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Senate hopeful backs education
R.J. Hadley spoke Tuesday at the Forsyth County Democratic Party meeting. - photo by Jennifer Sami
Education, small business and job creation are not mutually exclusive priorities, R.J. Hadley told local Democrats during a recent visit.

The three are intertwined and must be addressed together, beginning with education.

“Without a strong commitment to our education and our future, it’s going to be hard to develop those other two things,” said Hadley, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

“How do we encourage new business? How do we encourage new companies who want to come and take advantage of our labor pool if we’re not showing the commitment to education that we should have.”

Hadley, who will face Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond in the party’s July 20 primary election, spoke at the Forsyth County Democratic Party’s meeting Tuesday.

The winner will advance to face Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson in the Nov. 2 election.

This is Hadley’s first venture into politics, a decision he made because his “voice was not being represented in D.C. and there was no interest in my voice being represented in D.C.”

“I don’t want to be told what can and cannot be done. I believe that you have to stand up ... you’ve got to fight for what it is that you think is right and what it is that you want.”

A New Jersey native, Hadley graduated from Dartmouth in 1991 and entered public service as a juvenile court social worker.

After about four years, he returned to school to study computer science and has since worked as a software developer.

Because he’s not a politician, Hadley said he will represent the people and will “listen to everyone.”

“I’m not going to be afraid to go into a room where people disagree with me, so you may see ... me going and speaking to Tea Partiers and Libertarians and Republicans.

“I want to let them know that you’re going to get from R.J. Hadley what I’m not getting right now. Which is I’ve got a senator that if I don’t go and find where he’s at, he’s not coming to sit here in this Democratic meeting to hear our concerns.”

Party member Sharon Gunter said hearing candidates speak in person gives “a deeper insight of where they’re coming from.”

And she was impressed with Hadley.

“He seems very straightforward and very earnest and he has a wonderful business sense about him,” she said.