And Then There Were Three: An Interview with Martha Zoller

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“If litigations and dinners with lobbyists are the kind of experience that you need,” she said, “then, I think, there’s a problem.”

The recent realigning of congressional districts forged a new district in the state of Georgia. The new district is actually the 14th. However, come January the sitting congressman from the existing ninth district Rep. Tom Graves will run for the 14th district, due to his residency. This means that a new ninth district will be created opening up a new congressional seat. The new ninth will include some counties from the old ninth, like Gilmer, Fannin, and Pickens. But, with some of the new counties now incorporated in the district, like Hall, people fear that Gilmer, Fannin, and Pickens will be neglected in the shadow of larger counties like Hall. As such, securing votes in these three counties will be one of the challenges for candidates. And, candidates are already starting their campaigns. FYN recently sat down with one of the more vocal candidates in the race, Martha Zoller.

Last month, Radio Talk Show host Martha Zoller officially announced her candidacy for the new ninth district Congressional seat. Zoller, a graduate of Emory School of Journalism at The University of Georgia, touts that she has the real-world experience necessary to represent the state of Georgia in congress. One of Zoller’s opponents, State Representative Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) recently suggested that Zoller lacked the necessary experience for the congressional seat. Collins implied that while Zoller talks about making budgets, he has made budgets and while Zoller talks about politics, Collins has been in politics. In short, Collins says experience matters. In our interview with Zoller, she answers Collins claims.

“If litigations and dinners with lobbyists are the kind of experience that you need,” she said, “then, I think, there’s a problem.”

She explains that she has the kind of experience that matters.

“I have managed budgets on an annual basis when I worked for Rich’s (department store) for over ten years where I managed over $10 million of the company’s money,” Zoller says, “where I had to begin with a certain amount of stock, end with a certain amount of stock, and I had to achieve a certain profit margin.”

She also says she raised her family and managed her household budget and helped manage her husband’s medical practice for the last 21 years. In addition to all of these accomplishments, Zoller has built a broadcasting career from scratch.

“I think that’s real-world experience that matters.”

But, where does she stand on the issues of the day, the colossal issues like immigration, healthcare reform, the economy, and the one on everyone’s minds right now, job creation?

On immigration, her first move is securing the borders.

“You first got to stop the bleeding,”

she asserts. But, she explains the situation is more complex than that and that securing the borders is just one step in solving the problem. Zoller believes in reinstituting a work permit program. She says we need to take a closer look at illegal immigrants who have a tax idea number and are paying taxes.

“I think an illegal immigrant that comes in here (the country) and continues to break the law… by drug-running…is a little different than a family that’s come here and not broken the law and has tried to do things the right way,”

she says.

As far as healthcare reform goes, Zoller believes in a free-market system, where competitive prices keep costs low. Some healthcare services, like dental, eye-care, and dermatology, where more of a free-market system currently exists, could serve as a model for larger healthcare plans, she says. Regarding Medicare, Zoller argues that one way to save the program and billions of dollars immediately is to increase the benefit age to 67, saying

“we need to be more cautious with taxpayer money.”

Zoller’s job creation plan is to

“have tax policy that people understand and is permanent and you also have to have free market options for investors.”

Keeping in line with her philosophy she says, as Rep Graves is known to say, that the government does not create jobs, reminding voters that we’ve learned this from “

TARP I, TARP II, the Stimulus Plan,–we’re in worse shape than we were.”

But, how do Zoller’s views on these issues differ than those of her opponents? So far, her opponents are State Representative Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) and former State Senator Chip Pearson. Both opponents have campaign Facebook pages. However, neither of the pages have statements of where these candidates stand on the issues of the day. On these sites, the closest statement to positions on issues is under the section titled “political views,” where it simply states: conservative. Last week, FYN has contacted the offices of Pearson and Collins, but has yet to receive a response. Voters beware! Pearson seems aloof, while Collins has been endorsed by Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, who has won favor with a large portion of House, establishment Republicans. Voters these days—especially conservative voters—are wary of establishment ties and, so far Zoller seems to have initiated a grassroots campaign and looks forward to

“earning every single vote in these counties.”

And, Zoller and voters await Pearson, Collins and others to step in the arena to challenge the Radio Host and give her a chance to prove, she’s not just talk. When asked by FYN if she would be willing to participate in a live, televised debate, Zoller said that she will show up to wherever there’s a debate.

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