BLAIRSVILLE, GA – A week before his official campaign kick-off event, Judge Stan Gunter sat down with Fetch Your News to discuss his reasons for running for Georgia’s State House of Representative Seat in District Eight.
The honorable Gunter has spent his life in service to the state of Georgia and North Georgia in particular, as the district attorney and then a superior court judge. He retired from his judgeship at the end of September 2019 after he felt that he’d accomplished all his goals in the position. Before either of these roles, he worked in Governor Harris’s office as an assistant executive council and then executive council, one of only two law positions required by the state of Georgia for the governor’s office.
Due to his professional history, Gunter has spent a lot of time reviewing legislation and understanding how the legislative and executive branches interact with each other.
He admits that his history might make him appear as the “establishment candidate.” However, he hopes that his record speaks for itself.
“With the experience and knowledge that I have of the state capital, I am offering myself to the citizens, and it will be their choice,” stated Gunter, “I hope that they chose me.”
Gunter believes that his past in government puts him in a good position to “hunt down” the resources that North Georgia needs.
Citing infrastructure, or roadways, as a big area of potential improvement due to District Eight’s heavy tourism market, he wants to find ways to “keep traffic moving” and eliminate current existing difficulties.
Additionally, if elected, he hopes to find funds that allow law enforcement to adequately cover areas like Blood Mountain and Richard Russell Scenic Hwy. Currently, motorcycles use the loop almost like a raceway.
Taking a moment to criticize incumbent Representative Matt Gurtler on this front, Gunter claims that officials in Rabun County have gone around Gurtler to secure funding for road improvements.
“He votes no a lot, and I think that’s caused a problem with the State House and his peers down there. I don’t see how he can repair the damage to get anything passed to bring money back to the district,” commented Gunter on Gurtler’s governing methods.
The former judge believes he can get money back here because currently, District Eight’s state tax dollars are going to other areas. Gunter seems dedicated to finding opportunities to bring money back to the mountain counties, whether for roads or buildings. He trusts that his contacts can help him accomplish these goals and strengthen North Georgia’s future.
He admits that he agrees with Gurtler on all national talking points, such as Second Amendment Rights, taxes, small government, abortion, and education. The issue is more how Rep. Gurtler has handled himself in the legislature and his effectiveness moving forward.
“We’re blessed in North Georgia with teachers who do a great job. It doesn’t hurt for folks to have homeschool or private school [options]. I think competition is good for anybody,” Gunter stated.
All the counties in the district currently have strong public school systems.
Acknowledging that he switched parties in 2006 from Democrat to Republican, he adds “I’ve always been a conservative. Even when I worked in Gov. Harris’ office, and they brought up the Second Amendment, I wondered why they were so concerned with people having guns.”
Originally from Habersham County, he moved to Union County, where he and his wife, Rita, raised their family, two sons. They now have five grandchildren – three girls and two boys.
“The people of North Georgia have trusted me for more than 20 years as DA and judge,” said Gunter, “I’m asking them to trust me one more time. I can do this job. I have the experience, the knowledge, and that’s what I want them to know.”
Gunter’s candidacy kick-off event is Tuesday, Nov. 5 at Brackett Community Room, behind United Community Bank, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – State Representative Matt Gurler, branded the “rebel” of the Georgia House, was the sole Republican to vote against the re-election of House Speaker David Ralston, Jan. 14. Ralston represents District 7, encompassing parts of Dawson County, Fannin County, and Gilmer County, and has served as Speaker of the House since 2010.
“The Speaker’s role is that of a facilitator, to ensure the legislative process is respected,” Gurtler stated, “While I understand the power dynamic that is politics, to say that we need to raise our standards is an understatement. If one individual controls the entire process, does that not undo the framework our government was founded on? A representative government with limited, delegated powers, derived from the people. This applies within the legislative bodies and between the legislative bodies – separation of powers.”
