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Martin cites problems with Bush, Chambliss in U.S. Senate campaign

Editor's note: This political profile of Jim Martin is the second on the candidates for U.S. Senator from Georgia. An earlier article focused on Saxby Chambliss, the Republican candidate.

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

The Democrat seeking election as a U.S. Senator from Georgia in November, said he wants to represent the interests of people whose needs have been overlooked in the last eight years.

Jim Martin is seeking to unseat Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss in the 2008 general election.

Martin, 63, is an attorney, who was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1983. A former head of the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Martin ran for Lieutenant Governor in Georgia in 2006, a race which he narrowly lost to Casey Cagle.

Martin said he is running for the senate to serve as an advocate for the middle class. "I've been in public life for 30 years, and I've always stood up for middle class Georgians," he said.

"Nobody's doing that in Washington, and I want to change that."

The Democrat criticized President George W. Bush, for what he sees as "eight years of complete failure" on the part of the current administration, in regard to its economic policy.

Martin said by re-electing Chambliss, voters in Georgia would run the risk of continuing those failed policies.

Martin's harsh words for the president continued when addressing the subject of the war in Iraq. He said Bush has employed a misguided outlook, as to who the nation's true enemies in the Middle East are. "We ought to be targeting Al Qaeda, Afghanistan and Pakistan," said Martin.

"Everybody realizes we did not execute the war in Iraq properly. The real threat is Al Qaeda. That's where our focus should be."

Martin said Chambliss, in recent interviews, has misrepresented the Democrat's position on the military presence in Iraq, by saying the Democrat favors a pullout of U.S. forces.

"I believe Congress needs to make the determination to get us out of Iraq, and military leaders should be able to make the decision on how to do that," he said.

Martin, a Vietnam veteran, criticized Chambliss for the senator's "lock-step support" of the president's foreign policy over the last eight years.

Martin, who has been married to his wife, Joan, for 38 years, also took issue with Chambliss' stance on a number of domestic issues . He disputed recent statements by the incumbent senator, which indicated that Martin favored tax hikes for average Americans.

"I'm not for a tax increase, and [Chambliss] knows that," said Martin. "He's for a 23 percent sales tax, known as the Fair Tax. I support tax relief for the middle class. If we have to re-examine the Bush tax cuts in order to do that, we will."

Martin said Chambliss was further mistaken in saying the Democrat does not want Americans to be able to choose their own doctors.

The senate candidate said he has dealt extensively with health-care issues as a lawyer, and he is in favor of "accessible quality health care" for all Americans, adding that he wants to work in Congress to help provide that.