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: Attorney General
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
Our state constitution defines the top role of government as protecting lives and property.That has provided an organizing principle for my leadership as attorney general. One way I’ve fulfilled that duty is by creating, for the first time, prosecution units that go after violent street gangs and human traffickers statewide. These criminals destroy lives and communities, and we’re working to do put a stop to it.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
In the next four years, I will build on the incredible success that we’ve already achieved with our gang and human trafficking prosecution units. It’s my goal to put criminals who hurt innocent Georgians behind bars. I will also continue the fight against federal overreach we’ve seen under the Biden administration. That includes my fight against their vaccine mandates and the Department of Justice’s baseless lawsuit against our election law.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
I work every day to uphold the rule of law without fear or favor to any group. We’re all protected equally under the law. In our work to keep our economy open during the pandemic, we assisted not only business owners but also workers who depend on paychecks to support their families. When I take on criminal street gangs, I’m working to protect all communities in Georgia. But the biggest impact of these efforts is often found in lower-income, racially diverse and immigrant populations which suffer disproportionately from violent crime. I represent all Georgians by protecting their lives, livelihoods and liberties.
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?
My office has defended the state and repeatedly prevailed against groups aligned with Stacey Abrams that falsely claimed voter suppression in the 2018 election. If the Department of Justice moves forward with its baseless lawsuit against our election law, I feel confident in a victory for Georgia. After the 2020 election, my office went undefeated in defending the state against allegations of fraud and won a highly publicized case brought by Texas. I have served on the front lines of defending the integrity of Georgia’s elections. As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, I’ll uphold the rule of law and let the facts determine my views on the upcoming election, just as I have in the past.
As Attorney General, name any change you would seek to broaden or restrict voting in Georgia.
Those seeking to change our voting laws should run for governor or the General Assembly and not for attorney general. It’s my job to defend and uphold the laws of Georgia, regardless of my personal views. That’s what I’ve done and will continue to do. Our democracy depends on the rule of law, not activist attorneys general. As I defend Georgia’s election laws in court, I have the facts on my side. Approximately 96% of Georgians are registered to vote. We have up to 17 days of early voting and plentiful time to request an absentee ballot. We’re seeing one record turnout after another, completely undermining the false claims that security measures like photo ID are “suppressing” voters. Georgia has proven that states can have both access for all legal voters and election integrity without tradeoffs.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
I had the great privilege of working for two great Georgia statesmen: former Sen. Johnny Isakson and former Gov. Nathan Deal. I’ve adopted sakson’s slogan that there are two kinds of people: friends and future friends. Preserving relationships with those who oppose me on an issue has allowed me to work with them on mutual interests at a later time. Similarly, Deal accomplished big goals by seeking consensus with legislators. Working with legislators to accomplish their individual goals created goodwill that led to large legislative majorities for his initiatives and empowered him to make difficult but important decisions that benefitted the state in the long run. Both showed you get more done for the people of Georgia with an extended hand than with a clenched fist, and you can do it without violating your own principles.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
In the legal world, fighting every battle to the end in court isn’t feasible or cost-effective. My office works every day to bring differing parties together to find common ground and mutually beneficial agreements. I will fight without compromise when it comes to protecting the rights of Georgians and state authority. For example, I will not compromise with the Department of Justice in its pending lawsuit against our election law. Their case is a political flyer, not a legal argument. I will not stand for the federal government using the courts to bully our state while leveling utterly false charges about the effects of our law.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, state law and local enforcement authority will determine access to abortion. If elected, how will you use your authority to influence abortion access or enforcement of abortion restrictions?
As attorney general, I have and always will defend the laws of Georgia. It is not the role of the attorney general to make policy, and a candidate seeking to influence “access” or “enforcement” should run for a policy-making office.
In this role, you would represent the state in legal matters and defend its rights. Under what circumstances do you think it is the duty of the Georgia attorney general to assert state’s rights?
It is the job of the attorney general to defend the laws of Georgia and stand up to federal overreach that violates the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. As attorney general, I have fought back against federal policies under the Obama administration that would have violated the rights of Georgia property owners, and I sued the Biden administration for its unconstitutional efforts to enforce vaccine mandates that violated the rights of individuals and businesses.