By Valerie Baldowski
Henry County native, Ray McBerry, has kicked off his campaign for governor, well before the statewide elections in November 2010.
McBerry, a Republican, is one of 17 candidates who have signed a Declaration of Intent (DOI) to accept campaign contributions.
Other announced candidates are Daniel Alvin, Thurbert Baker, Roy Barnes, Elbert Bartel, Carl Camon, Nathan Deal, Karen Handel, Robert Ingram, Matthew Jamison, Eric Johnson, John Monds, John Oxendine, Berry Perkins, Dubose Porter, David Poythress, and James Scott. Casey Cagle is also listed, but withdrew from the race for health reasons. Cagle is now running in the Lieutenant Governor's race, according to Rick Thompson, executive secretary for the state Ethics Commission.
By law, said Thompson, candidates are not required to list their political affiliation on the DOI. The deadline to qualify for the 2010 gubernatorial race is April 30.
McBerry spoke to voters at the Henry County Administration Building in McDonough on Aug. 6, as part of his "States Rights" tour across Georgia. He was joined by Rep. Bobby Franklin, (R-Marietta); Rep. Steve Davis, (R-McDonough); Michael Frisbee, a candidate for the Congressional District 13 seat currently held by David Scott; and Jenny Hodges, national director of Pro-Life Unity, who is also McBerry's campaign manager.
McBerry is a strong supporter of the Second and 10th Amendments to the Constitution. "What we have right now is an out-of-control federal government," he said. "Ninety percent of what it has its hands in is outside the constitutional jurisdiction for the federal government."
The final, remaining "Constitutional solution," he said, is the 10th Amendment and the preservation of states' rights. Specifically, according to McBerry, states have the right, and the responsibility, to "rein in" the federal government, to prevent it from overstepping its boundaries.
McBerry, 41, lives in Monroe County. He currently hosts "The Agenda," a show covering political topics, on local television station SBN-TV Channel 22, and for the past six years, has produced radio and TV commercials.
Before becoming involved in the media, he taught history for 10 years at the high school and college levels, including teaching at Patrick Henry High School in Henry County, and Atlanta Baptist College.
He holds an Associate Degree in Education from Clayton State College and University, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Georgia State University, and a Master of Theology from Trinity Baptist Seminary.
McBerry said his campaign is the first gubernatorial campaign to initiate a legislative agenda to be introduced into the next Georgia General Assembly in January. There are eight, different "State Sovereignty" bills that have sponsors in the State House of Representatives, he said.
"All eight of these bills address specific federal encroachments on the state of Georgia," he added. "Each of them specifically states the remedies for the federal intrusions, and give penalties for federal entities that violate these different bills.
"This will restore the power to the people of Georgia, where it rightfully belongs," he said.
Rep. Franklin voiced support for the principles McBerry espoused. "I think we need someone in the governor's office who understands the limits the states placed on the federal government in the Constitution," he said. "The states created the federal government, not the other way around."
Although he is not affiliated with the McBerry campaign, Franklin said he and McBerry hold many of the same viewpoints. "Ray and I do share that common interest, in Constitutionally restrained government," said Franklin.
Despite being relatively unknown in a field of higher-profile gubernatorial candidates, McBerry, who officially announced his candidacy in early April, said he believes his odds for victory are good.
"We've only been actively campaigning for about four months," he said. "After only one month, the straw poll that was held statewide among the Republican Party had us running third in the governor's race. We've moved up in the race since then."