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: Gwinnett County Commission District 4
How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?
Having built a successful business over the last 25+ years, I’ve navigated through many challenges. i.e., Sept 11th, Great Recession, and the pandemic. Our county is now facing a new crisis, which is staffing. The situation is so bad, a call to 911 results in a hold message. My business is in HVAC. We have experienced hiring issues for over 20 years due to a drive to push our youth away from the trades. My unique strategies in hiring will greatly benefit Gwinnett government, thereby maintaining our exemplary quality of life; what we have come to know as the “Gwinnett Standard”
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
I have always believed that government should be there in emergencies, but then get out of the way as soon as possible, to encourage businesses, private organizations, and nonprofits in taking ownership of their community. Local government should conduct its business while being as lean as possible, balancing with smart investments toward the future. It also goes without saying, that government plays a role in setting regulations. These regulations should always be determined in collaboration with the affected parties, so as to not make the regulations stifling to their industries.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
As I stated in a previous answer, staffing our safety personnel is first and foremost. While I focus on HR with hiring, I concurrently plan on working with transportation to give relief to residents as they go about their errands and commutes. District 4 (North Gwinnett) has seen large amounts of development over the last 20 years. Can you believe, there hasn’t been a single road improvement in front of the Mall of Georgia since it opened! We still have many non-shouldered, poorly maintained, and unsafe roads. While there are always projects in the works, transportation is something that can never be left ignored.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
Consider for a moment, that almost 25% of my campaign contributions have come from my Democrat friends. Why? Because they believe like me, that government works best when all voices are at the table. Currently, all 5 commissioner positions are held by Democrats. My election will ensure and affirm, to the many conservatives in Gwinnett, that all angles and arguments will be considered when contemplating new initiatives towards our future.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
The first person I was ever blessed to vote for was Ronald Reagan. In 1984, he swept the country in the most resounding re-election we have ever seen. He steadfastness, virtue, and belief in our country was inspirational.
Having grown up on a farm in Iowa, my family experienced first hand the ramifications of President Carter and his grain embargo on the Soviet Union. This decimated thousands of small family farms, resulting in many suicides, tumult, and bankruptcies. These memories of hardship stay with me, as I consider how government plays a role in our lives.
President Reagan had an immense amount of humility and resolve to make a better future for all, and his ability to lead us out of the farm crisis were inspirational. He gave us back the belief that America was the greatest nation on earth, and that we could persevere though our hardships. This is how I pray to lead.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
Politics in its truest form is to compromise. Even if you have a trifecta, as we currently do in our federal and state governments, there are negotiations happening all the time. When to and how much is a delicate science. When it comes to public safety, I have the least desire to compromise, as I see our first responders as the No.1 priority of the county. If the issue at hand is a land owner desiring a rezoning, which is at odds with a neighboring community, that’s when a persons ability to negotiate becomes an art. Both sides should come away heard and satisfied with the results.
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?
Having the benefit of personally speaking with eyewitnesses to the Fulton County elections, there were undoubtedly decisions which made people question our election integrity. I believe the new regulations put in place by our state’s leadership, and proven by unprecedented participation in the primary election on May 24th, that election integrity has been restored in Georgia. As such, I believe Georgia’s elections are secure and 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. If elected, how will you use your authority to influence abortion access or enforcement of abortion restrictions?
Laws passed by our legislature, and signed by our governor, need to be enforced. This applies to laws concerning abortion and any other. As a commissioner, I will not, under any circumstances, try to circumvent any law passed by a duly elected official.