Dan McEntire says he's not looking for a career in politics.
"I've had a good career in the private sector. I've been in the carpet business 47 years this year," said McEntire, founder and president of Supreme Carpet in Chatsworth who served as a mayor of Chatsworth for two two-year terms in the 1980s.
McEntire is challenging incumbent Chuck Payne in the June 9 Republican primary for state Senate District 54. That district includes Whitfield and Murray counties and parts of Gordon and Pickens counties. No Democrat qualified.
McEntire said if he is elected he will serve no more than three terms.
"I believe in term limits," he said.
A native of Chatsworth, McEntire graduated from Murray County High School in 1972 and later attended Dalton Junior College. He and his wife Becky, a Dalton native, now live in Dalton.
"I have lived in Murray and Whitfield counties my entire live," he said.
"We accomplished quite a bit for Chatsworth when I was mayor," he said. "We put in a new sewer plant. The sewer plant we had was old and had a lot of problems, so we replaced it. We ran over 55 miles of new water line during my time as mayor and reached people not only in Chatsworth but in Murray County with water service. Right at the end of my term, the council voted to build a new City Hall."
McEntire said he continued his public service after leaving office by serving on the boards of Cherokee Estate and MountainView Boys Group Home, Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes in Whitfield and Murray counties, at different points during the past 30 years.
He said he was led to run for state Senate because of some issues he cares strongly about.
"One of the big issues, especially here in the 54th District, is illegal immigration," he said.
He said he believes that illegal immigrants and their family members impose costs on local school systems and healthcare systems.
He said he supports a proposal to create a separate, distinctive driver's license for illegal immigrants who have been granted a work permit by the federal government. Payne voted against that measure when it came up two years ago because he said it would cost a lot of money to implement and was unneeded.
McEntire said a separate, specially marked driver's license would prevent someone from using it as an ID to vote or to obtain government benefits.
McEntire said he is a "strong supporter of the Second Amendment. I own a gun myself."
He said he is pro-life concerning abortion.
McEntire said he will not accept money from political action committees or from lobbyists.
Early voting in the Republican Party primary is underway. In Whitfield County, early voting is in the elections office in the courthouse from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (Memorial Day excluded) through June 5. In Murray County, early voting is at the Recreation Department at 651 Hyden Tyler Road, Chatsworth, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (Memorial Day excluded) through June 5. Early voting will also be held on Saturday, May 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in both counties.