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Harrison talks national debt with congressmen

Roger Harrison, second from let, met with Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, center, on Wednesday to discuss the national debt. Also pictured are Dr. Tina Harris, professor of communications at the University of Georgia, Mike Kiely, managing director of government affairs at UPS and Bob Ferris, commercial real estate professional. (Special Photo)

Roger Harrison, second from let, met with Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, center, on Wednesday to discuss the national debt. Also pictured are Dr. Tina Harris, professor of communications at the University of Georgia, Mike Kiely, managing director of government affairs at UPS and Bob Ferris, commercial real estate professional. (Special Photo)

COVINGTON — Roger Harrison, the former head of the Covington-Newton County Economic Development Office, recently visited Washington, D.C., to call on members of Congress to fix the national debt crisis and discuss how it is affecting private businesses.

Harrison, who now is chief business development officer for Wagner Service Solutions Inc. based in Covington, is involved in the national Fix the Debt campaign.

The non-partisan campaign mobilizes community business, government and policy leaders that want to see elected officials solve the nation’s fiscal challenges.

Harrison met Wednesday with Georgia Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson and Congressmen Paul Broun and Tom Price.

The goal of the meeting was to impress upon elected officials that the federal debt is crippling the growth of private businesses in Georgia.

“Really if you look at Baxter’s decision, it took four years to decide if they wanted to build in America,” Harrison said, referring to the pharmaceutical giant that is locating in Stanton Springs. “That was a key indicator things are not headed in the right direction.”

He described the officials as providing a friendly audience. “The Republican party in essence wants to reduce the size of government, so they are a receptive audience. The problem is on both sides,” said Harrison, an Independent.

“Democrats don’t want to cut entitlements and spending. Republicans don’t want to raise taxes,” he said. “The solution has to come in both. We’ve got to cut a little bit and we’ve got to pay a little more. Those are tough pills to swallow. Those are tough decisions to make for politicians when they want to get re-elected … it’s not a popular decision, but it’s the right one to make.”

Harrison said the economic collapse is partly due to people borrowing more than they can afford “and our government is doing that now and nobody seems to know or care on the local level.”

“I don’t think people know how big a deal this is. It’s bigger than terrorists and North Korea, all of that combined. This is our children and grandchildren not having an America as we know it now. If we don’t fix this debt, they’re never going to know that America,” he said.

The Fix the Debt campaign is aimed at raising awareness on the local and state levels so constituents will urge their elected officials to address the crisis.

“It’s not going to go away. It’s not one of those things we can ignore and it will get better. When we ignore it, it only gets worse,” he said.

Harrison is a Monticello resident with a master’s degree in public administration and policy.

Wagner Service Solutions allowed Harrison to attend the meeting on company time. Wagner is in the outsourcing business for staffing, security, janitorial and vending. The company has an interest in the Fix the Debt campaign because a better economy means the company could staff more businesses, he said.

“Wagner is in the business of helping other businesses reach their goals and succeed. I can’t think of a better way to help us all succeed than to eliminate the burden of the national debt, get this economy rolling and put people back to work,” he said.

For more information on Fix the Debt, visit www.fixthedebt.org.