HIAWASSEE, Ga. – With candidate qualification just three weeks away, House Representative Matt Gurtler continues to leave 8th District voters in the dark regarding which office he will pursue. Whether Gurtler will choose to remain the incumbent in the State House race or move toward a bid in the 50th State Senate or 9th Congressional districts remains a mystery.
As constituents question the elected official’s delay, it begs the question: What exactly is Gurtler waiting on?
Gurtler alluded to a potential State Senate, or U.S. Congressional House run, in a Feb. 4 social media post. “With the announcement of Congressman Doug Collins seeking the U.S. Senate seat, as well as our State Senator John Wilkinson’s seat opening up, I wanted to answer all your questions about whether I’m considering a run for either seat, the 9th Congressional or the 50th State Senate,” Gurtler stated, adding that he was “weighing my options.”
Last month, the second-term representative received substantial backlash on social media following a controversial “no” vote proclaimed to honor President Trump and the U.S. military. Challenging candidate Stan Gunter took aim at the self-professed conservative’s history of opposing Republican-backed bills at the State Capitol.
In turn, Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw weighed in on the matter at the Towns County Republican Party meeting on Jan. 16, shining a spotlight on Gurtler’s unpopular position with conservative officials in the State House. “This isn’t the first time that a vote like this occurred,” Gunter publicly reminded. “You can imagine what he does to his relationships with other Republicans because this bill went down the party line. The Democrats all voted against it, and he joined the Democrats.”
In response, Representative Gurtler issued a Feb. 6 rebuttal reminiscent of his 2018 campaign rhetoric. “The establishment, lead by (House Speaker David) Ralston himself, never give up, and unfortunately, because they’ve been in power for so long (back when many of them were Democrats), they have endless resources….” Gurtler stated in part. “Unfortunately, my opponent has decided to carry on the establishment torch.”
In a Feb. 6 statement to FYN, Gunter said that he is focused solely on the 8th District House. “I’m running my campaign as if (Gurtler) is still in it, which he is,” Gunter said. Gunter issued the statement following the news that Gurtler confirmed a low-profile visit to Washington D.C.
With time narrowing in, the elected official will have to reveal his hand sooner than later, announcing whether he wishes to continue representing the citizens of the 8th House District or attempt to secure a seat elsewhere.
Additional information can be found by clicking the highlighted links above.
Continue to follow FYN for campaign developments as Election 2020 approaches.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The Georgia House recently voted on the amended, “small” state budget in Atlanta with District 8 Representative Matt Gurtler boldly opposing the measure. Gurtler stated that he voted “no” with confidence as he continues to find fault, specifically with subsidies and free market intervention.
Gurtler relayed that he believes over 40 percent of the $240 million budget is not within the confines of the proper role of government. “Some aspects of the budget were some of the worst I’ve seen in years, since I started studying the budget in 2013,” the ultra-conservative Northeast Georgia representative wrote. “Once again, we are pouring millions of dollars into non-governmental entities and organizations such as Mercer University. Millions of tax dollars would go straight to this private university to subsidize a medical program and that just isn’t right. If we have a problem, such as a need for more doctors, we should be looking at over-regulation and outright monopolies, created by you guessed it; big government. And we certainly shouldn’t be picking winners and losers and dolling our millions of dollars of handouts.”
Gurtler asserted that government should have no part in the actions or the funding of private entities or organizations. Gurtler raised issue that other programs, such as the new Atlanta Transit Authority, was allocated an additional $500,000, and that the “slush fund known as the Georgia One Authority” was allocated $14 million.
Gurtler was joined by seven of his colleagues who voted against the amended budget, with 166 voting in favor.
“It is well known that I will vote based on principle, even if that means going against what everyone else is doing,” Gurtler expressed. “Even if my vote stands alone, it’s important that we continue to have high standards and make sure our vote is one that we are proud to cast for our district, and in line with limited government principles.”
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Republican Party Treasurer Harvey Cohen has taken a step in a quest to change state income tax law.
Cohen, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) of 40 years who practices law tax, reached out to Georgia Senator John Wilkinson and Georgia Representative Matt Gurtler in a letter to state his case.
“Georgia individual income tax law provides for a limited standard deduction which is much smaller than the current federal standard deduction,” Cohen explained. “Georgia individual tax law limits its taxpayers to its standard deduction if that taxpayer claims the standard deduction on their federal tax return. For example, a Georgia taxpayer claiming a federal standard deduction of $24,000 (for a joint return) would be limited to a Georgia standard deduction of $6,000. The result of this tax structure of Federal verses Georgia deductions results, and will continue, in many cases, to result in Georgia taxpayers receiving Federal tax refunds, but owe Georgia income taxes.”
