Knight spoke after a brief introduction from Jesse Maddox, chairman of the Spalding County Democratic Party.
“We’ve got 159 counties in Georgia and every one of them is important to me,” Knight said.
He said someone who does not get out to listen to the voters ought not run for office and that although he came to them in a coat and tie, he comes from farming stock and can be found shaving hogs.
“We’ve been oppressed recently,” he said.
He said the interests of working- and middle-class families have been ignored under the Bush administration and that Chambliss was only concerned with the wealthiest 1 percent of the population.
After a brief discussion about the economic situation - including workers who once had well-paying jobs now working two or three jobs to make ends meet and $4.20-per-gallon diesel fuel - Knight shifted into his plan to reverse the situation.
“We can grow more jobs in Georgia than any state on the East Coast,” he said.
He said that the green industry - “green-collar jobs” as his literature puts it - is the key to economic recovery in America. Retrofitting government buildings to be more energy-efficient and becoming energy-independent are two measures he would support.
The key to this, he said, is cellulosic ethanol. He said that sugar-based ethanol involving production of fuel from corn is unwise but cellulosic ethanol could be manufactured from kudzu and pecan shells and could be turned into $1-per-gallon diesel fuel.
“It’s a matter of national security,” Knight said.
He said there are legitimate terrorist threats but the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, which he said has to do with controlling the supply of oil, generates more terrorists.
He said that even Chambliss said there are 3,000 days until Medicare becomes insolvent and 7,000 days until Social Security becomes insolvent. Printing more money would only cause further inflation - new wealth would have to be generated. He also said that climate change brought about by fossil-fuel use is causing job losses, including the destruction of crops by late freezes and the recent fires in South Georgia.
“I’m proposing this energy solution for Georgia and the country,” he said.
He said his energy program would simultaneously deal with climate change, jobs, the war and the lack of money for infrastructure repair.
“Our house is not in order right now,” he said.
He then took questions. In response to a question about how he would encourage alternative energy as a senator, he said he would support diverting money spent on corporate welfare for oil companies, in whole or in part, to support an alternative-energy infrastructure that would enable farmers to take their organic waste to be processed into biofuel. He also said withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq would free up funds for alternative-energy projects. He also said he would support government incentives for energy conservation.
In response to another question, he said he would support the health-care proposals of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton and said that if their proposals were implemented, health-care costs would drop by $1,000 to $2,000 per year.
He also criticized the No Child Left Behind program, which he said is too rigid and over-emphasizes tests.