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: Cobb County Commission District 3
How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?
I have been a practicing family law trial attorney for over 27 years. My extensive legal background gives me an edge as the next commissioner. I work daily with individuals and families in crisis and conflict. I help them navigate their contested legal issues. Conflict resolution is critical in both my practice area and as a commissioner. Skills I use daily in my job as an attorney, such as critical thinking, creative problem solving, willing to listen to others, and having common sense and compassion will assist me as the next commissioner.
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
I am not convinced that greater state or local government involvement in our lives will make things better for Georgians. But, I am also not convinced that less involvement is better for Georgians. Each and every increase or decrease of state government involvement must be independently studied to determine whether it benefits or hurts Georgians. Our state government role has been involved in making sure Georgians have rules in place for a just society, our environment is protected, social programs are available for those in need, police, fire, and medical serves are available, the infrastructure is maintained, adequate K-12 education is available, as well as parks and recreation, housing, courts, and transportation services.
As an advocate for the homeowners/residents, I would apply the above to do my best to make sure the homeowner/resident is safe, healthy and secure while balancing the interest of businesses.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
Affordable Housing. Those who protect, educate, and respond to our families’ needs should be able to obtain affordable housing in or near the area in which they are employed. Loans with incentives or strings to keep them in their home is a place to start.
Advocating for the homeowner/resident. There must be a balance between the interests of homeowners/residents and the business interests. I am not against growth, but it must be controlled and balanced. There must be policies and services aimed to improve the community’s health, safety and quality of life with the emphasis on the homeowner/resident.
Other issues of importance are public safety, the budget, transportation, job growth, and the environment.
But, the main focus and question is: what are the issues that matter to the homeowner/residents of District 3? That is what is most important.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
Mutual respect is important. I will listen and learn from those I speak with. I will also ensure that there is a platform for people to be heard and where I can listen, e.g., townhalls, zoom meetings, timely email responses, etc. As an attorney, I deal with difficult parties and with those whose views are different from mine. It is important to find common ground, and there is ALWAYS common ground – no matter how small. Empathy is also important when speaking to people. What are they feeling, why is this issue important to them, and how will a decision on this issue affect them, the community, or the state? These are just a few questions that need to be asked.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
Wayne Phillips, my mentor. A brilliant attorney and a knowledgeable historian who has been involved in Georgia politics for decades. In 2016, I was complaining to him about politics. He said to me, “What are you going to do about it?” He then told me about a special election and asked if I was interested. I had never contemplated running for office. I had no experience, but knew I had to do something to protect my family and my community. So, I ran for office. Wayne’s calm demeanor, his knowledge, and his interest in politics would be of tremendous support.
Wayne Phillips taught me: (1) Every single race should be contested. The voters must have a choice on the ballot; (2) Never self-fund your own race; (3) most importantly, Wayne directed me to Micah 6:8, “Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.” This embodies Wayne Phillips.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
A compromise can be a win-win situation. Both parties are obtaining near equality when there is a compromise. When determining whether to compromise, the parties should look at the potential consequences or the potential negative exposure if the two of them fail to come to an agreement. Consequences and exposure are great motivators when working toward a compromise. It is better to get a small win now versus losing everything with no hope of it returning later.
As an attorney, I spend a lot of time discussing settlements and compromises with my clients. I want to get my client the best outcome for them without great exposure or cost.
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?
After listening to the experts, reading about the elections and working as a poll worker, I believe the elections themselves are secure. I certainly will and have stood by the fact that there was no widespread voter fraud in the 2018 or 2020 elections.
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?
I have been consistent. The government should never be involved in any aspect of a person’s reproductive health. That decision is between the patients and their doctors. Period.
The U.S. Supreme Court eliminated nearly 50 years of the constitutional protections for abortion rights. My mother and grandmother had more reproductive rights than I now have in 2022. Shocking.