GAINESVILLE — Republican Bernard Fontaine has qualified for the U.S. House of Representatives 9th District race.
Fontaine will challenge incumbent Doug Collins of Gainesville in the Republican primary May 20. The district covers 17 counties and parts of three others, including north Forsyth.
“The federal government is an out-of-control freight train,” said Fontaine, explaining his reason for running. “The president is taking over and Congress is inert. Obviously, things have to change.”
Fontaine, a resident of Suches in Union County, is a Vietnam veteran who retired from the military in 1990 as a brigadier general.
He currently serves with the Georgia State Defense Force as an adviser for search and rescue operations. He also is a firefighter in Union County and a Community Emergency Response Team instructor.
Fontaine has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in business from Brenau University. He previously taught political science at DeKalb College and Georgia Military College.
“I have a long record of thinking outside the box and getting things done,” Fontaine said. “I am not your typical political operator. My presence will be felt here and in Washington.”
Fontaine said the core issues his campaign will focus on are improving the local and national economy, addressing the nation’s debt and reeling in the powers of the executive branch.
“I am short on idle promises and soaring rhetoric,” Fontaine said. “I prefer straight answers and rock-solid logic. I will not be intimidated by politicians and like so many of our people. I am totally disgusted by the lack of leadership.”
Fontaine said he would be running a grass-roots campaign, knocking on doors and employing family members to help get out the vote.
“I don’t intend to sling any mud,” he said. “I am running against the status quo, not against [Collins] personally. I think our congressional delegation has gotten little or nothing done.”
Fontaine is married with four grown children and 12 grandchildren. He is a deacon at his church.