Tina Trent, District 26 candidate brings political experience

One of three candidates to for an open Forsyth County legislative seat wants to bring her political experience to the Gold Dome.

Tina Trent, a republican, was one of three candidates to face off in the special election to fill the unexpired term of District 26 state Rep. Geoff Duncan, who stepped down. While she is fairly new to Forsyth County, she is no stranger to Georgia or its politics. 

 “I’ve been looking at positions for a while and state politics is what I know and what I’m good at. So I decided that my husband and I are in a place where I can run and I’m hoping that Forsyth is going to be my home for the rest of my life and I want to make a contribution here.”

Trent, a freelance political writer for Capitol Research Center and America’s Survival, said she previously lobbied for several groups and has lobbied for changes as an individual and now teaches other groups how to lobby lawmakers. 

“I think I bring a deep background of understanding how the General Assembly works and how you get things done down there and keep bad things from happening,” “I am very excited to have a chance to run for the house.”

Previously a Democrat, Trent said she had lobbied for pro-choice groups, feminists and crime victims, which she said was “the reason I’m now pro-life, a social conservative, a practicing Catholic, and a registered Republican.”

Trent moved to Georgia in the late 1980s and lived in Atlanta for about 20 years before moving to Tampa Bay to work with conservative grassroots groups in 2007. She returned to north Georgia in 2012 and became heavily involved with the Lumpkin County Republican Party, where she served on the executive committee. She moved to Forsyth in April 2016. 

While living in Florida she and her husband, Paul Menair, worked for a law office in Dahlonega and both were frequently in the area. 

If elected, Trent would like to take on growth and other issues facing the area.

“Obviously, the priorities for the district will be my priorities, and the priorities for the district deal with how do we cope with and manage smart growth without changing the character and the life that we have here,” she said. “I actually think growth issues are tied to the issues I have the greatest knowledge basis in. For example, education and growth are very, very related. 

Education is a big focus for Trent, who has a PhD and previously taught college courses. She said while many have good intentions, 

“I have very strong feelings about the direction we’re going with with not only high education, but K-12 education,” Trent said. “I think a lot of things people want to do may have good intentioned, but may have outcomes they didn’t want to have. I’ve been a community college teacher, and I’ve looked around my classroom and thought fully 20 percent of the people here need to be in a strictly technical program.” 

She also wants to look into the national companies producing content for school classrooms, and would like to have a study committee look at the claims made by the companies and their lobbyists. 

Trent and her husband recently moved to a home on 15 acres in north Forsyth and plan to start a small scale specialty farm for heirloom tomatoes and flowers. 

She will face off against Republican Marc Morris, a Navy veteran and president of The Talmadge Group, and Steve Smith, a Democrat and retail manager. 

The election will be held on Nov. 7, and in-person absentee voting will begin on Oct. 16. If no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote plus one vote, a runoff election will be held on Dec. 5. 

Voters must register to vote in the election by Oct. 10.