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 102
How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?
I have lived in Lawrenceville since 1992, I raised my children in this community, and they all graduated from Gwinnett County Public Schools. I am a small business owner and engineer who has served my community and been civically involved with both Gwinnett County Government locally and the Gwinnett County Democratic Party, where I served as Chairman. If elected, I would the be the first immigrant from Nigeria in the State House, and bring a diverse set of life experiences and perspectives to the Gold Dome. District 102 is a diverse district and I believe that having that diversity of perspective and experience is important. I have the skillset needed to help our business community, work with local leaders to get things done, and I have great working relationships with dozens of State Legislators, so that as a firstterm legislator I will be prepared to be an active participant in the business of the Legislature and propose my own legislation and amendments. As a Legislator I will work to reach out to everyone in my district and to address their concerns. Public service is my focus.
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
I believe in freedom and the American dream, when considering legislation and policy proposals I would always carefully weigh whether legislation will make government oppressive or intrusive on the people of Georgia. With that said, I believe government has an essential role to play in public services such as infrastructure and transit, our public school system, healthcare and criminal justice/public safety. I want to focus the role on government on where it can be most effective and help people, while limiting the role of government where it is harmful.
If you are elected (or reelected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
Protecting the rights of women and our voting rights, helping create an economy that works for every Georgian, fully funding our public schools, expanding access to healthcare, and working with local leaders to deliver results on infrastructure and other local priorities are areas where I would focus on as a member of the State House. I will work to make Georgia and Gwinnett an even better place to live and work.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
When I was Chairman of the Gwinnett County Democratic Party I regularly engaged with community members in the Republican Party as well, because I believe it is important that we listen to those from across the political spectrum. Georgia is a politically competitive state and I anticipate that we will remain politically diverse for years to come. Therefore, it is important that in my role as a legislator, and that all of our leaders work to find ways to find common ground and work to solve the problems our communities face. I will always be accessible and responsive to constituents and respectful of differing views, I will strive to be a fair and straightforward Representative, and my constituents will always know where I stand.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
I have learned from both state and national leaders and they have shaped my views on State Government and Politics. At the national level, President Barack Obama and former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill are examples of visionary leaders who were willing to work on bold policymaking that helped address the challenges of our times. At the state level I have learned from local leaders like State Representatives Dewey McClain and Pedro Marin about how to effectively navigate the Georgia Legislature and serve the people of Georgia. My newly created district was previously represented by multiple State Representatives including Representative Donna McCleod, Representative Rebecca Mitchell, and Representative Shelly Hutchinson, they have also provided me with mentorship as I pursue a new role as a Georgia State Representative.
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?
Gwinnett County is a county that is facing significant challenges when it comes to affordable housing. I want to work with local leaders including the City of Lawrenceville and Gwinnett County Government to help lower the cost of housing and create more housing options for our seniors, young families, and those in the workforce. The State of Georgia can do more to protect the rights of those who rent, to lower property taxes, and to encourage the creation of more affordable housing by the private sector to address this crisis.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
I have always been clear that I will not compromise my values or support any legislation that harms the people of Georgia, I am always open to finding ways to work together with other legislators to deliver wins that help the people of our state and the people of HD-102.
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 will do the same as it relates to the 2022 election results. To protect our democracy, we must show respect for the outcomes that voters decide. I am outraged by those who spread conspiracy theories and lies and encouraged the January 6th riots. Those who promote the ‘Big Lie’ spread by Donald Trump about the 2020 election should not be elected to serve the public.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, state law and local enforcement authority will determine access to abortion.
I support women’s rights and I am proudly pro-choice. The overturning of Roe v. Wade and a ban on abortion in Georgia that was passed by Republicans puts women’s lives at risk and makes our maternal healthcare crisis worse. I will work to support legislation that protects women’s rights and reproductive healthcare. I will always center the rights of women as I vote on and give input on policy.
Are there any programs/legislation you’ve sponsored or created to help people with disabilities?
People with disabilities deserve our respect and support, the State of Georgia can do more to support people with disabilities and their families. I would like to expand Medicaid, expand job opportunities that pay living wages for people with disabilities, and reform the states disability services and support programs, including the ones in our public schools, to better serve this community.
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 would like to see a pay increase for public servants in Georgia including social services workers, teachers, and law enforcement professionals. I would like to see an additional tax rebate for working and middle class families, and more money spent on substance abuse and mental healthcare treatment. We must address the QBE funding formula shortfall as it relates to our public schools, and provide more funding to help Georgia’s children. I will always support a balanced, fiscally responsible budget for Georgia.
The Legislature often votes along party lines. When would you seek bipartisan action and what issues merit such consensus?
Any opportunity we have to work in a bipartisan manner to help the people of Georgia should be acted on, that includes issues like healthcare, education, public safety, supporting small businesses and creating jobs and tax reform.