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: State House District 44
How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?
I had a long career in telecommunications in which I worked in all parts of our state. My wife and I raised our family here. I served in the military, including reserve components for twenty years. As a state representative, I have helped cut our income tax, send a portion of our budget surplus back to taxpayers, and kept our highway system the envy of other states. I am happy to have worked for passage of House Bill 1013, which ensures insurance parity for mental health with physical health. As Chairman of the Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee, I have made great strides with rural broadband. I have passed cybersecurity legislation. I have worked to ensure our electric grid is prepared for the coming challenges. Solid foundations have been set but there is still work to be done and I look forward to it.
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
The overall role of the government of Georgia in the lives of its people is put forth in the state constitution. Its chief roles are to protect Georgians and to provide for a basic education for our citizens. In accordance with the state constitution, our government must provide for law enforcement, a mechanism for homeland security and a fair system of justice. Our government must protect Georgians from unfair insurance policy and predatory lending practices. It must provide for a mechanism that ensures fair utility rates. Our government must protect Georgians against unfair and excessive taxation. These, and funding of education, are all measures I have worked for and will continue to work for in the General Assembly.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
Throughout my years as a state representative, I have worked on and have been able to pass legislation involving a wide range of issues. I authored and sponsored the crime victims’ bill of rights as well as school bus safety legislation. In the 2021session, I sponsored major cybersecurity legislation that is now law. I am a member of the ways and means committee, where I work hard to keep taxes fair and low. I am a also member of the appropriations committee, where I work to fund education and agencies such as law enforcement. I serve on the health committee, where I work for access for Georgians to affordable health services. As chair of the energy, utilities and telecommunications Committee. I will continue to work for a stronger power grid and for provisioning of rural broadband, among other important issues.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
My responsibility as a state representative is to represent the people of House District 44. When I am contacted by a constituent who has a problem with a state agency and needs help, I don’t ask what party he or she votes with, or about political views. I work to get the problem resolved. I am always willing to listen. However, I am a conservative Republican. I will not advocate for or vote in favor of a measure that is not in compliance with our constitution, weakens law enforcement, creates unfair taxation, increases the size of government or favors one race or ethnic group over another. I believe in the equality of opportunity and a justice system that serves all people. I do not believe in redistribution of wealth through government.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
My influences have come from many people. I have served with some great men and women. Two great men who are no longer with us are certainly among them: former U.S. Sens. Paul Coverdale and Johnny Isakson. Others include former Gov. Nathan Deal and the late Zell Miller, who was the first governor I served with.
Georgia has a lot to offer current and potential residents, but many parts of the state are becoming increasingly unaffordable. Please explain your proposed approach to address housing affordability through legislation and executive actions?
As a legislator, I do not issue executive actions. I believe in the free market. So long as it is in accordance with federal, state and local laws and ordinances, land and housing should be bought and sold through negotiation and agreement between the involved parties.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
Compromise is certainly an important part of politics. However, good government, first and foremost, must always be about doing what is right for the constituents one serves, and for the generations to come. The use of common sense, remembering the people who are represented, including the often forgotten people who pay their taxes, must always be primary components of the decision-making process.
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?
Republicans have consistently worked to make exercising one’s right to vote and the elections process more accessible and more secure. In Georgia, there is a process prescribed in law in which recounts, in some instances, will automatically be implemented. A recount may be requested by a candidate in certain other instances. The secretary of state may choose a certain election race for another recount. It is important that every prospective voter in Georgia, regardless of political party, understand that elections in our state are secure. Once the votes are tabulated and any recounts provided by law are completed, and the election has been held in accordance with the law, then the results must be accepted.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, state law and local enforcement authority will determine access to abortion.
The U.S. Supreme Court did not make a decision on abortion. Its decision was that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a right to an abortion. Therefore, states may enact laws regarding abortion that are in accordance with each respective state’s constitution. Enforcement of law is not a legislative function. When legislation is approved by the legislature and enacted into law, it is expected that the statute will be enforced as the statute prescribes. Georgia has a statute regarding abortions. I voted for the legislation that was enacted because it will save the innocent lives of the unborn.
Are there any programs/legislation you’ve sponsored or created to help people with disabilities?
The House Health and Human Services Committee, on which I serve, has passed voluminous legislation that helps those with disabilities. The appropriations committee, on which I serve, goes to great lengths to fund agencies that serve those with disabilities.
Georgia closed out its budget year with a “likely record surplus, billions of dollars in federal aid and a growing economy.” Georgia spends more than half of this money on education and health care. What would you want to see in the budget in terms of spending or taxes?
The budget process for both the upcoming fiscal year budget and for amending the current budget must begin with the governor’s official revenue estimates, which will not be released until January. That happens after a lengthy and thorough process by his office, the various agencies, his economist and his budget office. Then, in January, the legislature will receive his budget recommendations. The House will then be able, based upon all that information, to begin putting together the two budget documents. There will be no proposals from Republicans for tax increases. I certainly would not support any. There are agencies such as law enforcement that need increases in funding. My hope is that a portion of any surplus will go back to the taxpayers.
The Legislature often votes along party lines. When would you seek bipartisan action and what issues merit such consensus?
The great majority of votes taken in the legislature are nonpartisan in nature. I always seek support on any issue from members of the other party and/or their caucus. There are issues that relate more to certain parts of the state, or economic realities in various parts of the state in which the party affiliation becomes less important. It just comes down to common sense.