Every political candidate travels a long road to get into office, but in John Houses case, its not just a metaphor. He has driven 23,000 miles since January, traveling through every county in the newly redrawn 2nd Congressional District.
I have a pretty good appreciation of what the district looks like, House said.
House, a 58-year-old Republican from Midland and a retired U.S. Army colonel, had never run for political office before winning the Republican primary in a runoff with Rick Allen. He now looks to unseat U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., in November.
Im not happy with the way the country is going, House said. We have a rising deficit and weve had no budget for the last three years. The loss of jobs in the district is appalling. ... Im very worried about the America my three grandchildren are going to have.
House said theres too much government regulation thats inhibiting the growth of business, and thus stunting the economy.
Whatever Congressman Bishop has done hasnt worked, House said.
The 2nd District was redrawn earlier this year and includes most of Macon, Columbus and Albany.
If he wins, Macon will be represented by two Republican congressmen, including U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., and two Republican U.S. senators. He said he thinks Republicans will hold the majority in the House of Representatives, and he said he hopes Republicans can take over the White House and the Senate.
Regardless, there has to be compromise between both parties, he said.
Its going to be hard, but weve got to start talking to find solutions, House said. Were not talking right now, and thats not the answer. We have to talk to each other. We cant yell at each other. Somebodys got to try to come up with solutions that we can stand.
That said, House said hes very conservative in his values. Hes a strong proponent of the Second Amendment and opposes abortion in nearly every case, including rape. His only exception is when the life of the mother is medically in danger.
I know (that stance) upsets some people, even upsets some Republicans, but Ive pondered it a lot. I dont know how you can say when (a fetus) is not a human being. Im not that smart. Im not prepared to kill that life.
He said the federal government has too many regulations that cause all sorts of problems for small businesses, ultimately extending the economic downturn. If elected, he said he would meet with the head of any federal agency to try to remove regulations that he thinks are stifling business.
I feel like Ill be (put) in a job where Im an advocate for the district, he said. Im not saying do away with all regulations. Some are definitely needed. But it appears to me that regulations are out of control. ... If they prevent businesses from producing jobs, were never going to get out of the mess with the economy.
On a local level, House said he attended a forum held by Bishop and Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, both Republicans, about potential sequestration -- a measure thats part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which requires the federal government to reduce the budget by $1.2 trillion by Jan. 2, 2013, or face automatic cuts to both the military and non-military budgets.
While House agrees that sequestration would have serious economic repercussions, especially for the 2nd District, he said he hasnt heard anyone offering solutions to avoid it.
The solution is, we have to make spending cuts and get people more jobs, he said. There was no talk of that.
House said his youngest daughter is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army in November. He said hes concerned that Afghanistan doesnt seem to be stable without U.S. involvement. He said he wants to go there and use his experience as a soldier to evaluate the situation.
When we withdraw, will the Afghan people be ready to stand on their own? he said. I believe the Taliban will take it back over, and al-Qaida will rear its ugly head. Well have to be ready. Otherwise, itll be another 9/11 -- not with planes, but some other kind of attack.
House said he thinks its time for new ideas and new blood.
I dont think people should stay in Washington for an extended period, said House, who promises he would only serve a maximum of three terms if elected. When you stay there for 20 years, you lose touch. ... Too many congressmen stay too long. We need to have someone different.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.