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Long-time lawmaker has challenger
Zena McClain vs. Ron Stephens Tuesday
Zena McClain - photo by Photo provided.
For the first time in more than 10 years, the Georgia House representative from the 164th District is being challenged for his seat.
Republican incumbent Ron Stephens, 56, will face Democrat Zena McClain, 41, next week in the general election. It’ll be the first time that Stephens has been challenged since he was elected to represent South Bryan, and parts  of Chatham and Liberty counties in 1997. He beat Joey Crawford and won a special election to fill the unexpired term of Sonny Dixon.
Stephens, who lives in Savannah, is running again to see through some of the reforms he’s started.
“I got a lot of unfinished tax work,” he said. “There’s some unfinished business that we need to take care of, as it relates to education. And with my position and leadership, I can see that to its fruition.”
McClain, also of Savannah, said she threw her hat in the political ring this year because she felt voters should have a choice.
“For (13) years, they have not had a choice because Ron has not been opposed,” she said.
Specifically, Stephens said he’d still like to freeze property taxes for some residents of Bryan County. Stephens, a pharmacist, said that creating jobs, especially in Bryan County, will be another priority for him if he is re-elected.
“It’s all about jobs,” he said.
Though tax policies have been the crux of Stephens’ time in the House, he said he’s also proud of a bill he sponsored that awarded Georgia Vietnam and Korean veterans their high school diploma if they quit school early to serve their country.
McClain, a lawyer with a practice in Savannah, also said she is concerned about taxes. If elected, she pledged to decrease the tax burden on working families, improve fairness and still generate money for state.
“We need someone to go in there and address the needs of the working people,” she said.
McClain, who specializes in employment law, said she’d also work to balance the budget, support policies to improve education and make sure citizens in her electorate are educated about the issues that affect them.
But making sure additional taxes aren’t levied on working people is the most important issue to her. 
“We have had enough taxes,” she said.
Stephens said his years in the state House qualify him for another two years in his position. He serves on many different committees in the Georgia House of Representatives, including the Economic Development Committee, the Ways and Means Committee and the Rules Committee. Stephens said he has the power to allow bills to pass through the house.
“I have influence,” he said.
McClain said her 14 years as an employment attorney make her a qualified candidate for the House, as does her drive to be a public servant.
“I think that there’s a need for more people to go into public service,” she said. “All my life, I wanted to be a public servant … I didn’t get into law to make a lot of money.”

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