Thursday, June 17, 2010

Candidate Profile: Thurbert Baker for Governor

Thurbert Baker was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He received and undergraduate degree in political science from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill before coming to Georgia to attend law school at Emory University. After graduating from Emory, Baker worked as a lawyer in Atlanta on both civil and criminal cases at the state and federal level.

In 1988, Baker was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. After Zell Miller was elected governor in 1990, he became Miller’s floor leader in the house. As floor leader, he was instrumental in passing much of the legislation of the Miller administration. He was known for his role in passing legislation that reduced death row appeals, reformed welfare, and curbed drunk driving. A major legislative accomplishment was Georgia’s “two strikes law.”

In 1997, Zell Miller appointed Baker to fill an unexpired term as Attorney General. Baker’s stated priorities included domestic violence, Medicaid fraud, and consumer fraud. He has been re-elected several times as Georgia’s Attorney General since 1997. Baker is Georgia’s first black Attorney General.

As Attorney General, Baker had Georgia join the historic lawsuit against the tobacco companies. He also began prosecution of fraudulent telemarketers operating in Georgia. He also proposed the denial of parole to certain classes of criminals, which at first was a controversial idea.

In recent months, Baker has been the subject of criticism, and an attempt at impeachment, for his refusal to file a legal challenge to President Obama’s federal health care reform law. Baker stated that he believed the lawsuit had little chance of success and would not be a wise use of the state’s meager resources [ ]. Governor Sonny Perdue appointed a special attorney to handle the lawsuit. Both the lawsuit and the impeachment are still pending.

From his website, here are some of Baker’s positions on prominent issues:

Jobs: Baker would like to attract biotech companies to Georgia with a $175 million dollar investment in facilities, grants, and tax credits. Baker would also create scholarship and student loan forgiveness program to encourage more people to become nurses and help to relieve a looming shortage in Georgia. Baker also wants to create a $50 million deal closing fund to help attract new business to Georgia.

Taxes: Baker would allow new businesses to defer paying taxes for their first two years. After that time, back taxes must be paid.

Education: Other than the scholarship and loan forgiveness program for nurses, Baker’s website makes no mention of education.

Life: Baker’s website makes no mention of life issues or abortion.

Gun Rights: Baker’s website makes no mention of second amendment issues.


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