By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Gingrich rallies Republican faithful
Former speaker energizes crowd during convention
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich addresses attendees of the Georgia 9th District Republican Party convention at the Lanier Tech Conference Center. - photo by Autumn McBride

In what was once a blue state, red has taken hold in Georgia.

Newt Gingrich, a former Georgia representative, knows the transformation all too well.

He ran for office three times to first secure his 20-year spot in Congress.

At the 9th District Republican Party's annual convention in his former home state, Gingrich encouraged Georgia party members to make a commitment.

"Let's do for America what we did in Georgia," Gingrich said. "Let's replace Democrats in every level we can."

The former U.S. Speaker of the House addressed a group of hundreds of 9th District Republicans on Saturday at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center.

That space filled with cheers and applause as Gingrich, a potential presidential candidate for 2012, shared his vision for America.

He said the best slogan to sum up the next several years in America should be "2 plus 2 equals 4," symbolizing simply that facts shouldn't be argued with and facts should shape simple policies.

Gingrich addressed three broad areas that the nation needs to focus on changing policy: the idea of "American exceptionalism," jobs and the economy, and foreign policy and national security.

The starting point of America's exceptionalism, he said, comes from our Founding Fathers' beliefs that power is given by the Creator and belongs to the people.

"You then loan power to the state," Gingrich said.

"The state does not loan power to you."

The current administration of President Barack Obama has it backward, he said, and needs to put its faith in the American workers.

That, in turn, wrapped into Gingrich's ideas to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

Obama's bad policies, he said, have put more Americans on food stamps than any other president.

"I'd like to have an administration that is the most successful at job creating in history," he said.

He pointed to the 1981 tax cuts, which passed shortly after he entered office, as a successful method.

Gingrich suggested keeping the current tax cuts permanent and matching low corporate tax rates of other global leaders to bring businesses home.

Reducing unemployment, Gingrich added, is "the biggest single step in balancing the budget" since people come off of government assistance and begin paying their taxes.

When it comes to foreign policy, Gingrich began by saying simply, "We should have one."

"I think the next Republican president will have a sound American national security policy, a sound homeland security policy, starting with controlling the border, a sound American foreign policy based on American interests and protecting the United States and its allies around the world, not based on trying to get dictators to love us," he said.

Gingrich concluded by encouraging Republicans to spread the word.

"I believe we could have in 2012 one of the great historic elections in American history," he said.

"The American people, given these choices, are going to defeat the left on a scale we have not seen in our lifetime and that will be good for America."

Republicans are searching for the presidential candidate for the 2012 election to bring the party's values to the Capitol.

"We need a presidential candidate ... that can help change the government from the ‘hope and change' that left me hoping for change in my pockets," said Doug Grammer, 9th District Republican Party chairman, alluding to Obama's campaign slogans.

Grammer said Republicans at the convention dinner on Friday voted Gingrich as their top choice for the presidency during a straw poll.

Gringrich has not officially thrown his hat in the ring, but did launch a fundraising committee, "Newt Explore," in March to consider a run for the Republican presidential nomination.

His stop in Forsyth County on Saturday was the first of three planned in Georgia.

The 9th District convention was held in Forsyth County for the first time, since the new venue, which opened in October, gave a space large enough to host the convention, said Ethan Underwood, chairman of the Forsyth County Republican Party.

"We're just really pleased that everyone's here in Forsyth County," Underwood said. "Hopefully, it won't be the last event that we have."

Underwood said he felt Gingrich was "spot on" during his half-hour speech.

"I think he's one of the leading contenders because he can concisely espouse the Republican philosophy," he said.