CONYERS -- Saying he will try his best to be "involved and informed," Conyers resident Rodney Upton recently announced his bid to represent the 95th District in the Georgia House.
The 29-year-old political newcomer said he was running for the seat because he felt that public office lacks adequate representation.
"The seat is for a state representative, and I feel that we have been under-represented," Upton said.
Rep. Toney Collins, D-Conyers, holds the office that represents portions of Rockdale, Newton and Gwinnett counties.
Upton makes the third challenger to Collins' seat and the first Republican to enter the race.
Andre Cooper, an investigator with the Newton County Public Defender's Office, and Delta flight attendant Pam Dickerson have also thrown their hats in the ring and are running as Democrats.
Besides under-representation, Upton added that he is also running because of what he feels is an "overgrown federal government."
States should have "at least some say" in decisions being made in Washington, according to Upton.
"I don't think the federal government should be able to overstep its bounds," Upton said. "I think that any state should be a check to the federal government."
Public safety was also an important concern to Upton. He said he has gotten in touch with the law enforcement of the three counties in the district to find out what needs to happen locally to reduce crime and make communities safe.
Upton also pointed to small business owners and job growth.
"State policies need to be changed to facilitate job growth," Upton said.
As a small business owner himself, Upton said he has experienced having to cut payrolls in order to be cost-effective and has dealt with a "confusing tax system."
The tax code makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to start and maintain businesses and maintain employees, according to Upton.
"So I think that job growth is something that we need to look at," Upton said.
Constituents can expect to hear and see more of Upton as the candidate starts going door-to-door and fielding questions in the district. Upton said he wants to meet and get to know different people and will be "letting them know that I'm a guy that they can trust."
"I understand because I'm the man on the street and I have to live this," Upton said.
Though a political newcomer, Upton said he knows and has talked with some state representatives.
Upton has been a Rockdale County resident for the last 13 years and is heavily involved in his church and homeschool group. Currently in college and seminary study, Upton is a ministerial candidate with the Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church in Conyers.
A self-proclaimed "family man," Upton is married with six children. He and his family live in north Rockdale.