Notably, Gurtler and Ralston butted heads during the 2018 primary election cycle, with Ralston openly supporting Gurtler’s challenger. Despite opposition from state leaders, Gurler was re-elected to serve a second-term representing the citizens of District 8. “As always, my votes are based on principle, merit, and policy, and I simply cannot approve of this type of dictatorial rule,” Gurtler explained,” I’ve seen it and experienced it firsthand. This isn’t surprising. It’s the reality and product of big government, and it’s a big reason why people hate politics. For those reasons, we must take a stand, and that is why I voted against Representative Ralston as I enter my second term, even though I gave him the benefit of the doubt the first time.”
In addition to Gurtler, nine Democratic House members opposed the re-election of Speaker Ralston, with Ralston securing the role with 170 favorable votes.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet, attracting more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties, as well as Clay and Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week, reaching between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – District 8 House Representative Matt Gurtler returned to Atlanta last week to serve his second-term as a state legislator, continuing to push for House Bill 2, also known as Constitutional Carry, an edict which would make the Georgia Weapons License (GWL) optional for law-abiding Georgia residents.
Gurtler believes that with the help of newly-elected Governor Brian Kemp, a Second Amendment proponent who has shown support for Constitutional Carry in the past, that Georgia can join the list of numerous states who have passed bills in favor of the measure.
“If you would still like to get your GWL you can still do so and have reciprocity with other states. This bill, in effect, will keep Georgians from having to pay a tax on a right that is given to them by the Second Amendment,” Gurtler explained, “On Thursday morning, I, along with Colton Moore from District 1, spoke about our continued need for support and signatures from fellow House members to help push this bill along.”
Furthermore, Gurtler plans to meet with Governor Kemp in coming weeks to discuss House Bill 4, a plan to itemize divisions within the state budget. “This bill would divide our budgeting process into 49 separate departments, making both the House and the Senate responsible for voting on each individual department in order to make any changes,” Gurtler stated.
Representative Gurtler affirms that he will continue to relay information to District 8 residents.
“I want to continue to be as accessible and transparent with (the citizens) as I possibly can. This includes access to myself, information regarding each of my votes, and an explanation of why I voted Yes or No on any particular bill,” Gurtler confirmed.
Legislative Day 5 convenes at 10:00 am, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Local State House Represenative Matt Gurtler plans to reintroduce his departmental budget bill in Atlanta, pressing for an accountable budget process to curb what he considers imprudent spending, by stipulating that each of the 49 government agencies involved should function on their own respective merits.
“With so much at stake, we must always be conservative with our money and the budget is the heart of where wasteful spending lies,” Gurtler explained, “Currently, Georgia’s budget process is much like what we see in Washington D.C. with an omnibus budget where everything is lumped together, and members are pressured to vote ‘yes’ regardless of all the bad subsidies or handouts in the budget. My department budget bill is the common sense solution to bring real conservative change to Georgia’s tax and spending problem.”
In addition, Gurtler asserted his view on government policies, stating that American values and principles are compromised as a result of the growing size, scope, and intrusiveness of government. “Not enough statesmen are saying ‘no’ to the federal government when we have the perfect right to refuse big goverment polices,” Gurtler expressed, “The 13 states, through a constitutional convention, came together and created the federal government, and delegated how the government should operate in a free society. A Constitutional Republic with democratically elected leaders was the platform. A Republic was the solution, ‘if we can keep it’ as Benjamin Franklin stated at the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Not a monarchy, not a theocracy, not a democracy, but a republic of law and order. Since the states created the United States, their powers supercede that of the federal government, and they made sure to codify this arrangement in our tenth amendment in regard to reserved powers.”
In reference to upcoming speaking engagements at the Young Americans for Liberty National Convention, and before the National Liberty Coalition in Washington D.C., Gurtler says he looks forward to sharing his values and principles with like-minded patriots, and discussing the obstacles conquered during his recent re-election campaign. State leaders heavily funded and heartily rallied for Gurtler’s challenger in a foiled attempt to oust the ultra-conservative representative from District 8.
“Our election gained national attention, and now it’s becoming a national case study of how and what the establishment will do in the hopes of defeating real conservatives,” Gurtler stated, “I couldn’t be more proud of our community for standing beside me, and it just shows what kind of politician the people are seeking to represent them.”
