ENDORSEMENTS: Senate District 18 seat

May 4, 2014 

One of the most contentious races this primary season is for the state Senate District 18 seat, held by Cecil Staton who is retiring. District 18 includes Crawford, Monroe, Peach and Upson counties and parts of Bibb and Houston counties. There is no Democratic opposition in this race so the primary winner will be the new senator.

Spencer Price, who narrowly lost to Staton two years ago, is running again. This time his primary opponent is John F. Kennedy. Price is a doctor who has a compelling story. Born of modest roots, he’s risen to the medical profession. Along the way he’s served in our military forces. As we noted in our endorsement two years ago, Price was to the far right of Staton.

It seems odd associating an easily recognizable name like Kennedy with the Republican Party, but this Kennedy, while having the same easy manner as the 35th president, wasn’t brought up in Massachusetts, but rather in Adrian.

Kennedy is the managing partner and CEO of the law firm James-Bates-Brannan-Groover LLP, where he manages the firm that has 45 lawyers in offices in Atlanta and Macon while specializing in complex commercial litigation, business transactions and business disputes.

Both men are impressive on the surface. However, Price’s past and continuing brushes with the Internal Revenue Service in the form of tax liens on income and payroll taxes and lawsuits give us great pause.

While he has attributed those financial difficulties to the loss of his child in the early 2000s, the time frames and circumstances are suspect. Some of the IRS problems were just cleared up last year, and The Medical Center of Central Georgia sued him for the substantial sum of $238,000 in 2006 for his failure to set up, as promised, a medical practice in Taylor County. The Medical Center has had to resort to garnishing his wages.

Kennedy, on the other hand, is just the opposite. He’s been appointed by the courts around the state as a court receiver charged to manage businesses and protect their assets. His partners have placed their trust in him to manage the firm and keep it financially solvent.

Don’t expect a bomb thrower, but rather a well-prepared legislator. He’s already had sit-down meetings with the governor, lieutenant governor and the president pro-tem of the Senate. Kennedy plans to meet with all the local government officials before he takes his oath of office in January. He describes his job as being the interface between local government needs and state government resources.

We endorse John F. Kennedy.

Citizen Advisory Board: Gene Strouss, Gigi Cabell, Leroy Mack, Bill Curry, Amy Elton, Philip Lengel. Editorial Board: Don Bailey, Charles E. Richardson.

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