From a play room inside Kidnetic Energy child care in Evans, Lee Benedict officially announced on Wednesday his candidacy to fill the 24th District state Senate seat, which is being vacated by state Sen. Jim Whitehead.
Benedict, 38, of Martinez, is a former U.S. Army staff sergeant and Iraq war veteran who works as a special needs learning specialist at George P. Butler Comprehensive High School in Augusta. The Republican is also the father of a 7-year-old son who has autism and muscular dystrophy.
Benedict said he will champion the cause of improved care for special needs citizens. He also said he will promote fiscal responsibility, work to curb the growth of government and push for more local control of school systems.
"We need someone to step up for the rights of the state, to limit government and someone to fight for the less fortunate," he said. Benedict said he will also work to deport imprisoned illegal immigrants convicted of felonies instead of making them a burden to taxpayers.
According to his rsum, Benedict was active in New York Republican politics before moving to Georgia eight years ago.
Whitehead is resigning his Senate seat to run for the 10th district U.S. Congressional seat that was held by the late Charlie Norwood.
Benedict joins a field for state Senate that includes former state Rep. Bill Jackson and Columbia County planning commissioner and Chamber of Commerce board member Brett McGuire.
The special election for the state Senate seat and the congressional seat will be June 19.
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