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My Qualifications

Turner Rentz, III
May 7 · 9 min read
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I am running for the State Senate because I hear the calling of public service, and it is in my soul. To be clear, the call of public service is the idea that together, we can change the arc of history and improve the lives of our fellow beings. I am capable of the responsibilities of office, but also as a State Senator — of re-establishing that office as a higher chamber — and restoring the norms and traditions that give meaning to our democracy, and to make politics something that unites us and government something that responds to us — and separate the two, like church and state. I am running for better oversight, stronger and more complete government response to crisis, and a return to low-stress, productive lifestyle we all enjoyed before this current era of bizarre government and tribal politics.

This is what our founders did. They were men and women many of whom were not not lawyers, and those that were — did not practice. Government wasn’t an end to a means, but something they did as a part of service to their community. Of the founders, 13 of them were merchants. George Washington was a land surveyor before he became a Commander in our Revolutionary Militia. Our state, Georgia was among the first to ratify our Constitution — and like the other founders — they were elected not for wealth or rank so much as the evidence they had already evinced of willingness for public service. This is a good and fair and historic basis of qualification. And let’s be clear: the founding fathers would never have stood for the bizarre behavior of our existing government , both State, Federal and Local. What does it mean, to have a Governor — in the midst of a global pandemic and with our state under dire circumstances — give us a pretzel logic — and patently dishonest claim of having “just discovered Covid19 was asymptomatic transmissible” after the public knew this fact for two months? We are citizens of a state that was one of the first to ratify our Constitution. It was indeed these citizens who powered government then, as rightfully we should now be the first to defend it. I’m running for election in the midst of a crisis. It’s time for our state to have the kind of representation, and responsiveness that our ancestors would have demanded. The ability of citizens to influence public policy is the “bottom line” of democratic government.

Ripped off online? The local sheriff might not be able to help you at all. Write a letter to your senator? People like Loeffler send you back a form mail that doesn’t even respond to your concern. Where our community had men and women in government that stood before the people and heard their concerns — and saw as their highest duty to represent them — our district and our state now shoulders the burden of a Republican dogwhistle politics. What Republicans have really accomplished is under the banner of “ down to business policies” — transform government into a mechanism for sending our income up to, what amounts to both in our state and nation — is effectively — a hidden oligarchy. And let’s be clear: these selfsame unresponsive representatives are responding, just not to us.

And though I am a successful businessman, and a senior engineer and project leader — can we dispense with the idea that being a good businessman is a qualification? A ruthless criminal — running a dark enterprise — is a businessman. Does that mean he’s going to accomplish the will of the people? Public service is a calling. Not a business. And we will, one day — move to public funding of elections. Especially under a President like Biden.

The State Senate is a higher chamber, and its parliamentary rules play a significant role in how it operates — and the type of legislative agenda that can be accomplished. Senators are tested primarily by their ability to forge legislation that rallies other members, sometimes in a bipartisan fashion — around common cause.

As a member of the Student Senate, at Georgia Institute of Technology — I learned these rules. I have studied our State’s legislative structure, and it is largely compatible with my experience.

I’m proud to relate that the philosophy of action I have followed has also borne fruit. Even though I do not hold the putative benefit, as a candidate — of the committee assignment — or involvement with the current legislature — I can hold to accomplishments as a citizen that qualify me to public service. As a member of a team, working with a non profit that we founded here in Georgia — I have helped to reduce child labor in India by 72%. We accomplished this by opening schoolhouses; some no bigger than the average Georgian’s living room — and running them at 7:00 at night. Children arrived after work — and learned the basic skills needed to not only make their way in the world — but happily escape the clutches of the Child Laborers. This was recognized by the US Department of State. The parent charity we are still associated with, headquartered in West Bengal — is now honored by the Government of India and plays a role in the education of other non profits such as ASHA, and helped to form other nonprofits such as Free the Children.

As a principal investigator for NIH /SBA sponsored research I have led a team of researchers seeking new ways to help people recover from stroke, and to better the performance of speech recognition. I’ve also led a small business that has worked with the State of Georgia — in helping to develop bid procurement systems and upgrades for the Georgia Department of Labor, and also helped to create a system for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. These business initiatives were designed to better our state, and in the case of Atlanta’s airport — increase security. My current role as a Cybersecurity professional gives me direct insight into what we need to do for our state to have better, more secure, and responsive systems of government, voting, and interacting with the voter. I have a natural talent for legal writing, and have drafted complicated intellectual property agreements, contracts, nondisclosure agreements, and business documents. The nuts and bolts of authoring legislation is within my grasp.

