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 41
How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?
I’ve been involved with community affairs in the Osborne Milford area of South Cobb for 10 years serving on a Stakeholder Group to provide direction and accountability for a new recreation center. I’ve advocated for the rebuild of Osborne High School when we were prioritized dead last and endanger of not being funded. I’ve taught community members how to solve problems with road repairs and speeding issues and I’ve been actively involved in fighting crime in our neighborhood by helping neighbors get their voices heard. As a real estate developer, I’ve worked with community members to evaluate projects from a balanced perspective. We’ve fought against projects that were bad for the community like large apartment developers building projects that don’t serve the community. When county leadership failed to secure land for the community center project, we persisted in preventing an apartment developer from taking the choice land for our future community project.
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
Safety is job number one. Without the thin blue line that keeps our communities free of chaos we would have a terror-based quality of life. We must work together to build the kind of honest and strong relationships that raise the bar for public safety and not lower it. Incentives need to be established to build strong organizations that allow growth and promote loyalty. A clear understanding for local municipal code and our constitution can work in our lives is lacking and needs to be taught in our primary and secondary public education system. Municipal codes that govern land use, processes for asking for open records and administrative procedures and oaths of office need to be taught at our middle school, high school and college levels. When a board member, a commissioner or a senator fails to uphold the constitution, everyone coming though our secondary education system should understand the process for holding officials accountable.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
Housing choice is a solvable problem. We have examples of communities with great housing choice from the 1920s and 1940s all over the state of Georgia. The way cities are born and evolve has changed with the introduction of the automobile. We’ve not taken the measures to address those in constructive ways with our zoning regulations and our requirements for rezoning. These systems are due an update to include more productive metrics to ensure our tax base stays strong and we are creating communities that promote interaction across and between social classes in a way that use based zoning tends to create a sense of separation and division.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
I visit all kinds of places of worship and engage people in my community when I am in the line at the grocery store, the hardware store or at the gas station. The art communities I’ve been involved in have a more respectful culture for communication about ideas. In the world of art, it’s honorable to describe an aesthetic rather than to accept or reject. Many times what you see and how you might describe something may honor the creator even if it’s not your cup of tea. Honor is the first rule or order, but you can’t allow bad behavior to push you around. It’s easy for powerful people to spin perspectives. It’s up to each of us to ask good questions and to stand up for your values and convictions in a manner that promotes honor and honorable dialog even if we don’t like the people we are working with.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
I had the opportunity to work on T.J. Hudson’s campaign for secretary of state. There is no one in my life that I’ve been around who listens like T.J. You want to like him because you know he cares about what you think. Garland Favorito impresses me as well. he is skilled at bringing out the most pressing issues and communicating with elegance. I like the manners of Burt Jones. Burt knows how to build a team and we need that under the Capitol. I love Brian Kemps’ ability to speak with great leadership and stand up to bullying even, when it comes from a more powerful president. I thought Kasim Reed was brilliant at race relations. He brought in Andrew Young when we had tension and rioting and there was a standard of quoting his experience with Martin Luther King Jr that no one could deny. That was excellence.
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?
I believe to address the problem as one of affordability is biased toward failure, hopelessness and collectivism. What we have in many places in government is urban planning and development illiteracy. What we have is a market that prevents the choices that we need to be viable and livable. We can take is smaller and mix up the block a bit. Take a look at the Midtown Garden District adjacent to Piedmont park and walk the streets. You have a 10- or 20-block area that has one of the widest varieties of choices in housing that you could want. A person can purchase a $120,000 townhome or a $2-million single family home. In the same area you can live in a duplex, a quad or a small apartment building. People of humble means and people of modest or high wealth live on the same block, eat at the same restaurants and play in the same parks.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
When negotiating a real estate contract the win-win philosophy is helpful. Both sides need to come away winning. Trades and deals about about utility and value. The value of the gain should be worth what you are giving up, it that’s not the case it’s time to go back to the drawing board. It’s said that when you get to 80% of what you wanted you’re probably at the finish line.
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’ll stand behind the constitution of our state. When a county or state organization allows transparency or process for validation I believe you have to trust. As a motorcycle racer, I’ve observed people creating performance machines and it’s a matter of the race, the racer and the machine. If the machine exceeds what is allowable it get’s disqualified. I feel it’s pretty safe to say that no one by human eye can decode a QR code and the state constitution is clear that a machine that doesn’t produce a human readable ballot is not legal. It’s time to stop making excuses and stand behind the constitution.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, state law and local enforcement authority will determine access to abortion.
It’s my understanding that the Supreme Court’s ruling was one of jurisdiction and authority and not a direct ruling on abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court never had the authority to tell states how to behave in regards to the unborn. I believe that healthy committed parents are vital to the success of our communities and our state. We need more that understand the value and sacrifice it takes to parent a child. Our baby momma culture does not promote healthy development of adults. It literally takes two to tango and I believe it’s reasonable to expect that tango dancers understand the consequence of sexual reproduction can produce a new life. When we interrupt what God has knitted in the womb we are due a penalty. The way new life happens through reproduction is a mystery that man has not been able to replicate.
Are there any programs/legislation you’ve sponsored or created to help people with disabilities?
I have generously supported a local restaurant that is run by an owner who uses a wheelchair. I don’t consider him disabled. I consider him successful, insightful and courageous. I believe it’s important to be a part of people’s success as long as their aims are not malicious. In that case, the approach is a different one. I believe that it is a disability that most of the questions asked here are from a biased political perspective and that can affect people’s mindset on legislation.
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?
A government that is small and promotes opportunity is a good one. I believe taxes are theft. We are served well when our legislation promotes market solutions and stays out of peoples lives and backyards. I believe that our low income tax credit system is broken and our rezoning criteria to local governments are ill-equipped to promote greater housing choice. A system to promote small mixed used nodal communities with small parcel sizes will solve our housing crisis and create a resilient property tax base for local governments to manage. Small government is best because it provides for greater liberty to achieve your purpose in life. The power to rezone is the power to create wealth from our land. The surplus of dollars deserves to be in the hands of those who are hustling, working hard and building great lives not the government.
The Legislature often votes along party lines. When would you seek bipartisan action and what issues merit such consensus?
I believe in representational government and that a representative that stays close to the will of his people is a successful representative. I believe that party representation may look different depending on the community you represent and it depends on how that legislation affects or benefits the community as well as the state as a whole.