Arthur Tripp, assistant to Jere Morehard, speaks at the Holmes-Hunter Lecture in The Chapel in Athens, Georgia on Thursday, February 15, 2018. The Chapel was full with people attending the lecture to hear Charlayne Hunter-Gault, one of the first African American students to enroll at The University of Georgia, speak. (Photo/Emily Haney, emilyhaney.com)

Arthur Tripp Jr., former assistant to University of Georgia President Jere Morehead, is running as an independent in the 45th district of the Georgia State Senate.

“Today’s politicians care more about ideology than they do about people,” Tripp said in an announcement video, criticizing both parties and calling his campaign “a breath of fresh air.”

Tripp’s campaign website mentions education, transportation, human trafficking and strengthening small business as key issues. District 45 is in Gwinnett County and contains Sugar Hill as well as parts of Buford, Lawrenceville, Braselton and Suwanee.

As assistant to the president, Tripp worked in student affairs and diversity relations, as well as serving as a liaison to the Staff Council, Retirees Association and Board of Visitors. He also represented Morehead’s office at campus events.

Tripp graduated from UGA in 2009 with a degree in Political Science and worked in politics before coming to work at UGA, serving as a senior policy advisor to Rep. David Scott, the Democratic congressman for Georgia’s 13th district.

In his role in Scott’s office, Tripp managed the congressman’s assignments on the House Financial Services and Agriculture Committees and oversaw the legislative process for House bills. Before becoming a senior policy advisor, Tripp spent five years as a legislative assistant for Scott.

The seat is currently held by Sen. Renee Unterman, a Republican who helped spearhead the controversial “fetal heartbeat” bill passed by Republicans earlier this year, legislation that bans most abortions in Georgia after six weeks.

Unterman recently announced that she is running for Georgia’s 7th congressional district. Incumbent Rob Woodall is retiring at the end of his term after narrowly winning reelection in 2018 over Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux with a margin of 419 votes.

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