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Georgia House District 3 candidate Jeremy Jones is introduced to by Catoosa County chairman Monday night at the Colonnade in Ringgold. Jones was the only one of three to attend the meeting.

Catoosa County Republicans had hoped to have a debate Monday evening among the three candidates for the party's nomination for the Georgia House of Representatives seat from District 3.

But there was no debate. Only one candidate, Jeremy Jones, showed up.

The two other candidates for the District 3 state House seat did not attend the forum. Candidate Jeff Holcomb, a former Fort Oglethorpe police chief, sent a note to organizers several weeks ago explaining he is in law school and had a final exam Monday evening. The remaining candidate, former Catoosa County commissioner Dewayne Hill, did not explain his absence.

Jones quickly turned the situation to his advantage, blasting his opponents as unwilling to engage with voters.

He then used his uninterrupted 20 minutes at the podium to show off his positions in response to questions from the audience, ranging from the state budget and criminal justice reform to the so-called "bathroom bill" and property tax breaks for seniors.

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Jones, who finishes law school this month, currently runs an entertainment business as a deejay, but he has worked in local GOP politics for years.

Among other things, Jones said he:

* Won't commit to never voting to expand state spending. "The economy changes and situations change and I could never say I would always vote yes or no on anything," Jones said, although he stressed his commitment to reducing the size of government.

* Would question any proposed state budget item to determine whether it needed doing or could be done better by private enterprise.

* Is opposed to mandatory minimum sentences for criminals. Judges who have heard the evidence in a case are much better positioned to decide on a sentence rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all mandatory minimum, he said.

* Is opposed to so-called "bathroom" legislation that would require that anyone using a bathroom use only the one that matched his or her birth gender. He noted that people who are transgender have no higher incidence of sex crimes against children than the non-transgender population and suggested that if parents are worried that their children will be molested in the bathroom, they should worry much more about sex offenders.

* Believes teachers' and school administrators' salaries should be based on their effectiveness and not on tenure and educational achievements.

* Would not support increasing property tax breaks for seniors, but instead favors freezing the value of seniors' homes at the time they reach a certain age, so they are assured that their taxes will never go up due to an increase in the value of their homes.

* Believes the current process of civil asset forfeiture, where the police can seize an accused person's property in advance of trial, needs to be changed to make it easier for those who are acquitted or are not charged can regain their property.

Contact reporter Steve johnson@sjohnson@timesfreepress.com, 423-757-6673, on Twitter @stevejohnsonTFP or on Facebook, www.facebook/noogahealth.com.

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