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Dr. Bob Johnson is forthright about his lack of prior political office.
It’s that perspective away from Washington, D.C., however, along with his own experience from 26 years in the Army and his conservative beliefs that he says make him the right choice to confront misguided leadership in the nation’s capital.
The Savannah physician and Republican hopeful for the First District Congressional seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) visited Blackshear Monday on the campaign trail. The seat will come open next year following Kingston’s decision to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Saxby Chambliss.
Johnson describes himself as a fiscal and social conservative. He criticizes federal government for becoming too big, fiscally irresponsible and overreaching in policy, particularly with the Obamacare healthcare reform.
The head and neck surgeon describes Washington lawmakers as being out of touch with the rest of the country.
Johnson says he will represent the entire district, including rural small towns. He says a few locals he spoke with at Carter’s Fried Chicken asked him to remember Blackshear if he’s elected. The retired Army Ranger and military doctor insists he will be responsive to constituents.
“My heart is with everyday people.”
Johnson also reiterates his stance as being pro-life for both religious and medical reasons.
The candidate also sees immigration and border control as a priority. He says the federal government has failed in its responsibility to attend to the issue and has let it worsen.
Johnson says agriculture workers immigrating legally for work are not the problem, but instead it comes down to government failure to manage undocumented immigration.
He says his work internationally and with federal law enforcement agents taught him about the danger of porous borders. Johnson says agents told him members of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah are learning Spanish and attempting to enter the country under the guise of immigrants from nearby countries.
Johnson says the current immigration system makes it difficult for those with needed skills, such as doctors, to quickly gain passage into the country.
While “conservative” is a term claimed by many running for office in South Georgia, Johnson says he is separated from the pack because he is not a career politician. Nor does he want to become one.
Johnson says he wants to be a “citizen legislator.” He plans to serve less than a decade, perhaps three or four two-year terms before stepping away from politics. He believes staying in Washington too long erodes some lawmakers ability to serve.
“They get up there and get intoxicated by the power,” Johnson says.
And that can lead to fiscal excess and irresponsibility that he says will ultimately hurt the country.
“We really need fresh blood.”