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Gov. candidate profile Otis Putnam
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SAVANNAH — Otis Putnam says he's a descendant of Israel Putnam, a Revolutionary War hero for whom Putnam County in north Georgia is named.

Putnam has been active in both the Republican and Democratic parties, and has run unsuccessfully for various offices.

He's also coached soccer and is an hourly employee at the Brunswick Walmart.

But he's done nothing that most people likely would think has prepared him to be governor, a job he says the Lord led him to seek.

Putnam says he's qualified because he runs his household on a Walmart salary.

"I know how to sacrifice, save, make tough decisions just to make everything work out," Putnam said.

He says Georgia's economy resembles his family's.

"I am a regular guy like the voters in Georgia, and I know what they are going through, and I can help them," he added.

Indeed, Putnam doesn't lack confidence.

"I will fix Georgia's problems with wisdom and truth," he pledged. "I have faith that God will make Georgia prosperous again.

"I support more jobs and getting people back into homes. I do not know all the answers, but I will work hard for solutions."

Like most GOP candidates, Putnam says raising taxes isn't a solution.

"I do not support a tax increase in any form," he said. "The government's appetite for more tax money is never satisfied."

Putnam wants a leaner state government.

"We need to eliminate duplication of state services and wasteful spending," he said, "but we must provide basic essential services. The money we need for services is in the budget, but we have to find it."

He says he'd solve the state's water crisis by negotiating agreements with Florida and Alabama concerning disputed access to river flows.

"Conservation and more reservoirs are not the answers to the water issue," he said.

Putnam says less regulation and more parental involvement are the keys to improving education in the state.

He says he doesn't see a lack of campaign funds or political experience or his late start as obstacles.

Putnam launched his campaign April 26 and was one of the last of the 14 major-party candidates for governor to enter the race.

He said he didn't do so earlier because he lacked "the financial means" to run; the qualifying fee is $4,180.

But, because "people get bored with a candidate when they are around too long," his timing isn't a problem, he said.

In any case, he said, he's not intimidated by his opponents.

"This election is about the people," he said, "not how much money one can raise in an election cycle.

"I can defeat them with the truth and the Lord's grace. ... This race is about the people, not the opponents."

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