POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Cantrell latest to join state House race

Dacula activist Teresa Cantrell is entering the fray for a state House seat up for a special election this fall.

Cantrell announced a campaign for the state House District 104 seat, which will be determined in a special election in November after Donna Sheldon resigned to focus on a congressional campaign.

“I am a pro-life conservative dedicated to defending traditional marriage, preserving the sanctity of life and am passionate about listening to people and interceding on their behalf,” Cantrell said in a press release. “I have spent years serving and being actively involved in many important areas and believe the state of Georgia will face serious moral and economic decisions in the coming year. It would be an honor to be the voice for house District 104, which includes Dacula, Harbins, and Hamilton Mill.”

Cantrell, a former planning commissioner, has been a community volunteer on issues from green space to education.

The owner of an equine farm with her husband Mike, Cantrell was a founding member of the Gwinnett Open Land Trust, and she founded the Dacula Academic Community Foundation and served on the Superintendents Council.

She also owns Cafe 313 in Dacula, which she pointed out gives her experience as a business owner in dealing with government regulations and meeting a budget.

“Teresa has worked tirelessly for Gwinnett and will make a great state representative to fill Donna’s shoes. She has the honor, ethics and conservative principles needed to serve Gwinnett and House District 104”, said J. Gregory Howard, past chairman of the Gwinnett Republican Party.

Qualifying will be held next week for the special election. Other announced candidates include former county GOP chairman Chuck Efstration and former city postmaster Tim Puckett.

Hice backed by tea party

The election is still a year away, but Jody Hice is starting to pick up endorsements in the 2014 congressional race to replace Paul Broun.

Hice, a Barrow County pastor who many met during his bid for Congress in 2010, has the backing of the Gwinnett Tea Party in the 10th District race, which includes eastern Gwinnett.

“We have every confidence that Dr. Hice will be a Congressman who abides by his oath to defend and protect the Constitution,” said the organization’s co-founder Steve Ramey. “We know he will champion the values that the Tea Party represents and that he will serve with honor.”

Hice, who also has the backing of the Walton County Tea Party, said he appreciates the work of the local group.

“These are patriotic Americans, striving to restore constitutional, conservative principles,” he said. “They are strong advocates for the individual liberty of American citizens. I appreciate their recognition of me as the best Republican candidate to represent the cause of reducing spending, balancing the budget and limiting the federal government.”

Hice also garnered an endorsement from the Gun Owners of America, a key organization in the current political climate.

“We look beyond who will simply vote right. Gun owners are looking for those who will actually lead, and do so with vigor and vocally,” GOA Vice-Chairman Tim Macy stated. “Jody is a leading voice for conservative causes.”

Macy compared Hice to Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Congressman Steve Stockman.

“Jody Hice is cut from the same cloth and will be part of a new generation of independent conservatives in Congress that actually represent the people and not party leadership,” Macy said.

Other Republican candidates seeking the spot, which Broun is vacating for a U.S. Senate run, include Sheldon and Mike Collins, the son of former Congressman Mike Collins.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.