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Here's what District 7 candidate Renee Unterman told a Forsyth County Tea Party meeting
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State Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) speaks during a meeting of the Forsyth County Tea Party on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. Unterman is part of a crowded field running to place U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall in Georgia's 7th Congressional District. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

This week, members of the Forsyth County Tea Party had a chance to hear from a few Republican candidates for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District, headlined by state Sen. Renee Unterman.

Unterman was the main speaker at the Tea Party’s meeting on Monday, where she spoke about her background, her legislative priorities and some of her accomplishments while in office, notably House Bill 481, known as the Living Infants Fairness Equality (LIFE) Act commonly called the “heartbeat bill.”

The bill, signed into law this summer by Gov. Brian Kemp, would outlaw abortion “at the point when a detectable human heartbeat exists,” which is “as early as six weeks,” and provides “that natural persons include an unborn child.” The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Unterman and is currently facing a legal challenge, which she said could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“That bill is going through the appellate court and eventually will end up at the Supreme Court,” she said. “We feel good about it because we put the issue of personhood in that bill and defined it very well, and we think it will pass constitutional muster.”

Unterman has been long-involved with politics in neighboring Gwinnett County, previously serving as mayor of Loganville, as a county commissioner and representing the county in both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly.

She said has also worked to combat sex trafficking, the opioid epidemic and illegal immigration.

Though she brought up what she has done in the past, Unterman also touched on what she plans to do if she is elected to the District 7 seat next November.

Unterman said she would continue fighting for conservative causes in Washington, D.C., including pushing back against impeachment efforts against President Donald Trump, preserving the Second Amendment and helping more funds come to the district for transportation needs by changing congressional balancing, the practice of each district in Georgia getting an equal amount of funding.

“Unfortunately, in these congressional districts, they get appropriated the same amount of money,” she said. “It’s not based on need. It’s not based on sitting on [Ga.] 400 and sitting in stop-and-go traffic for hours and hours. It’s not based on I-85. It’s not based on Spaghetti Junction.”

Given her longtime involvement in state politics, Unterman is considered a frontrunner for the Republican nomination, and according to the Federal Election Commission has raised a total of more than $805,000, with about $600,000 of that total coming from a self-loan.

Unterman is one of several Republicans running for the seat, and will face businessman Eugene Yu, physician Rich McCormick, former Home Depot executive Lynne Homrich, former Atlanta Falcons player Joe Profit, Air Force veteran Ben Bullock, businessman Mark Gonsalves, co-founder of the Conservative Diversity Alliance Jacqueline Tseng, former education executive Lerah Lee and former college professor Lisa Noel Babbage.

Along with Unterman, McCormick and Gonsalves also spoke at the meeting and Yu was in attendance.

Gonsalves announced that he would be hosting a 30-minute TV program next month to discuss his campaign. He said more information will soon be available online and through social media.

“It’s regarding the issues that are most important to me and how we should go about fixing them,” Gonsalves said.

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Businessman Mark Gonsalves speaks during a meeting of the Forsyth County Tea Party on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. Gonsalves is part of a crowded field running to place U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall in Georgia's 7th Congressional District. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

McCormick said voters will have a big choice to make in the race with several candidates that have similar beliefs and agree on issues.

“I know those are going to confuse some of the people who are trying to figure out who is the most genuine, who has the best chance of winning, who has the best background, the best expertise,” he said. “That’s where the research comes in, and that’s where you guys are the experts, because frankly most people don’t do their research and most people don’t know who they’re going to vote for until they show up and see an R or D. But you people are involved with the primaries.”

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Physician Rich McCormick speaks during a meeting of the Forsyth County Tea Party on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. McCormick is part of a crowded field running to place U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall in Georgia's 7th Congressional District. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

Also speaking at the meeting was District 24 state Rep. Sheri Gilligan, who encouraged voters to get informed and find a candidate during the primary.

“Every single one of those people need help getting the word out, getting their message out,” Gilligan said. “I don’t care who you like, like somebody enough to sign up and help them. I’m not endorsing, I’m telling you, figure out who you like and work on the campaign.”

Democrats are also heavily targeting the 7th District, which incumbent Rep. Rob Woodall won by about 400 votes in 2018 over Democratic challenger Carolyn Bourdeaux.

The Democrats also have a packed field, with Bourdeaux running again in 2020, along with other Democratic hopefuls in District 99 state Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero, activist Nabilah Islam, former Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves, District 48 state Sen. Zahra Karinshak and Rashid Malik, who ran for the seat in 2016.