Gurtler represents the citizens of Towns, Rabun, Union, and White County at the State Capitol.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – A month has passed since Georgia State House Representative Matt Gurtler was reelected to serve a second term, and Gurtler says a “no nonsense, limited government, conservative message” was heard “loud and clear.”
State House District 8 – which is composed of Towns, Rabuns, Union, and White Counties – received the highest voter turnout in Georgia during the 2018 General Primary, with nearly ten thousand ballots cast. The 29-year-old contractor from Tiger, Georgia, retained his seat under the Gold Dome, earning 60 percent of the vote on May 22, 2018.
In what the Republican representative referred to as an “historic election,” Gurtler reiterated that prior to this year’s primary, it was unprecedented for a sitting governor or state speaker to actively campaign against an incumbent within their own party. Gurtler’s challenger was heavily funded, and rally-endorsed by state-level GOP leadership.
“The entrenched, big government, establishment politicians showed their true colors, and opposition to real conservatives,” Gurtler expressed, “They don’t want limited conservative conservatives at the State Capitol, and will oust dissenters who question the process and their crony capitalist agendas.”
Gurtler went on to say that by exercising independent legislative judgement, and adhering to what he considers the true principles of the Republican Party, political opposition outside of the district ensued. “There is a swamp in Atlanta too, and they are afraid of losing their power, and of anyone who says no,” Gurtler claims, “Because I stand for limited government, less taxes, fiscal responsibility, individual liberty, and free markets, I threaten the establishment.
“For the last two years, I’ve stood up to the establishment, even when it had a political cost, or public perception was counter-intuitive,” Gurtler continued, “Our no nonsense, limited government, conservative message has been heard loud and clear in this election, and I will continue to lead by example, and be the conscience of the party.”
The representative says that in the coming months, he will draft and perfect previously-introduced legislation, and continue to push forth House Bill 156, Constitutional Carry, which was initially introduced by Gurtler in early 2017. “Fifteen states have passed Constitutional Carry, and I will be working hard to ensure it passes this coming session, and with the new governor’s help, we have a real chance to have Constitutional Carry in Georgia next year,” Gurtler explained, “Constitutional Carry will make the Georgia Licence Permit optional for law-abiding citizens. We shouldn’t have to pay the government, or be treated like a criminal in order to exercise a natural right.”
Gurtler states he plans to hold a series of local town hall meetings prior to the commencement of the 2019 legislative session.
“The people simply want honest politicians, and government to get out of their lives,” Gurtler asserted, “They want people to call out the establishment, call out the corruption, the waste, and the handouts. For far too long, politicians have been counting on you to not pay attention, but as Thomas Jefferson said, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.’ We must always be fighting, and that is the charge I will continue to take at the Capitol these next two years.”
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – FetchYourNews (FYN) announces Matt Gurtler as victor of state House District 8.
District 8 encompasses Towns, Rabun, Union, and a portion of White County in northeast Georgia.
Representative Gurtler was elected in District 8 in 2016 and will return to the state House to serve another term.
FYN is awaiting a statement from the representative.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – As the May 22 General Primary election draws near, state House District 8 challenger Mickey Cummings has launched what his opponent, Representative Matt Gurtler, described as a “smear campaign” by resorting to a barrage of published political attacks geared toward the incumbent’s voting record.
At a public speaking engagement April 27 in Hiawassee, Cummings said he had no intention of running a negative campaign.
In a paid advertisement, Cummings claims that Gurtler has “voted against our kids,” while asking, “Don’t our children deserve better?”
Cummings included Gurtler’s voting history, listing “no” to school safety funding, “no” to better training for school resource officers, and “no” to hundreds of thousands of dollars for our local schools.
Gurtler explained that the issues Cummings has chosen to highlight were lumped together within the “all-or-nothing” $26 billion state budget, which Gurtler has repeatedly described as “omnibus, riddled with subsidies, and wasteful spending.”
Gurtler believes the budget should be divided and departmentalized, with separate votes cast for each sector.
Gurtler says Cummings is cherry-picking segments embedded within the bloated budget, hoping to solicit an emotional response from voters.
“What you are seeing are typical establishment tactics, a blanket attack,” Gurtler told FetchYourNews (FYN). “This election is between me and the establishment. It shows just how deep the swamp goes. They don’t want a dissenting voice in the House. They want an ask-no-questions, yes-man.”
