Congressman Buddy Carter addressed school safety, taxes and other issues at Bryan County High School Friday afternoon.
Carter’s visit with economics and government students was originally planned as a discussion about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but with the school shooting in Florida last week that left 17 people dead, the topic of school safety was bound to come up.
“I can’t imagine what those families are going through,” he said. “No student should be scared to go to school.”
Carter made it clear that he feels the issue is one of school safety and not gun control.
“I’m a strong advocate of the Second Amendment,” he said. “But I do think we need to take a look at our background check system.”
The two-term representative said he is in favor of letting teachers who have the training and qualifications to hold concealed carry permits be allowed to do so in schools.
“This is also a mental health issue,” he said. “We need to make sure that people who need help get it.”
Carter added that there is no single answer to improving school safety.
“Washington, D.C., is not the only one with answers,” he said. “We need local and state input. What works in one school may not necessarily work in another.”
On the topic of tax cuts, Carter said students were probably wondering what it means to them.
“A lot of you may not have jobs or even pay taxes yet, but you are going to inherit our national debt,” he said. “That’s going to have a lot of impact on you.”
Carter said he believes the national economy can grow 4 percent a year and that the average taxpayer will see about $2,000 in savings from the act.
“People can spend their money better than we can,” he said. “And with the tax cuts for companies, they’ll be able to reinvest that money and create more and better paying jobs.”
As the only pharmacist currently serving in Congress, Carter also touched on the opioid epidemic, noting that some 1,300 people in Georgia died last year from overdosing.
“If you know someone who needs help, or if you need help, reach out and ask for it,” he said. “We need you.”
Students also asked about alternative energy, education and military spending.
Carter said he supports “all of the above” when it comes to energy production, “from solar power to fossil fuels,” and that he wants the country to focus on affordable energy and energy independence.
Carter said he also wants to see schools put more emphasis on vocational training and that recent budget agreements will boost defense spending.