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Kingston, Messinger face off for Congress
Jack Kingston

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of surveys answered by candidates in the November general election.

Georgia’s 1st Congressional District seat is up for grabs this year, and voters will choose between incumbent Rep. Jack Kingston and Lesli Messinger.

Kingston, a Republican from Savannah, is running for re-election to the post he has held since 1993. He believes the nation faces many challenges due to unemployment, national debt and war, and wants to continue his work in helping alleviate the struggles facing the nation.

His Democratic challenger, Messinger of Savannah, is a business owner who believes her volunteer work and work with several political campaigns make her qualified to serve constituents. She said she wants to work with Congress to help improve the prospects for the people of the first district of Georgia.

Early voting is under way from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday through Nov. 2 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Voter Registration Office in Pembroke and the County Administrative Complex in Richmond Hill. For more information about voting, call the Voter Registration Office at 653-3859.

The candidates surveys are as follows:

Jack Kingston, 1st Congressional District, Republican
Age: 57
Contact: Friends of Jack Kingston, P.O. Box 2133, Savannah, Ga. 31402; (912) 356-5200;
Family: wife: Libby, four children: Betsy, John, Ann and Jim.
Work experience: Vice president, Palmer, Cay, & Carswell (Savannah).
Education background: AB in economics (University of Georgia).
Civic activities: Christ Church Anglican (Savannah), Sons of the Revolution, Savannah Adult Baseball League (MSBL), Congressional Bible Study, Congressional Charity Football and Baseball Teams, UGA Gridiron, Solomon’s Lodge F&AM, Rotary Club of Savannah South (Honorary).
Political experience: U.S. Congress (1993-present), state representative (1985-1993).
Why are you running for office?: As a nation, we face many challenges. We are a country at war, a country with 23 million people unemployed or underemployed and a country that borrows 42 cents for every dollar it spends with a national debt larger than the size of our entire economy. While the challenges we face are great, this is America and we’ve never backed down from big challenges. I am running because I believe in this country and know we can overcome anything to leave a better future for our children and grandchildren.

Lesli Rae Messinger, 1st Congressional District, Democrat
Age: 57
Contact: 8 Ramshorn Court, Savannah, GA. 31411; 912-349-0643; Email:
Family: I was raised in the Midwest in Ohio farm country, on land my family had owned and worked for 125 years. My grandfather was a World War II veteran who earned the Bronze Star, my father was a member of the United Ironworkers’ Union and my son is a Teamster. My husband is a businessman and we have between us five grown children. I lost one son at age 24 to an accidental prescription drug overdose.
Work experience: I am a business owner and my husband is a stakeholder in a medical and health care research business based in the Philadelphia, Pa., area.
Civic activities: Guardian ad Litem – certified by the Ohio Courts; child advocacy programs; executive committee member, Pickaway (Ohio) County Public Schools; editor of the Parent-Child League for Madison County, OH Hospital System; drug abuse counselor, national advocate and speaker; activist lobbying Congress and federal agencies to improve funding for drug abuse and prevention programs for our nation’s schools; personally funded programs to feed and clothe children in Savannah neighborhoods – 2009-2011. 
Political experience: My political activities have involved local and national candidates for political offices.  I’ve worked diligently to help advance the proposition that “America can do better” and have worked tirelessly for several major national campaigns: Gore-Lieberman, 2000; Hillary Clinton for President, 2007-2008; and Obama-Biden, 2008.
Have you ever sought public office before? Until this election cycle, I never felt compelled to run for elected office.
Why are you running for office?: Given my opponent’s dismal 20-year voting record in Congress, I felt it necessary to enter the political arena.  I think my life experiences and ability to gain consensus will provide a fresh approach and honest point of view. I am passionate about helping the disadvantaged and have sponsored feed-the-hungry events and clothing drives in my Savannah community since 2009.

Read more in the Oct. 27 edition of the News.

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