In this series, we will preview what you need to know about the local contested races, constitutional amendments and special election questions on your Nov. 8 ballot. This week, we look at the District 22 state House race.
WEST FORSYTH -- Forsyth County’s only contested election for the state House of Representatives is happening in west Forsyth.
The race for the state House District 22 seat is between incumbent Republican Wes Cantrell, who won the office in 2014, and Democratic challenger Oscar “Ashgar” Hajloo.
Of the five districts that extend into Forsyth, District 22 is one of the smaller ones, with the majority covering neighboring Cherokee County, where both candidates live. The district covers a portion of southwest Forsyth.
Wes Cantrell (I), Republican
WHO HE IS
Cantrell, a founder of The King’s Academy in Woodstock — a hybrid school that students attend two days a week while being home-schooled the other three — said he has a lot of good to look back on from his first term.
HIS TAKE ON HIS FIRST TERM
“I felt like I was able to make a real difference in my first term. I was able to pass three pieces of legislation that I authored and support a lot of other good pieces of legislation, so I felt like I was able to make a difference. The whole point in going down there was not to make a point, but to make a difference,” Cantrell said.
He said bills for parents with special needs children and a child abuse records protection were among those of which he is proud.
HIS PLATFORM FOR A SECOND TERM
“Several things we’re looking at, one would be a bill to address the rising cost of tuition in our state,” Cantrell said. “Also, I’m a big school choice guy … [former District 24 state Rep.] Mark Hamilton introduced a bill before he retired on [an] education savings account, so expanding school choice since not every child performs best in a traditional classroom setting.”
He said campaigning has also been easier this time around since he has some experience under his belt.
“This time around, having people know you, being around in the community, it’s just a huge advantage,” Cantrell said, “especially if people have kept up and they’ve seen my voting record and how it reflects the values of our community.”
Oscar “Ashgar” Hajloo, Democrat
WHO HE IS
This is his first attempt at running for public office in Georgia, where he has lived for about the last four years after spending about 30 in Colorado. He moved to the U.S. from Iran in 1979 and is a practicing Muslim, which he said is often viewed negatively.
“Cherokee County, I don’t think there are very many minorities from the Middle East or Muslims,” he said. “A lot of politicians try to scare people just for a vote, and they trash all the Muslims in the United States. It wasn’t easy for us to come to the United States, and we did.”
CAUSES HE SUPPORTS
He said he supports the LGBT-community and believes the government exists to represent the people instead of those with the most money.
“When you’re voting, these people, they work for you. You sign their paycheck,” Hajloo said. “Keep them accountable and let them know what is the city, but the people [who live in it].”
In addition to social issues, Hajloo favors smart growth, attracting new technology jobs to the area and expanding light rail that would connect to Atlanta.
“Let’s put a light rail next to the highway,” he said. “The ones that are driving, that sit there, give them an incentive: put Wi-Fi in it — the first year it’s free. People will not move their car because they are saving on gas, changing oil, tires [and] alignment.”