Cohen added that he received a call from a friend who didn’t understand why her daughter and son-in- law owe Georgia income tax, yet are receiving a federal refund.
“In past years, their itemized tax deductions were approximately $12,000 plus, and this year they are limited to the Georgia standard deduction of $6,000 because they are claiming the federal standard deduction of $24,000. The spouses, in this case, are a Cherokee County Sheriff’s deputy and she is a Cherokee County Childrens’ Advocate for the Cherokee County Court System. Neither of them are substantial income earners.”
“Another example of this unconscionable situation is my daughter,” Cohen continued. “Her earnings approximate $45,000, and she owes no Federal income tax, but owes Georgia income tax of approximately $1,800. I have talked to other Georgia CPA s and licensed tax preparers and they concur with my conclusion that Georgia’s tax law is punishing it’s citizens due to it’s individual income tax law’s standard deduction amount vis-a-vis the federal tax law’s standard deduction amount, and because Georgia’s tax law limits the use of deductions to the $6,000 standard deduction if the federal standard deduction is claimed.”
Cohen invited State Senator Wilkinson and State Representative Gurtler to contact him if inclined to discuss the matter further.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Early voting in the 2018 midterm election came to a close on Friday, and Towns County Board of Elections saw a massive turnout at the Hiawassee polling precinct. Of the 9,386 registered voters in Towns County, 4,030 residents chose to cast their ballots ahead of Tuesday’s general election. A total of 257 absentee ballots had been returned to the election board as of Friday afternoon.
The 2018 turnout rivals that of the 2016 presidential election. Two years ago, 4,564 of the 8,608 voters registered in Towns County turned up to cast early ballots at the polls, with 420 ballots returned by mail. Midterm elections historically do not draw such a high amount of voters to the ballot box.
FYN reached out to Towns County leaders and gathered their thoughts on the phenomenon.
Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton believes that the south-of-the-border “caravan of criminals” that are headed toward the U.S. border plays a part in the impressive turnout at the Georgia polls. “The future of our nation and our state rides on this election. Anyone being honest about these caravans understands what is at stake. If the left wins, the caravans are just the beginning. If the Republicans stay in, I’m willing to bet they turn around,” Clinton warned, “We must stop this madness or we will cease to be a sovereign nation…They aren’t coming for jobs or safety. Mexico offered those. They sure aren’t coming to be Americans. Those aren’t American flags they are carrying during these border assaults.”
Sheriff Clinton recently endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, reiterating on Friday that Stacey Abrams’ “radical, socialist ideas are extremely dangerous.”
District 8 State House Representative Matt Gurtler is optimistic that Georgia will remain a “red” state, adding that according to the Secretary of State’s office, Georgia has seen the highest early voter turnout in the state’s history during this year’s general election. “Our district is the most active in the state and the most conservative by far,” Gurtler explained, “I expect to see the 8th House District in the lead once again this coming Tuesday, and I believe and have great faith in the people of Georgia, that we will see a ‘red wave’ sweep the entire state.”
While Towns County Republican Party Chair Betsy Young is enthusiastic,the GOP leader believes that the race for Georgia’s next governor, in particular, is tight. “I think this is going to be close, but if only legal voters vote – all Democrats and Republicans – we will win. The area around Atlanta will be heavily Democrat, but I believe some who have never voted anything but Democrat will vote Republican because of two things: hate by liberals and their awful demonstration of it, along with the economy and immigration.”
“The fate of our state and our county is at stake,” Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw expressed, “Towns County realizes how important this election is for our future, and I’m very thankful for that.” Commissioner Bradshaw served as Master of Ceremonies at a recent “Get Out the Vote” event sponsored by the Towns County Republican Party.
While the four local leaders agree that the high voter count is good sign for their affiliated political party, the Republicans stressed the importance of an equally healthy turnout at the polls on election day.
Towns County polling precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Count on FYN to deliver local election results as soon as they become available.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Local State House Representative Matt Gurtler plans to reintroduce his departmental budget bill at the Capitol, pressing for an accountable budget process to curb what he considers imprudent spending by stipulating that each of the 49 government agencies involved should function on their own respective merits.
“With so much at stake, we must always be conservative with our money and the budget is the heart of where wasteful spending lies,” Gurtler explained, “Currently, Georgia’s budget process is much like what we see in Washington D.C. with an omnibus budget where everything is lumped together, and members are pressured to vote ‘yes’ regardless of all the bad subsidies or handouts in the budget. My department budget bill is the common sense solution to bring real conservative change to Georgia’s tax and spending problem.”
