Gus Makris

Occupation: Senior tax counsel to Turner Broadcasting. Prior to joining Turner, he held the position of Tax Associate with the law firm of King & Spalding in Atlanta.

Gus Makris

Previous experience holding elected offices: None.

Other community service experience: Board Member, East Cobb Civic Association; Chairman, Judicial, District Attorney and Circuit Public Defender Compensation Commission (appointed by Gov. Deal); Member, American Israel Public Affairs Committee; Cobb County Chairman, Gov. Deal’s 2014 re-election campaign; Founding Member, Atlanta Chapter of the American Enterprise Institute’s Enterprise Club; Former Assistant Treasurer, Cobb County Republican Party; Delegate, numerous county, district and state Republican Party conventions.

Why should the voters choose you for this position?

I have visited thousands of homes, and people want a conservative reformer who is honest, principled and forthright. I believe conservative principles help lift people out of poverty, help people get jobs, help kids learn, and generally help people live independent, stable, productive, good, meaningful lives. People also want someone who is capable. As a tax lawyer, I have worked on acquisitions, financings, partnerships and other transactions at the highest levels of the economy; I do not practice in the courts. I also understand regulatory burdens. I want to bring my principles and capabilities to the Capitol to help people.

What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?

After talking with thousands of people, I understand that everyone faces different problems, so it is difficult to name the biggest one. On education, I will work to promote charter schools and reform school funding to reduce class sizes and put more money in the classroom, rather than administration. Traffic is also a problem, but there are no quick or easy solutions. We need to thoughtfully invest in our roads and require a cost-benefit analysis for all projects. On healthcare, we need to see what comes out of Washington and then work to reduce costs at the state level.

Would you support local or state funding for mass transit expansion in Sandy Springs and North Fulton, as proposed by some city and county leaders?

Sure, although the devil (and the angel) are in the details. The question is whether the costs are worth the benefits, and so I would need to understand the costs involved. But I come to the traffic and transportation discussion with the understanding that all major economic centers are based on transportation–the movement and interaction of people, goods and information. Trade, in other words. That is why most major cities are also ports and why Atlanta, as terminus for the railroads, was born. Our transportation infrastructure needs to keep pace with the continued growth of the metro Atlanta region.

What is your position on the potential legalizing of casino gambling in Georgia?

I am opposed to legalizing casino gambling. Several studies have linked casinos with increased crime. And I am not convinced we need it to create jobs. In fact, it may be one of the least productive forms of economic activity known to modern man. I think it cannibalizes, rather than creates, wealth. It is also anti-competitive, since casinos receive a government-granted monopoly in a geographic area to make gambling revenues and then use those revenues to finance losses on entertainment venues, hotels and restaurants. They can undercut traditional businesses, which, without the benefit of gambling revenues, must charge market prices.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.