Phillip Singleton, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson for Georgia's District 3 congressional seat spoke in Carrollton on Monday, talking with residents about issues ranging from gun violence to the federal budget. District 3 includes several counties in west Georgia, including Carroll, Heard, Coweta, Troup, Meriwether, Harris, Fayette and Muscogee.
The Democratic candidates in the 3rd District race are Chuck Enderlin and Rusty Oliver.
Singleton is an Army veteran and Fayetteville, Georgia, native, is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson. Running on a grassroots campaign, Singleton said he wants
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to serve for a short period of time and said he will not take PAC money to support his campaign. He toured Carroll County on Monday, and met withlocal officials throughout the day.
"I'm outspoken and I don't care about getting reelected, I care about the people," Singleton said. "As long as the people get involved, the money and name recognition don't matter otherwise."
Just nine days after 9/11, Singleton was commissioned in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant and rose to the rank of major. During his tenure in the military, he completed one tour in Iraq, two tours in Afghanistan and received two Bronze Star medals and five Air Medals for his combat actions.
He also holds two Master's degrees, one in aeronautical science from the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and one in international relations from Webster University, and a Top Secret Clearance. While in the military, he was certified as a Joint and Strategic Planner.
"Congress's first constitutional responsibility is to pass a budget," Singleton's website says. "As your congressman, I will fight for an annual, balanced and conservative budget. Drew Ferguson voted 'yes' to the largest government spending increase in modern history while telling us at home he was a fiscal conservative. I will actually do what I say and stop this runaway government growth."
Sierra Leone, a resident of Carroll County, asked Singleton about his views on the omnibus budget bill that was passed by Congress in March.
"Opponents of the bill cannot risk being called unpatriotic," Singleton said. "Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said increasing the deficit is the single worst thing we can do to national security."
Singleton said he supports defunding Planned Parenthood, protecting the right to life, adding that his role in the military involves ending lives to defend it.
On the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy, Singleton said he supports legal immigration and wants to fight illegal immigration by "correcting the flow of illegal immigrants," according to his website. He addressed helping a fellow soldier from Micronesia become a full U.S. citizen, a process that took seven years.
"There are 700,000 illegal immigrants here and DACA became an executive order instead of being approved by Congress," Singleton said. "I'm not opposed to DACA, and when it comes to Trump, aside from all the noise, he is interested in the right procedures. The illegal immigration system needs to be fixed before we can start on how to fight for legal immigration."
Leone asked Singleton about how he plans to unify politicians on both sides, saying there is "too much noise and misinformation" within Congress.
"Why do we have Congress people not putting their foot down? Where are representatives who have the wherewithal to stop it?" Leone asked.
Singleton's wife Julie said it would take someone who is not afraid to bring people together, stating it would also take "someone to lead the charge." She cited her husband's experience in the Army and said he has done this during his time in the military. The couple has four children, ages 7 to 14.
"It's something we can't fix right away, as there's so much disunity," Philip Singleton said. "Everyone is focused on gun violence right now, and I don't think it's gun violence so much as it is an erosion of our moral ground. It has a lot to do with our culture as well, as legislation follows society instead of spending time and energy to get the correct result."
Singleton also said he is in support of nonprofit organizations, and added he wants to see zero people on welfare.
Leslie McPherson, a member of the Villa Rica City Council, asked Singleton about his stance on the amount of legislation going through the federal government, saying some members of Congress "pass legislation just to say they did."
"Congress needs to do their job as it is said in Article 1 of the Constitution," Singleton said. "There also needs to be less government, not more, and Congress needs people who are not afraid to say there is waste and inefficiency in our government."
Singleton said he would like to be a part of the Article 1 Project, an effort initiated by a network of House and Senate representatives including Georgia Congressman Barry Loudermilk, to focus on reclaiming legislative powers drafted in the Constitution.
On his opponent, Singleton said he has tried to debate Ferguson but has been unable to due to the incumbent being a no-show at several debates. He added Ferguson has not held any forums for residents of the district.
"He hasn't shown up at any forums or town halls," Singleton said. "If you don't show up for the job interview, you won't get the job, so he should be ineligible for election."
Voters will have the opportunity to vote during the May 22 primary.