All of this added up, I will still be a State Senator that will invest heavily before our first session to learn the details. Unlike my opponent, I am disabused of the notion that I anticipate my voter’s needs — and plan to engage voters directly and in a transparent manner to drive our district’s legislative agenda. I am an adaptable person, and I am capable of learning what I need to know — but the first step is for me to realize that at this point, I will be starting from the beginning. That’s why voters are important to me. I plan to forge a deeper, and more secure connection to the voter than any of my predecessors — and provide a better model of interaction with them. I do not plan to pursue the kind of dog whistle politics that is so popular with other politicians — the dead of night legislative agenda that leaves us with unconstitutional legislation such as Georgia’s “Heartbeat” law. And I plan to hold our Governor to task, if indeed he pushes executive direction to a place that endangers our citizenry. The Senate is a higher chamber. I will go there as a freshman, and I plan to take my district’s voter concern along with me. Would it be so strange, to verify voter’s identity and then provide a circle of my constituents with token based authentication ? This could be used for live polling and direct feedback on issues and it would take any Russian Influence Operation based troll farm attack on any direct poll from our district — and throw it to the dead letter office. Is it less secure for our state to enable vote by mail? We’ve been doing it for years, millions of voters cast their vote securely. My plan is to familiarize myself with the existing systems of government — but also to work to enable new ones. If I am evaluated fairly — my experience has readied me for this.

Finally, I am a constitutionalist and as such I believe strongly that the senate should be a co equal branch of government. I stand against those senate leaders who lay their power down at the feet of an imperial executive. If I am sent to the Senate, I will take and uphold my oath of office. This is in contrast to the shameful behavior of the Federal Senate, who , under a rogue majority leader has laid down the power of the senate at the feet of a man who now shows his ever increasing instability and for whom the abuse of power in office has been clearly established in his impeachment. We must, as voters, remove him. And we must stand against any policy that transforms our state into an experiment in human sacrifice.

I’m also supported by family, and friends. I’ve been elected to leadership in other charitable and fraternal organizations, and have a track record of running them with fiscal discipline, and social liberalism. I’m proud of my family, which includes an Eagle Scout and a young BioChemist and Amateur Equestrian Competitor. This first circle won’t be exposed to the winds of political chance or the drama of political competition, but they will be there when we set aside the politics and get down to the business of governance. They are part of my team — and I am proud that I have earned their vote.

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My perception of being a State Senator is that I will be part of a higher chamber — and one that would be suited for the kind of direct action I have been known to accomplish as a private citizen. This is why I am proud to announce that at time of writing, I may well have secured the endorsement of my opponent, Vanessa Parker. Our campaigns are in negotiation right now as to the announcement — I can only relate that we held a private candidate summit, and that at this stage in the negotiation my primary concern is that the voters who support her — and their interests — are the subject of the negotiation. Should my opponent feel that I can represent her and her constituency, I will be pleased to announce her endorsement. However, I feel this is the type of comity and restoration of the norms and traditions of democracy that we must pursue. The non-stop politics of our society wear us all down. She and I both agree on several key issues, and where we disagree — instead of invective — we are searching for common ground. But we’re all living here in the beautiful cities we’ve come to love — Marietta, Kennesaw, Powder Springs, Acworth — and at the end of the day, we’re all neighbors, and fellow Americans.

Perhaps what’s most important for a senator, in terms of education and qualification is being knowledgeable about the issues, our system of government and the process by which laws are made. While I acknowledge I will be learning the ropes, as a freshman State Senator — I understand perhaps better than my opponent and certainly better than our Governor — that the people want to be represented by someone who understands their needs and values and how to advocate for those within our State Legislature. The specific issues I am knowledgeable about are ones that my constituents care about. This campaign is really about them. Voters who choose me as their State Senator may rest assured that my tenure will be one of accomplishment, and transparency — and they will see a direct increase in the responsiveness of their state Government. My candidacy is about inviting citizens into state government, empowering them, and spending energy listening to their real concerns. It’s not about me. It’s about us. I’ve lived here in this area for over 25 years, raised a family here — and I am a voter just like everyone else. I will work for every single vote, and I’ll make every single voter’s need and wish count when I’m under the Golden Dome.

My candidacy is about change. As a citizen of this state, I’m certain that we’re ready for change. The vote you cast is a simple one: return my opponent to power — and in so doing endorse his party’s agenda — or vote for someone who can take a new vision of where we need to be as a state, and a people — and make it real. In the end, no qualification is as powerful as the choice of the voter. That single qualification is what we must all remember defines a public servant.

Where my opponent — a man who weathered the entire pandemic with a message that says he’s down to business — speaks of what is, and seeks to tell us “Why” — perhaps now is the time to dream of things that never were — and ask — “Why not”.

The Progressive Watchdog

The Progressive Watchdog

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