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.
Correction: ACC inadvertently published responses from Democratic State HD-82 Candidate Mary Margaret Oliver, instead of Democratic State HD-48 Candidate Mary Robichaux. This was addressed on Nov. 5 after receiving a notification from the campaigns’ staff. We regret the error.
Campaigning for: State House District 48
How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?
Over 40 years of experience in healthcare management equips me to ensure everyone in our community has access to the resources they need to flourish. Working across six southern states with healthcare providers, insurance providers, governments and communities, I have had a part in creating viable and sustainable systems of care. My role included managing multimillion dollar budgets and working with various parties to come to solutions. Healthcare, education, and a safe community will give everyone the opportunity to live the best life possible.
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
The government should protect and provide. This means ensuring our community has the resources they deserve and protecting our community from violence. However, this does not mean the state government needs to be needlessly involved in local decisions. Local governments and state governments need to work together and separately for the benefit of Georgians.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
My top priority should I be re-elected is ensuring quality and affordable healthcare for ALL of our citizens. Everyone deserves to live a healthy life without significant financial debt. Healthcare should be considered as part of the infrastructure of a thriving economy and community.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
Since the beginning of my political career, I have based my work on the ability to have “adult conversations” with everyone to foster open communication and problem solving and I will continue to live by this principle. Bipartisan work involves multiple aspects: – working across political parties to improve proposed legislation and increase chances of passage – leading in one’s political party to convert needed votes to pass bills – voting for legislation that one believes will be good for all Georgians regardless of political party stance. In addition to actual votes on legislation, a significant portion of ‘bipartisan’ efforts occur in committee settings. It is in these committees where I have worked with both Republican and Democratic legislators to craft and improve legislation that will work for the benefit of Georgians and constituents in District 48. Examples of this in the most recent session was in the crafting of proposed legislation for online gaming, nursing home staffing requirements, and expansion of broadband access for economic development.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
While there have been many people who have had an influence on me including Rep. Calvin Smyre (Dean of the House), I believe that the person (or persons) who have been most influential have been the many constituents that I have had the honor of serving and speaking with through by years of service. I have learned that everyone has great ideas and that working together and listening can result in some amazing and creative solutions to common problems.
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 is done in the private sector in regards to think tank incubators, I would like to see the state fund “innovation incubators” across the state to devise viable and sustainable solutions to address housing availability and affordability so that local communities can develop and implement solutions that fit each area’s unique characteristics. Affordable workforce housing would be one of the driving principles.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
Throughout my career in healthcare, I lead teams in the art of compromise to reach solutions to complex problems in delivering high quality, affordable care. The political world also requires this same type of team effort to accomplish positive goals. One of the ways I believe that I have been able to be successful in this career is to focus on the results not on who gets credit. As with everyone, there are certain principles that I will hold true to and can be summed up this way — equal opportunity for every Georgian in all area of life including economic success, excellent education access, quality healthcare availability, and ability to live in a safe community.
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?
Yes, I believe that Georgia elections are secure and I will stand by the results.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, state law and local enforcement authority will determine access to abortion.
Abortion access is healthcare and I will use my authority to ensure that choice is between a woman and her doctor, not the government. I trust women to make these important decisions.
Are there any programs/legislation you’ve sponsored or created to help people with disabilities?
Legislation that I have had a hand in drafting increased the availability of care providers at all levels which allows better access to care.
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?
1. Improving infrastructure (such as transportation, broadband access, healthcare, logistics, education, mental health services) 2. Tax cuts to medium/low income Georgians as funds allow and for senior citizens 3. Funding for workforce affordable housing across the state
The Legislature often votes along party lines. When would you seek bipartisan action and what issues merit such consensus?
Expanding economic opportunities for ALL Georgians would be a major area for bipartisan action. This includes improving infrastructure (such as transportation, broadband access, healthcare, logistics, education) to allow Georgia to continue to compete at both a national and international level.