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Businessman Mark Gonsalves seeks congressional seat
Mark Gonsalves
Mark Gonsalves

As the number of candidates seeking the seat for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District climbs, Republican candidate Mark Gonsalves is hoping to separate himself from the pack.

Gonsalves, a businessman and entrepreneur, is one of nine candidates vying to become the Republican nominee for the seat after incumbent Rep. Rob Woodall announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election for the seat he’s held since 2011.

Gonsalves is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and has worked as a real estate investor in the United States and Mexico, CEO of the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head, South Carolina, directed the acquisition of Nature’s Brands Inc., and other ventures.

Healthcare and associated costs are expected to be one of the big topics of discussion in the race, and Gonsalves said those topics were often talked about “in terms of repeal and replace, single-payer, Medicare, Medicaid. I disagree with all of that conversation.”

Instead, Gonsalves said he wants to see more pricing transparency in healthcare, which he said would open the free market, and increased information for customers about healthcare outcomes between hospitals.

“As soon as we create that environment, what will happen is it will create competition, which we know will drive prices down and will improve the quality of the services we get. It’s a huge win for our citizenry,” he said.

Gonsalves also favors restoring fiscal discipline and reducing the national debt, containing Chinese threats to the country, protecting gun rights and enforcing border security. 

The high-profile race has been receiving national attention after Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Lawrenceville) defeated Democratic challenger Carolyn Boudreaux in 2018 by less than 500 votes in a historically conservative stronghold.

Gonsalves will be up against longtime state Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), former Home Depot executive Lynne Homrich, former Atlanta Falcons player Joe Profit, Air Force veteran Ben Bullock, physician Rich McCormick, co-founder of the Conservative Diversity Alliance Jacqueline Tseng, former education executive Lerah Lee and former college professor Lisa Noel Babbage.

“The 7th District, I think, will be a very exciting race to watch unfold,” Gonsalves said. “We have a number of candidates that are vying for the post, and I think, from a policy perspective, as time goes on hopefully the other candidates will speak more fully to policy and we’ll be able to fully debate as a group of candidates prior to our primary coming up in May so people can make an informed decision.”

On the Democratic side, Bourdeaux is running again in 2020, along with other Democratic hopefuls in state Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero (D-99), activist Nabilah Islam, attorney Marqus Cole and former Fulton County Commission chairman John Eaves.

Parties will select their candidates in primaries next May before the November election. 

Gonsalves is married to wife Donna, and the pair has a daughter, Taylor, who attends the University of Alabama.

More information on Gonsalves is available at