State Senate Race Continues

| October 9, 2014

Ellis and Mohanty State SenateAllison Ericson, Valdosta Today News Director:

VALDOSTA — On November 4th, the 8th District State Senate seat will be occupied by a new face. Citizens can begin voting on Oct. 13th for Valdosta candidates, Democratic nominee, Bikram Mohanty and Republican nominee, Ellis Black.

Democratic nominee, Mohanty was born in India, after moving to the U.S. he eventually planted his roots in Valdosta. Mohanty worked in a large majority of hospitals and nursing homes across Georgia until 2001, when he opened up his own occupational therapy practice.

“I’ve been here for 20 years and I passionately tell people how I literally had $50 bucks and the clothes in my bag when I landed here in Valdosta,” Mohanty said. “I am a licensed and practicing occupational therapist and as of last month we have employed 170 people over 15 years since I started my business.”

Republican nominee, Black was born and raised on a farm in Clyattville, Georgia. Black returned to Clyattville after graduating from the University of Georgia. He worked for the Langdale Company in Valdosta for four years before he eventually became a full-time farmer.

“I live in the house I grew up in, I bought it from daddy back in 1977,” Black said. “I went back to Clyattville and went into the farm supply business, started farming on the side, and eventually I just became a full-time farmer.”

In 2012 Mohanty ran for the same seat but lost to Republican, Sen. Tim Golden. He jumped right back into the race for this year’s election after Golden’s retirement.

“I was going to run even if Tim had not retired. I believe that democracy becomes participatory when people vote more and when people run for office, so that is how I’m here,” Mohanty said.

If elected, Mohanty plans to focus on a time limit for Georgia legislators, the HOPE Scholarship, and tax for small business owners. In 2012 two republican members introduced a time limit on Georgia legislatures and since then Mohanty has valued the idea.

“I believe it will bring accountability to the office, it will help the office nationally, so time limit is very important to me,” Mohanty said. “I plan on focusing on it, including limiting my own time when I’m elected.”

With three children in the Valdosta public school system, Mohanty is passionate about the HOPE Scholarship. He believes that public education is the answer to creating jobs and reducing crime.

 “When elected I’m going to propose to sell land lottery tickets online. I know the moment I talk about land lottery tickets people think it could be gambling,” Mohanty said. “With today’s Internet and electric walls we can regulate a lot of things, we can limit how many tickets people could buy over a one or two week period, so the question of prediction and gambling would not be there.”

Mohanty expects that this proposition will triple HOPE Scholarship funds in a short period of time. The scholarship originally provided coverage of textbook costs but eventually stopped, Mohanty would like to bring that coverage back.

In 2001, Black was elected as a Democratic Party member into the Georgia General Assembly and served in the House of Representatives. He is now running for the Republican Party and is currently in his 14th year of legislature.

“Things change in Georgia, last time I ran no one was elected as a republican, there have been several attempts but that just did not happen back then,” Black said. “I ran and was elected the year that the democrats did reapportion. I knew that if I got elected the districts would be drawn on such a matter that I would not likely be reelected. That’s one thing, reapportion is a very mean spirited business.”

If elected, Black plans to look into South Georgia’s unemployment numbers. He would like to convince businesses to locate in Valdosta by using local assets, such as, proximity to the coast, hunting, fishing, and outdoor activities.

“A lot of the jobs that come into this portion of the state did not get hit as hard as some of the other states in the recession. Unemployment is high. I’m actually suspicious of these recent figures I just see signs that they may be adjusted. It is hard to believe they put out false figures right before the election,” Black said. “We have gotten the worst of the recession behind us and so all indications are different from what these numbers show.”

Black and Mohanty have opposing backgrounds, plans, and ideas, but one thing they do agree on is using South Georgia resources to attract businesses and lower the unemployment rate.

“Georgia is not in very good shape when it comes to creating jobs. The difference in me and my opponent is very clear, if the citizens and the board should have to expect a different result in these years they have to take different action. Voting for me would be that different action,” Mohanty said.

