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: Fulton County Commission District 1
How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?
One of my main motivations to run for commission is my experience as a real estate agent helping over 800 residents appeal their property taxes over the last seven years. I have seen how the county over assesses properties and how intimidated folks are by the tax appeal process. I want to ensure accurate assessments and to make the tax appeal process more accessible. In terms of education, I have a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in school counseling. Both of these degrees have helped me engage with others in ways that are the most productive. For example, as a Realtor, I am often managing the emotional connection to a home my clients are experiencing and my counseling background helps guide me.
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
I believe government should be a good steward of taxpayer funds to provide essential services to our residents. We should also be making sure that residents who need the most help are prioritized. One area I’d like to focus on in Fulton is lifting families out of homelessness. Another is ensuring full access to mental health resources as often and as widespread as needed. We should also be seeking solutions to the root causes of crime in an effort to reduce it.
If you are elected (or reelected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
One of my top priorities is to fully fund the Fulton Board of Registrations and Elections to offer accessible, efficient and transparent elections that are free of election conspiracies and false fraud allegations. Next, I’d like to offer case management services to our residents living in extended stay hotels to ensure they can develop the skills to obtain permanent housing. Third, I’d like to fully fund the district attorney’s and public defender’s offices, so they can correctly determine if someone is dangerous and needs to go prison, or they can go to a pre-indictment diversion program to keep them out of the prison system while still keeping the community safe.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
I always like to seek common ground on issues that really matter to residents and stakeholders. A majority of the council members and mayors in my district are Republicans. I will seek out topics that are nonpartisan in nature and directly related to county services such as water service, mental health services and homelessness services.If there are issues we don’t agree on and they aren’t specifically necessary, we would simply agree to disagree. I have had success meeting with the council members I have met with in focusing on my plans for the county and what their needs are as a city.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
I’ve always had an interest in politics and a desire to serve my community. In 2019, I really became inspired by Pete Buttigieg, now the U.S. secretary of transportation, and his commitment to local service. He served two terms as a mayor of South Bend, Indiana,a city about the size of most of the cities in North Fulton. I certainly hope to emulate the honesty and integrity he displays as a public servant. I respect the way he makes great effort to reach all stakeholders and residents regardless of party. He is also remarkably practical about what can be accomplished. We may both wish that we could enact various reforms that are not possible at the current time. We are both able to make the best decision of the available choices to create progress.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
I believe most decisions will involve small, incremental wins. In real estate, we are always about creating a win-win for the seller and the buyer. The times I would not be willing to compromise would involve threats to our constituents. For example, I would not vote to underfund our elections and risk not being able to perform an election. I am willing to look at a community staffing model verses a temporary agency, but it needs to be phased in, so we can ensure the county can handle the additional recruiting, hiring, and payroll. The potential of the county to not perform an election, and risking the state taking over our election board, could threaten the certification of all Fulton County’s votes. That is a risk I would not be willing to take.
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?
As Brad Raffensperger has said over and over again, 2020 was one of the most secure elections in Georgia. I will absolutely stand by the results of any election in Georgia, and I have never given a reason to think I would not do so. I do think that all the attention and threats from individuals who doubt the outcome of the 2020 election have really placed an unmanageable burden on Fulton County. I believe because of the consistent threats to poll works and election staff, we have not been able to recruit and hire a new permanent Fulton County elections director. Additionally, the controversies have made it difficult for us to find recruiting firms willing to work with Fulton, as well as elections consulting firms. Hopefully the election conspiracies and threats will diminish and we will be able to successfully hire a permanent elections director and outside firms will want to work with us again.
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?
The Fulton Commission has no authority to create policy on reproductive rights. The commission does fund the justice system: the district Attorney’s office, public defender’s office, the court system and the jail system. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has committed to not prosecuting any abortion cases in the county. I support her in this commitment. As the district attorney, she has prosecutorial discretion to make decisions she thinks are best for each case. If the residents of Fulton are not happy with her choices, they can elect a new district attorney when her term is up. That is the check and balance in place for this circumstance. A major concern of mine is that in the effort to investigate an abortion to identify a doctor to charge, you’d almost certainly have to inflict unbearable and unnecessary emotional harm on the person who experienced the abortion, or a miscarriage. The physical result of both an abortion and a miscarriage are so similar in nature that there is no way you could ensure you’d never investigate a person who had a miscarriage vs. choosing to have an abortion.