In addition, Gurtler asserted his view on government policies, stating that American values and principles are compromised as a result of the growing size, scope, and intrusiveness of government. “Not enough statesmen are saying ‘no’ to the federal government when we have the perfect right to refuse big goverment polices,” Gurtler expressed, “The 13 states, through a constitutional convention, came together and created the federal government, and delegated how the government should operate in a free society. A Constitutional Republic with democratically elected leaders was the platform. A Republic was the solution, ‘if we can keep it’ as Benjamin Franklin stated at the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Not a monarchy, not a theocracy, not a democracy, but a republic of law and order. Since the states created the United States, their powers supercede that of the federal government, and they made sure to codify this arrangement in our tenth amendment in regard to reserved powers.”
In reference to upcoming speaking engagements at the Young Americans for Liberty National Convention, and before the National Liberty Coalition in Washington D.C., Gurtler says he looks forward to sharing his values and principles with like-minded patriots, and discussing the obstacles conquered during his recent re-election campaign. State leaders heavily funded and rallied in favor of Gurtler’s challenger in a foiled attempt to oust the ultra-conservative representative from District 8.
“Our election gained national attention, and now it’s becoming a national case study of how and what the establishment will do in the hopes of defeating real conservatives,” Gurtler stated, “I couldn’t be more proud of our community for standing beside me, and it just shows what kind of politician the people are seeking to represent them.”
Gurtler represents the citizens of Towns, Rabun, Union, and White County at the State Capitol.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – State House Representative Matt Gurtler is intent on bringing principles back to politics, and the District 8 leader appears reinvigorated after attending the recent National Liberty Coalition Annual Summit, Young Americans for Liberty National Convention, and the Georgia House of Representatives Republican Summer Caucus.
Gurtler, a staunch proponent of local control, fiscal responsibility, and free markets, is serving his second-term representing the citizens of Towns, Union, White, and Rabun County at the State Capitol.
Gurtler says that the summit, convention, and caucus provided opportunities to discuss pertinent matters such as government accountability, transparency, and the importance of principled policies.
“We must have a higher standard when it comes to voting, always putting principles first, and we need to get rid of the idea that the ends justify the means,” Gurtler guided, “This is where we see so many politicians ‘sell out.’ Doing the wrong thing is never the right thing. The way we get to places matters, and we must always try to do the right thing, even if it has a cost.”
Never one to mince words when referring to an “establishment” mentality embedded inside-and-out of politics, Gurtler asserted that state leadership does not “take kindly” to those who stand on strong principles, and lack apparent appreciation for those who seek the truth.
The Republican representative shared leadership advice offered to fellow legislators at the National Liberty Coalition Summit. “Always be the first out of the trench, and the last to step off the battlefield,” Gurtler asserted.
“Make no mistake, we are in a full-fledged war right now of ideas, a great turning point in our nation’s history,” Gurtler continued, “The collective against the individual, and this is most abundantly apparent in the clear leftist ideology that dominates academia, the media, and Hollywood. These three fields have massive control over public opinion, and are trying to shape our public policies toward a centralized State. We must be aware of this battle, and always fight to maintain our Constitution, conservative principles, and values. The values this great nation was founded upon: freedom, self-determination, and prosperity. Equality of opportunity for all, not equality of outcome.”
Gurtler says plans to create a House Freedom Caucus for the upcoming legislative session are in the works.
“Over the years, I’ve seen so many of my colleagues – including myself – become frustrated at the status quo, and how the establishment influences members to vote a certain way,” Gurtler explained, “Usually, the establishment is pushing for more big government policies, and there is no alternative group to seek a more conservative opinion and guidance. I believe now is the time to get organized and give the new incoming members, and current members, a real conservative group that truly believes, and more importantly votes, the principles of the party. We have a plan and a vision, and I’m excited to lead this charge so we can get Georgia back to a more conservative state. The Freedom caucus will be a game-changer, and the conscience of the party.”
(Feature Photo: Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia)
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – District 8 House Represenative Matt Gurtler traveled to the Gold Dome in Atlanta last week, voting on three separate issues during a special state session. The second-term representative rejected the amended 2019 Georgia budget, along with a tax credit bill for timber producers, while approving a tax exemption for jet fuel sales.
Concerning the budget, while Gurtler expressed that he supports affected individuals residing in the counties impacted by Hurricane Michael, the state representative explained that the manner that allocated funds were not in sync with his conservative principles, prompting Gurtler to vote against the measure.
