The responses to these questions were edited for length and clarity by the Georgia Decides team. Each candidate was allotted 150 words for each answer and some answers were trimmed in order to abide by that length requirement. Other edits were made to make sure readers can fully follow and understand the candidate responses.
Campaigning for: Secretary of State
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
As the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, my parents fled from an oppressive regime that denied them basic civil liberties, including the freedom of speech and open elections. I believe our government should not restrict fundamental freedoms, including the right to privacy and health care decisions. Protecting the freedom to vote is crucial to our democracy, and the government should not change the rules to influence who can and cannot exercise their right to vote. Over the past four years, access to voting for eligible Georgians has become more restrictive — not more expansive. Georgians are best served when unnecessary government impediments are removed for eligible voters. I believe in expanding access, whether it comes to removing barriers for small business owners and entrepreneurs or reducing barriers for eligible voters.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
First and foremost, I will ensure that Georgia’s elections are accurate and secure, and that every eligible Georgian has the opportunity to vote, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, physical disabilities, sexual orientation, or language spoken. I will also support all 159 counties in administering their elections by making sure every county has the necessary support. I will not use the office to blame election officials for problems created or exacerbated by reckless legislation. I will also remove barriers for small business owners and practitioners who obtain their licenses from the secretary of state’s office. I will also strengthen consumer protections by creating a public registry for fraudulent nonprofits and securities. I will make sure Georgians know the secretary of state’s office is protecting the accuracy and accessibility of our elections and supporting their livelihoods and businesses.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
Georgians agree that we should have free, fair and efficient elections. As secretary of state, I will protect the freedom to vote for every eligible Georgian and invest in voter education and communication. I will build trust in the secretary of state’s office through transparency and communication, while protecting Georgia from threats to our democracy. For example, the current administration has failed to adequately respond to the incident with the Coffee County voting system, and then made contradictory statements in the aftermath. That will never happen when I am secretary of state. As a lawmaker, I have successfully worked across the aisle on common ground issues, including passing lifesaving legislation to protect victims of domestic violence. I will continue to work on common ground issues, including license reciprocity and taking the advice of cybersecurity experts when it comes to protecting our election system and confidential information.
There were politicians who questioned the outcomes of Georgia elections in 2018 and 2020. Do you think Georgia’s elections are secure and will you stand by the results?
I have stood by the results of every previous election and will continue to respect the will of Georgia voters. In the aftermath of the 2020 election, I exposed the lies about our elections and fought against Senate Bill 202, which is based on these lies. As a lawmaker, I voted against the current election machines and advocated for hand-marked paper ballots with an auditable trail. The breach in Coffee County highlights the need for a more secure system and a secretary of state who takes threats to our democracy seriously. Instead of downplaying those threats, we must improve our election security. I will follow trusted cybersecurity experts to fix the vulnerabilities uncovered by the federal cybersecurity agency, CISA.
As Secretary of State, name any change you would seek to broaden or restrict voting in Georgia.
Over the past four years, access to voting in Georgia has unnecessarily become more restrictive. I support returning the secure drop boxes with 24-hour monitoring, which were available to Georgians early in the morning or after a late shift at work, until they were limited to business hours under Senate Bill 202. I also support same-day voter registration for eligible Georgians, which other states have securely implemented and which has made voting more convenient and accessible. I will expand language access for Georgia voters. I will also improve voter education and communication, such as reaching voters via text message and email about time-sensitive changes to polling places. I also oppose any plan to end automatic voter registration. I will make sure Georgia does not yield to the small group that wants to see us undo decades of progress and go backwards.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
As the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, I learned early on that we must stand together to protect our basic civil liberties. My father was incarcerated by his government for three years and subjected to hard labor and starvation. When he was released, my parents fled their country in the middle of the night on a boat for the promise of a country governed by the rule of law where civil liberties are protected. My family’s journey taught me that our civil liberties are never guaranteed, and that the loss of democracy does not happen overnight. Government overreach, including book bans, restrictions to voting rights, and abortion bans, are threats to our freedom and our democracy. As secretary of state, I will make sure that our foundational civil liberty — the freedom to vote — is always protected.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
I will never compromise on my fundamental values — the belief in equality and justice for all. As a lawmaker, I have worked across the aisle to pass legislation that benefits all Georgians, which required some compromise and smaller victories. My approach is best exemplified by the passage of legislation to protect victims of dating violence. In 2021, I worked across the aisle to pass this lifesaving legislation. Though I wanted the legislation to be more expansive, providing some immediate protections to vulnerable Georgians was paramount. But I did not stop there. In 2022, I worked to update this legislation and expand protections for victims of domestic abuse. I always knew the ultimate goal, and though we took smaller steps than we would have liked, we still passed lifesaving protections for victims that had been previously overlooked by the General Assembly.