The responses to these questions were edited for length and clarity by the Georgia Decides team. Each candidate was allotted 150 words for each answer and some answers were trimmed in order to abide by that length requirement. Other edits were made to make sure readers can fully follow and understand the candidate responses.
(Note: After the 2020 election, Burt Jones was among a slate of phony GOP electors who worked to help Donald Trump’s failed effort to overturn Georgia’s legitimate election results.)
Campaigning for: Lieutenant Governor
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
I come from the perspective that government should always be run like a business. Whether it’s balancing our budget, keeping taxes and costs low, maximizing efficiencies and delivering results, we have to understand that government should work for the people — not the other way around. At the same time, we also must make government responsive to the needs of its citizens. In the state Senate, I’ve been able to do just that for the constituents I’ve been privileged to represent. From breaking ground on two new rural hospitals to the creation of eight college and career academies, to passing Ava’s law, which delivered increased medical coverage for children with autism, I’ve been able to work across the aisle to get things done and deliver for Georgians.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
Unlike my opponent — who has run a negative campaign devoid of any substance — our campaign has a plan that offers real solutions. It’s a plan that builds on our successes, while solving the issues that the Biden administration has created with inflation, crime, supply chain issues and gas prices. I’ll work to eliminate our state income tax to provide across the board relief to Georgia families. I’ll work to create a world class k-12 education system by empowering our parents and teachers to make the best decisions for students as well as increase grants for both vocational and technical education. I also work to rein in the costs of higher education. I’ll stand with our men and women in law enforcement to crack down on violent crime, increase pay and benefits for our first responders, and keep our communities safe.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
Georgia is a diverse, growing state and, as lieutenant governor, I’ll be focused on policies that lift up every person in our state, regardless of their background, religion, color or creed. Eliminating our state income tax puts more money back into the pocket of every Georgian. Creating a world-class education system by empowering our parents and teachers, investing in k-12 education, and lowering the cost of higher education lifts up students in this state. Improving public safety by cracking down on violent crime, standing with our law enforcement to protect our families and communities protects and defends the lives and livelihoods of every person in this state. These are the things we can accomplish working together — and these are the things I’ll be focused on delivering for every single Georgia resident.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
I’d have to say my father, Bill Jones. He was a state representative from 1976 to 1984. I grew up around the political process, and his dedication to public service was evident to me at a young age. I fondly remember our family holding fundraisers for former U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, as well as former Gov. Nathan Deal and others. Faith, family and hard work and a strong sense of public service have always been guiding principles for me, and those were certainly things that my father instilled in me from a young age.
Georgia has a lot to offer current and potential residents, but many parts of the state are becoming increasingly unaffordable. Please explain your proposed approach to address housing affordability through legislation and executive actions?
We’ve got to find ways to lower costs across the board — not just with housing. Tax-and-spend liberal Democrat policies have caused inflation to reach a 40-year high, with prices skyrocketing at the gas station, grocery store and everywhere in between. I was proud to lead the fight in the state Senate to suspend the gas tax this past session. We also were able to pass the largest tax cut in Georgia history to address some of the effects of rising costs. My plan as lieutenant governor is to eliminate the state income tax to put more money back into every Georgia resident’s pocket. When it comes to affordable housing, we’ve also got to ensure we’re reducing as many burdensome regulations as possible, and working with our local and nonprofit partners to find ways to expand access and development so that Georgians can obtain housing at an affordable rate.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
I tell people that I’m easy to work with, but hard to push around. During my time in the state Senate, I’ve had a great relationship with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. I have a track record of working with them to pass legislation that improves the lives of everyone in the state. At the same time, I’ll never waiver from the core principles and values that have shaped who I am as a believer, father, husband and family man. I’ll always do what I believe is the best for the people I’m honored to serve — even if it’s not always the most politically expedient.
There were politicians who questioned the outcomes of Georgia elections in 2018 and 2020. Do you think Georgia’s elections are secure and will you stand by the results?
Despite the lies and smear tactics of my opponent, I’ve been crystal clear on this issue. We have to restore trust, transparency and accountability in our elections. And I believe Senate Bill 202, passed in 2021, was a great first step in that effort by limiting and securing ballot drop boxes, requiring ID for absentee ballots, and creating accountability measures for bad actors. At the same time — contrary to the partisan spin from gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and the Left — we increased access to the ballot box, which is why we saw record turnout this past primary election in May. We now have 17 days of early voting. Simply put, it’s easier to vote and harder to cheat than ever before in Georgia. I believe the 2022 elections will be the most accessible, fair and secure elections in our state’s history, and look forward to the results.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, state law and local enforcement authority will determine access to abortion. If elected, how will you use your authority to influence abortion access or enforcement of abortion restrictions?
As a father and husband, I know how precious the gift of life is — and I’ll always be someone who supports and protects innocent life. But I also understand that in many cases, this is a difficult and personal decision for a woman. While I have fought to protect and celebrate life, I also have supported exceptions in cases of rape, incest, and the well-being of the mother. As lieutenant governor, I’m going to make sure we increase funding and access for our crisis pregnancy centers, foster care system and other programs. This is to make sure we support women during and after a pregnancy, as well as our families across the state.
Under what circumstances would you expand Medicaid in Georgia? What would factor into your decision-making process?
As a small business owner I know what it takes to provide health care to employees — and how important it is to have. Right now, health care is too expensive and, in some cases, inaccessible. As lieutenant governor, I will be focused on increasing access to quality, affordable health care — and I’ve got the track record of doing that in my state Senate district, where we helped start two new rural hospitals. The governor has put forward a common-sense proposal to expand Medicaid with certain work requirements. That’s a plan I supported. Unfortunately, the Biden administration decided to play politics and deny that plan, which would have increased access and lowered costs. I’d also continue to focus on free market solutions to lower costs on health care and prescription drugs, increase access and ensure we have promote health and safety throughout our state.