Gurtler additionally disapproved of the amended budget due to what he considers wasteful spending.
“Out of the $270 million allocated, $40 million of those taxpayers dollars went to departments that directly interfere in the free market by subsidizing private businesses through the One Georgia Authority and REBA (Regional Economic Business Assistance), ” Gurtler explained, “This shouldn’t have been part of the discussion during the special session and these departments actually hurt Georgians and the Georgia economy. But nonetheless, subsidies and handouts always seem to find their way back on our desks.
“On top of that, we could have used our rainy day fund ($2.5 Billion) to allocate funds OR the fiscal affairs committee could have simply voted to approve these funds without calling a special session, which costs you, the taxpayers, $40,000 a day. Not only do we waste tax dollars on bureaucracy with every action, but we also waste tax dollars on the debate on how much of those tax dollars we can spend. This should not be happening and I believe would be worse if there was not a small contingency pushing back.”
Likewise, Gurtler voted against House Bill (HB) 4EX, which would provide tax credits for timber producers.
“I voted NO to this measure because this is a subsidy for a portion of the industry, for a limited area, under specific circumstances, and with a whole lot of expensive bureaucracy,” Gurtler stated, “While it was brought to us with the greatest of intentions, subsidies given to individuals and businesses are simply not the proper role of government, and they harm Georgians and the Georgia economy in the long run. For those reasons, I voted NO.”
Although Gurtler stated that while he does not believe that the jet fuel tax exemption measure is without flaw, the representative voted in favor of the bill.
“I voted YES to this measure because this fundamentally decreases the size of government through the lowering of tax thus reducing the size of government, burden, and power of government through revenue. This is not just for Delta as you would hear from the Atlanta media, but a lowering of taxes across the board for an entire industry on a specific commodity used in that industry,” Gurtler concluded.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – A month has passed since Georgia State House Representative Matt Gurtler was reelected to serve a second term, and Gurtler says a “no nonsense, limited government, conservative message” was heard “loud and clear.”
State House District 8 – which is composed of Towns, Rabuns, Union, and White Counties – received the highest voter turnout in Georgia during the 2018 General Primary, with nearly ten thousand ballots cast. The 29-year-old contractor from Tiger, Georgia, retained his seat under the Gold Dome, earning 60 percent of the vote on May 22, 2018.
In what the Republican representative referred to as an “historic election,” Gurtler reiterated that prior to this year’s primary, it was unprecedented for a sitting governor or state speaker to actively campaign against an incumbent within their own party. Gurtler’s challenger was heavily funded, and rally-endorsed by state-level GOP leadership.
“The entrenched, big government, establishment politicians showed their true colors, and opposition to real conservatives,” Gurtler expressed, “They don’t want limited conservative conservatives at the State Capitol, and will oust dissenters who question the process and their crony capitalist agendas.”
Gurtler went on to say that by exercising independent legislative judgement, and adhering to what he considers the true principles of the Republican Party, political opposition outside of the district ensued. “There is a swamp in Atlanta too, and they are afraid of losing their power, and of anyone who says no,” Gurtler claims, “Because I stand for limited government, less taxes, fiscal responsibility, individual liberty, and free markets, I threaten the establishment.
“For the last two years, I’ve stood up to the establishment, even when it had a political cost, or public perception was counter-intuitive,” Gurtler continued, “Our no nonsense, limited government, conservative message has been heard loud and clear in this election, and I will continue to lead by example, and be the conscience of the party.”
The representative says that in the coming months, he will draft and perfect previously-introduced legislation, and continue to push forth House Bill 156, Constitutional Carry, which was initially introduced by Gurtler in early 2017. “Fifteen states have passed Constitutional Carry, and I will be working hard to ensure it passes this coming session, and with the new governor’s help, we have a real chance to have Constitutional Carry in Georgia next year,” Gurtler explained, “Constitutional Carry will make the Georgia Licence Permit optional for law-abiding citizens. We shouldn’t have to pay the government, or be treated like a criminal in order to exercise a natural right.”
Gurtler states he plans to hold a series of local town hall meetings prior to the commencement of the 2019 legislative session.
“The people simply want honest politicians, and government to get out of their lives,” Gurtler asserted, “They want people to call out the establishment, call out the corruption, the waste, and the handouts. For far too long, politicians have been counting on you to not pay attention, but as Thomas Jefferson said, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.’ We must always be fighting, and that is the charge I will continue to take at the Capitol these next two years.”