“I plan on serving two years and I have never had a defined term, it is one of these things that takes a lot of time and dedication,” Black said. “Anytime someone is running against you they’re a threat,
you never take anybody lightly, but you know it would be a major upset if he did beat me, but anything can happen in politics.”

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7 Comments on "State Senate Race Continues"

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  1. Papi says:

    Ellis you got my vote!!!

  2. LHS Viking says:

    Black ran unopposed as a Democrat in 2010 and switched to the Republican party ten days later. He was elected in a district that was heavily gerrymandered by the Republican super-majority, he is quite off the mark about how those districts were apportioned, they were gerrymandered by Republicans. In order to satisfy the (now mostly defunct) Voting Rights Act, Republicans were forced to add two mostly Democrat/majority-minority districts in Georgia. Dexter Sharper holds one of those seats now.

    The unemployment figures have not been rigged. It’s really quite bizarre to see Ellis Black parroting Nathan Deal’s crazy rhetoric about how “it’s a plot” to publicize “faked” unemployment data for Georgia.

    Under Nathan Deal and the super-majority of Republicans in our General Assembly, Georgia has fallen to last place (even District of Columbia is better!) for employment: worst unemployment in the nation! We are nearly last in graduation rates, we are worst in maternal mortality, we have 9,000 fewer teachers today than we had in 2,000; adjunct professors at VSU have not gotten a raise in over six years, the Board of Regents meets at VSU next week and will raise insurance rates and deductibles for all university employees in Georgia, we have one of the highest percentages of un-insured people in America due to Nathan Deal and Ellis Black’s refusal to accept federal dollars for ACA/Obamacare Medicaid expansion. FIVE rural hospitals have closed. Nathan Deal and Ellis Black both accept huge donations from insurance companies that want to keep ACA/Obamacare out of Georgia so they can artificially inflate their insurance rates.

    And Ellis Black sent out one of the most inflammatory negative campaign fliers I’ve ever seen, and I saw the one Rusty Griffin used when he was vying for former State Senator Tim Golden’s seat. It was UN-Christian, it was false, and it pandered to “low-information” voters that belong to the Tea Party and can’t analyze information rationally.

    It’s hard to believe that Ellis Black once served on a school board here in Lowndes county when his votes in the Georgia Assembly have promoted furlough days, cut education funds, allowed Georgia teachers to lose medical and retirement benefits, and increased class sizes to untenable numbers. In the year 2,000, Georgia was poised to enter the Top 20 states in re: to high school graduation rates. Today we are barely above Mississippi. Thanks to Ellis Black and the super-majority of Republicans in our Georgia Assembly, and people like papi, who vote for them.

    • Papi says:

      LHS Viking, hope your stress level went down with your dissertation. I just want you to know you have inspired me to vote a straight Republican ticket on Monday.


  3. Rantandrav1 says:

    You know Ellis has no clue whats going on. He just signs off on anything. John Page would have been a better candidate. I think Mohanty has a fair chance.

  4. Papi says:

    To help Lowndes County and the State of Georgia we need to vote; Lowndes County Commission District 3; Mark Wisenbaker, Jr. Governor’s Office; Gov. Nathan Deal, State Senate; Ellis Black, Georgia House of Representative; John Corbett, US Representative; E.L. “Buddy” Carter, US Senate; David Perdue!!!

  5. Jim Baker says:

    Johnny Isakson refuses to call for a ban on commercial travel into and out of the West Africa countries with the Ebola epidemic raging. Johnny Isakson has said that our welfare fraud is so much better after the last reform act. This is why I, as a lifetime Republican, and I am pretty old, will not vote Republican this November. My only decision is whether to vote Libertarian or send a stronger message and vote Nunn.

    • Papi says:

      Isakson is not on the ballot this time around. I agree with you Isakson might as well be a liberal, a conservative Republican he is not.

      My only suggestion is give David Perdue a chance yet the final decision is yours.

      Come 2016 we need to send Isakson packing, he is worthless!!!