Former aide throws in hat for Senate seat

COVINGTON -- Jim Nichols has seen state politicians at work firsthand, and he didn't like the view. So, he decided to become one in hopes of making changes for the better.

Nichols is running as a Democrat for the state Senate District 17 seat.

"I was fed up with what I've seen going on in Atlanta. I worked as a legislative aide during the 2008 and 2009 sessions, and I was very unsatisfied with the leadership I was seeing on both sides of the aisle. I decided it was time to roll up my sleeves and get in there," he said.

Nichols said he's especially concerned about the handling of the state budget.

"Republicans have failed to provide a fiscally sustainable budget. You don't cut the budget with a hacksaw at the last minute," he said. "We're firing teachers and just not providing the basic services to protect and empower our citizens."

Nichols said legislators need to reprioritize and make sure they are keeping

commitments and obligations to citizens.

"We need to be more honest: If the amount we're spending doesn't match the revenue we've got, we need to re-evaluate what we're doing and our priorities to make sure we don't leave unfunded areas that are vital to the state," he said.

He said education is another key focus of his campaign, specifically tracking the number of high school students who graduate.

"We're not tracking right now. We don't know how many are graduating. There are kids falling through the cracks," he said.

Nichols said he would also work on election reform to encourage more participation.

"Sixty percent of our state House races went uncontested in 2008. That's unacceptable," he said, adding that he would like to implement an instant runoff voting system, where voters rank candidates in order of preference, "allowing independents to run and not creating a lesser of two evils scenario."

Nichols said he would also push for non-partisan redistricting where an appointed commission, rather than politicians, would be in charge.

Nichols is a member of the Henry County Democratic Committee and is second vice chair of the 3rd Congressional District for the Democratic Party. He also served on the National Advisory Board of Democracy for America in 2009.

Nichols lives in Stockbridge with his wife, Deana. He has an associate degree in political science from American River College in Sacramento, Calif., and is currently completing his undergraduate degree in economics and philosophy at Georgia State University. He is employed with UPS.

Nichols is the vice president of his homeowners association and is involved with several human rights organizations.

"I believe we really need fresh blood at the Capitol. We keep electing the same politicians, and I really believe I'm going to bring new ideas and energy. I'm not afraid to cross party lines, and I'm not afraid to work hard for the citizens of this district. I'm just an everyday citizen; I'm loading trucks every day. But I'm also committed to getting involved, and I'm committed to making sure we're using the best policies and applying the best research to make sure all our government programs are running efficiently and effectively."

For more information on Nichols, visit www.jimn2010.com; e-mail jimn2010@gmail.com; or call 770-312-6736.

Nichols will face fellow Democrat Nicholas P. Day in the July 20 primary. Republicans who qualified for the seat are Ester Fleming Jr., Rick Jeffares and Todd Hilton. The 17th Senate District includes all of Newton County and portions of Spalding, Henry, Rockdale and Walton counties.