Incumbent Sen. Bill Heath, J.K Rogers and Bill Carruth battled it out on subjects including immigration and gambling in casinos in Georgia.
In terms of immigration, Rogers said the state needed to get together and build a consensus on the matter.
Heath responded with a plan to put immigrants to work.
“Most of them risk their lives to get here. Immigrants take jobs Americans don’t want,” Heath said. “We need guest worker programs, and when they’re done with the program, they don’t need to move from Georgia to Mississippi to Alabama. They need to do the job and go home.”
Carruth said he did not agree with Heath on the issue of guest worker programs.
“We need to get some of these inmates out of these damn prisons to do the crop work,” he said.
On another topic, moderator Jim Galloway asked the candidates whether they would vote to allow Georgians to vote on allowing casino gambling in the state.
Heath took a stance against the vote.
“The laws of this nation were founded on Biblical principles,” said Heath. “I would vote against the lottery if given the chance.”
Carruth said he took a more practical stand on the issue of gambling.
He said he would rather see gambling money be regulated by the government and used for the public than go into the hands of a private owner or company such as what has happened on Native American Indian reservations.
J.K. Rogers, an investigator for the Cobb County Solicitor General’s Office, said he believed the people should be able to vote on the issue.
“I think the people should vote on those things. It should not come from the top down,” he said.
Rogers provided the first closing statement at the debate. He said he believed the answer to stimulating a struggling economy in Paulding County was to recruit residents from across the country to live in the abundance of vacant houses in the county.
“We need to be offensive, not defensive,” he said.
Heath closed by saying he was a “rock-solid conservative” who cared for the community greatly.
“Every vote I cast, I think about what’s best for the community,” he said.
Carruth, former Paulding commission chairman, closed by saying he would fight to eliminate wasteful spending and government regulation.
“We first need to eliminate unnecessary regulations,” he said. “We have to reduce wasteful spending — I have a record of reducing taxes, and I will do it at the state level.”