Running on a platform of lower taxes and fair wages, Republican William Llop brings 30 years of experience as a certified public accountant to the 18-candidate race for the 6th Congressional District.
The Sandy Springs native ran for Congress from the 11th District in 2012 and 2016 but decided to run in the 6th — he lives just across the district line — when Tom Price vacated the seat to become U.S. health and human services secretary in February.
“I know what the problems are in America as it relates to taxes and regulations, and I know how to fix it,” Llop said.
He is in favor of reducing government spending and taxes by raising the minimum wage. He said large companies such as McDonald’s, Sears and Walmart take advantage of government welfare programs that give subsidies to employees who make minimum wage.
When Llop graduated high school in 1979, the minimum wage was $2.90. Adjusted for inflation, that number today would be $9.70 per hour, he said. If elected, he would work to raise the minimum wage to that number.
“Really what big business is doing is getting their labor subsidized off of corporate welfare,” he said. “The employers are the ones taking advantage of minimum wage.”
He said $22 an hour is the living wage in America, “but $9.70 is a step in the right direction. We can reduce the size of government by getting people off of the system. People don’t want a government handout; they want respect.”
Llop also favors tax breaks for the middle class and a reduction of the corporate income tax rate from 39 percent to 25 percent to spur growth in the economy and produce more jobs.
Immigration reform is another priority for Llop. His father came to the United States from Italy in 1936 and served in the U.S. military during World War II. He supports granting legal status to longtime illegal immigrants.
“These people are part of our culture now,” he said. “We need to give them legal status. They came here illegally, but they’ve been here now for 10 and 20 years. We’ve educated their children and given them jobs. We’ve made an investment in these immigrants, and we need to start getting our return in the form of them paying taxes like the rest of us.”
Llop, who favors restrictions on abortion, would work to repeal the Affordable Care Act and said he would have voted for the health care legislation House Republicans failed to pass last month.
The fourth of 11 siblings, Llop grew up in Atlanta and attended Riverwood High School in Sandy Springs. He now lives in Sandy Springs with his wife and 12-year-old twins in a neighborhood split between the 6th and 11th districts.
“When I walk my dog in the morning, three quarters of the walk is in the 6th District,” he said. “But our home is actually in the 11th.”
A member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Llop said that Israel should be a place open to all religions and that the United States needs to continue to support Israel.
In response to the apparent increase in anti-Semitic activity in the United States, Llop said the key to fighting all forms of discrimination against minorities is better education.
“Our country is based on freedom of expression, and we need to keep those freedoms in place,” he said. “It’s like we’re going backward when we need to go forward. We need to rejoice in individual faiths.”
In the 2016 Republican primary in the 11th District, won by incumbent Barry Loudermilk, Llop received only 9.8 percent, but he said he is optimistic about his chances to be one of the top two vote-getters in the April 18 special election and reach the June 20 runoff.
“Having this many candidates favors a person like me,” he said. “I think I have a strong presence in Atlanta, and I already have a decent following. That will help me get over the hump. I only need two out of 10 votes.”