State House leaders, including House Speaker David Ralston, have poured a total of $13,700 into Cummings’ campaign thus far, with Cummings recently announcing a political rally scheduled for May 16, at the Union County Farmers Market, with sitting Governor Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston in attendance.
While negative campaigning is often considered “politics as usual,” it is unprecedented for an acting governor to endorse the opponent of an incumbent within his or her own party.
Time will tell whether Governor Deal’s decision to campaign for Cummings hinders or favors Gurtler’s re-election odds.
Cummings did not return FYN’s request for comment on campaign contributions, nor the upcoming rally.
A debate between the state House candidates will be aired live on FYNTV.com Tuesday, May 14, at 9 a.m.
FYN Chief Executive Officer Brian Pritchard will moderate the state House District 8 debate.
Count on continuing coverage as Election Day approaches.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Local State House challenger Mickey Cummings made an appearance at Sundance Grill Friday, April 27, 2018, at the Mountain Movers & Shakers forum. While Cummings never mentioned his opponent, Representative Matt Gurtler, by name, insinuation was apparent.
“I believe that public embarrassment and hostility toward our leaders is the wrong approach. Sooner or later, we’re going to need those people to help us to solve our issues and our problems,” Cummings professed. “I don’t believe we should ever burn a bridge unless we absolutely have to.”
Matt Gurtler was elected to the Georgia State House in 2016, and throughout his first-term while representing District 8 – which includes Towns, Union, Rabun, and portions of White County – Gurtler maintained a reputation of boldly challenging the status quo in the minds of his supporters.
The self-professed, ultra-conservative incumbent – a steadfast proponent of limited government, and a stickler for what he considers responsible spending – has proven to be a thorn in the side of leadership, voting against the State House at a rate of 39 percent.
Cummings, who currently holds office as Chairman of Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation (BRMEMC), believes other avenues of negotiation should be explored “before you drop the bomb.”
Candidate Cummings briefly described his method of approach, using a conflict between BRMEMC and another unnamed electric co-op as an example: “We talked about it, and talked about it, and nothing ever happened. We called out the gentleman publicly, and we got what we wanted.”
In addition, Chairman Cummings spoke of the success of BRMEMC, stating that equity has increased by 3 percent since serving on the Board of Directors, at a spike of 1 percent per year.
“That’s unheard of in the electric co-op business to do that much,” said Cummings.
“Our Board has also improved transparency by opening board meetings to our membership. We’ve also become more responsive to our members and their needs,” Cummings stated.
FetchYourNews (FYN) attended the initial BRMEMC session, held Nov. 6, 2017, and reported the requirements for public attendance.
“I’m not a politician. I never planned to be,” Cummings said. “I believe the office should seek the candidate, and with people across the district asking me to run, to provide the leadership they deserve, I felt called to do so.”
Cummings spent 33 years as a county agent, 26 of which were spent in the mountains “working with farmers and saving the lives of youth through 4-H.”
“I’ve also helped to develop our farmer’s market that has helped to revive our vegetable industry, not only in Union County, but in Towns County as well. In 1990, we had roughly 30-to-35 growers in our county, growing specific vegetables,” Cummings explained. “By 2000, that number had decreased to five. Because of this decline was the death of older farmers, and their heirs found out that they could sell their property, develop the land, and make much more money than they could in farming.”
The creation of the Union County Farmers Market has allowed growers to profit locally, rather than venturing elsewhere to sell the fruits of their labor.
Along with continued support of agriculture, Cummings listed the establishment of widespread rural broadband internet access as a top issue he hopes to tackle if elected to represent District 8.
When the candidate was asked his position on the Second Amendment by a voter, Cummings divulged that he supports the right to bear arms, noting a history of gunsmiths in his ancestral lineage.
Incumbent Matt Gurtler is scheduled to address the Mountain Movers & Shakers in Hiawassee Friday, May 4.
Early voting begins Monday, April 30, with the primary election taking place May 22, 2018.
Count on FYN for continued coverage of District 8 State House race as the election approaches.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com