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: Attorney General
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
Growing up poor in rural Georgia, I owe everything in my life to the opportunities that our government made possible. Public school teachers became my second family. I became one of the first in my family to attend college on a HOPE Scholarship. That is the role of government — to protect the rights of the people and help create opportunities to succeed. That will be my focus as attorney general. I will work for the people, not special interests, so that every Georgian has a fair shot to get ahead.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
When I’m elected, it will be my highest priority to keep our communities safe and fight for our fundamental rights. Gun violence and gang activity have increased dramatically in recent years. My office will work tirelessly to go after anyone who engages in illegal gang activity, and will prosecute these individuals aggressively. We will work to put an end to the illegal gun trade, which fuels so much of the violence plaguing our communities. I’ll also be committed to protecting a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, and her right to quality reproductive health care. I will work to protect our health care practitioners who are currently at risk of prosecution for providing essential services to the women of Georgia. Finally, I will tackle public corruption and make government work for the people. It is the job of the attorney general to hold elected officials accountable when they don’t serve the people they are elected to represent.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
When we put partisan politics aside, we all want the same things for our families: Safe communities, access to health care, quality education and access to economic opportunity. Although we run on political party tickets, an attorney general is meant to be an independent voice for the people. When elected, I will work to defend the rights of all Georgians, regardless of my own political beliefs. Everyone deserves equal treatment under the law, and I pledge to be an atorney general who will fight corruption, work to keep all of our families safe and make our government work for the people.
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?
Absolutely. It is unfortunate that efforts led by former President Trump’s legal team were successful at instilling fear and mistrust among many voters. There are several steps we must take to defend our democracy and restore faith in our elections. First, candidates and public servants have a responsibility to respect the rule of law and defend our elections against those who would undermine it. Second, any legitimate breaches of our election systems, such as the one in Coffee County, must be investigated and those responsible held to account.
As Attorney General, name any change you would seek to broaden or restrict voting in Georgia.
As an attorney and state Senator, I have been a longtime advocate for voting rights, including standing up to former President Donald Trump’s attorneys when they tried to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. As attorney general, I will be committed to setting a precedent that there must be equal access to the ballot box under the law, and any infringements upon these rights will be grounds for investigation. I intend to establish a Voting Rights Division within the attorney general’s office, and I pledge to investigate any allegations of voter fraud, voter intimidation or harassment, or civil rights violations.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
The late Gov. Ann Richards of Texas has been one of the biggest influences on how I view state governments and politics. She was the second woman to serve as governor in her state. Richards was a feminist and a champion for women’s rights. From her leadership, I learned the importance of fighting for the underprivileged and underrepresented. I am grateful for women like her, who have paved the way for the next generation of women leaders.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
Growing up in rural Georgia, we didn’t ask each other if we were Democrats or Republicans. We cared for our neighbors and banded together as a community. Representing the minority party in the Georgia Senate, I know how to work across the aisle to get things done for my constituents. Sometimes that means doing the hard work behind the scenes, in committee hearings, and amending legislation to move the ball forward. Make no mistake – I never back down when someone proposes a policy that will hurt the people of Georgia, and as Attorney General, I’ll fight any efforts to impede on Georgians’ fundamental rights. I’m proud of the bipartisan relationships I’ve made. And as a lawyer of over 20 years, I know how to negotiate on my client’s behalf. I won’t take a backseat to anyone when it comes to keeping Georgia families safe and fighting for their rights.
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 believe that every woman has the right to decide whether to have a child, when to have a child, and with whom to have a child. That decision should be made by the woman, with her family, her God, and her physician. This is a point on which my opponent and I vehemently disagree. It is my legal opinion that Georgia’s abortion ban violates the state Constitution, which guarantees a right to privacy to every citizen. As attorney general, I will not defend this law, which puts lives at risk and threatens access to health care in Georgia.
In this role, you would represent the state in legal matters and defend its rights. Under what circumstances do you think it is the duty of the Georgia attorney general to assert state’s rights?
As attorney general, my job will be to uphold the rule of law and defend both the constitutions of the United States and Georgia. My priority, above all else, will be to defend the rights of the people of Georgia. If the federal government takes action that is not in the best interest of Georgians, you can count on me to file suit and be a champion for the people of our state. I will never file suit against the federal government or anyone to advance my own partisan agenda.