By Ann Marie Quill

Four Republicans and a Democrat are running for the Georgia House of Representatives seat from District 54, which covers a large part of Buckhead.

The seat had been held by Republican Ed Lindsey, the House Majority Whip who’s vacating his slot to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Beth Beskin, Loretta Lepore, John McCloskey and Angelic Moore will go before voters in the Republican primary on May 20, while Bob Gibeling is the lone Democrat in the race.

We asked the candidates to tell us a little about themselves. Below, in alphabetical order, is a sampling of what they had to say:

Beth Beskin:

“My central focus is reducing taxes and making government more accountable. I was the first candidate, and am the most vocal, to support eliminating the state income tax. I am a supporter of the Georgia Fair Tax. I also want to cut our tax burden by implementing a significant property tax cut.”

Beskin was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal as a liaison to the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education when APS was put on accreditation probation. “Through attending almost every school board meeting in that capacity for over a year and a half, I learned a lot about the successes, the failures and the potential of Atlanta’s public schools,” she said.

Visit Beskin’s website at www.bethbeskin.com.

Bob Gibeling:

“I am a very independent-thinking Democrat, judging each issue on its own merits. Our current political system promotes extreme positions which don’t represent the majority of our citizens. I have fought my whole life to get a healthy two-party system for Georgia that promotes competition for the best ideas.”

Gibeling is calling on the state to support MARTA and Grady Hospital. “We need a representative that is an advocate for Atlanta taxpayers, making sure the state supports those institutions which impact our taxes. I will be that strong advocate, working across party lines,” said Gibeling, who says that years ago he worked within the Republican Party.

Visit Gibeling’s website at www.bobgibeling.com.

Loretta Lepore:

“As an entrepreneur, I have experienced firsthand the opportunity that this country affords all of us to aspire to our dreams and achieve them. As a mom, my desire is for our children to be unlimited in their potential and to realize their dreams, too. To that end, I want to contribute to building a brighter future for Georgia. I believe we can start by nurturing innovation and entrepreneurs, creating the next wave of economic prosperity.”

Lepore says her journalism background is an asset. “As a seasoned communicator, I will be an effective voice and reasoned advocate for the citizens of Buckhead and Brookhaven, should I be elected as their representative,” she said.

Visit Lepore’s website at www.voteforlepore.com.

John McCloskey:

“I am running to keep this district in the hands of a representative who is pro-business, conservative and believes in smaller government, less taxes and less government interference. I’m worried the American Dream is being diminished by federal, state and local governments that are too large, inefficient and intrusive. I have two young children – Madison and Jack – and I want to make sure they have the same opportunities as my generation to get an education, prosper in their careers and have a family.”

McCloskey is a political rookie. “I’ve spent two decades in the business world as an executive for large companies,” he said. “I know what it takes to grow a business and create jobs.”

Visit McCloskey’s website at www.johnforga.com.

Angelic Moore:

“Buckhead is an economic hub and source for business and residential economic well-being, so it is vital that we elect someone who can get legislation passed and/or repealed as need be. After 20 years of working in business, government and politics, I have the necessary bipartisan relationships to get the job done for Buckhead, historic Brookhaven and for all of Georgia.

Moore’s paternal family helped found the national Republican Party. “Over the past 20 years I have volunteered, at the local and state levels, on numerous campaigns across our state, helping good candidates get elected and helping to create a Republican majority, all the while maintaining friendships and working relationships across party lines.”

Visit Moore’s website at www.mooreforstatehouse.com.