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 105
How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?
Over the past two decades, I have built a successful career as a skilled government affairs advisor, mediator and political advisor. I had the privilege of advising municipalities, county government entities and business owners from diverse backgrounds, veterans and women-owned enterprises — with strategic advice for their economic development, business expansion, technology and public engagement needs. I have worked closely on public policy with both Democrat and Republican state lawmakers. The work I have done has created jobs and economic investment in communities, including Gwinnett. I also have experience working on issues like transportation and supporting small businesses. I also serve on the Georgia Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Although I would be a first-term legislator, if I am elected, I am ready on to provide leadership and deliver positive results for the people of Dacula, Buford, and Lawrenceville. I understand how the legislature operates and what it takes to get things done.
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
I support freedom and believe government should not play an outsized role in the lives of Georgians. When considering any legislation or government policies, I would carefully weigh the impact that these policies would have on the lives of the people of our state and my district. There are some areas where government must take a proactive approach, but my default position is to limit the size and scope of government to ensure it is not intruding on our lives.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
There are several issues that theLegislature should be working to address to improve our quality of life. Priorities of mine include protecting our civil rights, including reproductive choice for women and voting rights, lowering property and income taxes, expanding access to health care, increasing teacher pay, and working to unleash economic growth that will benefit the diverse people of our state.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
I have spent decades working with stakeholders from across the political spectrum, both Republicans and Democrats to get things done and help our communities. I will continue this approach as a member of the state House. I believe it is important to be accessible, honest, and responsive with constituents. I will regularly hold town hall meetings and be accessible in other formats including email, telephone call, and social media to ensure that everyone in my district has an opportunity to be heard. I will work toward finding common ground whenever possible, rather than pursuing solutions that are ideologically extreme. Being a Representative means working to represent everyone in my district.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
Sen. Sam Nunn’s bipartisan leadership and public service have been a big influence on me. he ran for office to get something done at a time of gridlock in Washington and failures of government. He was a key leader on passing legislation that made our nation and our world safer. When he left Washington, he said, “I never accomplished anything without the help of someone from the other party.” I will not compromise on core principles, but I believe bipartisan solutions can help ease America’s current crisis. At a moment when partisan gridlock has become the expectation, I will work in a bipartisan way to facilitate policy discussions and craft bipartisan legislative solutions. We need leaders that are focused on doing what is good for our state, and our nation, rather than just for their political party.
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 chairman of the Gwinnett Community Outreach Board, we had work sessions on addressing the housing affordability crisis. Through this work I have learned a lot about the affordable housing shortfall that we are facing in Gwinnett. I will work with state, county, and local authorities to redefine and clarify the definition of “affordable housing”. Policymakers are not even sure how to define terms like affordable housing, and workforce housing. I will work to reform outdated zoning restrictions and bureaucratic processes. I will work on lowering the costs associate with lending process, and I will promote innovative collaboration with the private sector and local governments to deliver safe, high quality workforce housing that our communities desire. We need housing solutions that meet the needs of our seniors, working families, and our young people who are looking to get off to a good start in life and start a family.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
I will always be honest about my principles and values, but I always believe that working toward compromise is what it takes to get results that help people. Positive long-term outcomes when it comes to policy are built on small, incremental wins. We must find ways to meet in the middle and find areas we can work together, rather than failing to get things done because we are too focused on partisanship and denying a “win” to the other side. Issues like strengthening our economy, lowering the cost of living improving our public schools, delivering tax relief, and addressing traffic gridlock can be solved if we work together.
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 believe Georgia’s elections are secure and stand by the results of the 2018 and 2020 elections, I believe these elections were decided fairly and am confident that 2022 will also be decided fairly. Those who cast doubt on the integrity of our elections weaken our democracy and reduce the public trust. I believe in examining the facts and learning about our voting and elections processes, and do not supporting casting doubt about the outcome of our elections.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, state law and local enforcement authority will determine access to abortion.
I am pro-choice and pro-freedom. I support freedom for Georgia women to control their bodies and access reproductive healthcare. Efforts to completely ban abortion puts Georgia women in danger and will make our maternal healthcare crisis even worse. I will support legislation that protects access to reproductive health care and allows medical professionals to provide care without fear of criminal prosecution.
Are there any programs/legislation you’ve sponsored or created to help people with disabilities?
People with disabilities and their families deserve attention and support from the state Legislature, I will work to reform our state’s healthcare and benefits coverage system in a way that will help our disabilities communities and their families. I would like to expand Medicaid in Georgia, reform the Katie Beckett Waiver Program, and work to address many of the workplace and financial challenges that people with disabilities face in our state if we work together.
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?
I support targeted expenditures to address challenges our state is facing, for example I would like to see pay for teachers and law enforcement increased. With that said, I believe it is important to be fiscally responsible and maintain a balanced budget while protecting the state’s rainy-day fund to cover future economic and fiscal challenges that will come. I would like to increase the homestead exemption and provide meaningful income tax relief for Georgians. I want to empower taxpayers by putting money back into their pockets and believe that they will use that money better than government would.
The Legislature often votes along party lines. When would you seek bipartisan action and what issues merit such consensus?
Economic insecurity is a serious problem in Georgia that negatively impacts the physical, mental, and social health of our citizens. I will do everything to make sure our citizens have enough economic upward mobility to survive. Throughout America’s history and today, small business-led entrepreneurship and innovation have been powerful economic forces that propel the nation and our small businesses forward. Our retailers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners are the heart and soul of the Georgia economy. Inflation and the COVID pandemic have also excessively impacted retailers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs. When I am in the office, I will advocate for our workers’ rights, empowering retailers and small businesses, and continue to incentivize free enterprise and entrepreneurship that has been a key driver of growth for the State of Georgia. I believe that issues like keeping our communities safe from crime and supporting law enforcement, strengthening our economy, providing tax relief, and addressing healthcare, education, and housing challenges can be achieved in a bipartisan manner.