to have a skill or trade,” McCall said.

McCall also wants more attention paid to the problems of veteran homelessness and pay for veterans.

“We need to support our troops and make sure every soldier gets enough to meet his or her basic needs,” he said.

McCall said that when a friend invited him to a local Democratic Party meeting a month ago, he took it for granted that the party already had some dynamo in the wings ready to run against Collins. Instead, he found that no one around has expressed a desire to run against him, which is what happened in 2016 when Collins ran unopposed in the general election.

“It was so exciting because right now the Democratic Party is in ruins,” McCall said. “People like me, just a full-time teacher, a father, my wife is a lawyer … we have to work every month to make ends meet. It’s people like us who really have to build a people’s Democratic Party, if anybody is going to do it.”