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 Senate District 7
How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?
I am the daughter of working class immigrants, raised right here in Gwinnett. My father was a file clerk and my mother worked in a warehouse. When she hurt her back, the insurance company tried to deny her the benefits she had a right to.. I know firsthand how broken our healthcare system is.
My parents chose to raise me in Gwinnett because of the public schools. Gwinnett’s schools gave me opportunities my parents never had.
As an organizer, I have fought to protect our voting rights and fight against efforts that disproportionately disenfranchise Black and brown voters.
I am running because of the urgency of this moment in which we have to protect our voting rights, fully fund our schools, reverse the extreme GOP abortion ban, and expand healthcare.
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
At minimum, the government should not make people’s lives harder. State government can improve people’s lives with tangible results – like lowering healthcare costs, investing in good jobs, raising wages, fully funding our schools. The government also has a responsibility to keep our communities safe. That’s why I’ll work to make sure that law enforcement has the resources they need, and also why I’ll combat the gun violence epidemic. Finally, the government should be protecting, not restricting people’s rights. We need to make sure that women can make their own decisions about abortion and healthcare, and that all Georgians are free from discrimination.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
– We need to expand healthcare access; I will work with my colleagues to expand Medicaid.
– We need to fully fund our public schools.
– We need to protect the right to vote. I will work to expand access to the ballot and block racist bills that further disenfranchise Black and brown people.
– We need to combat crime and gun violence. I will work to overturn Kemp’s “criminal carry” law.
– We need to restore abortion rights and overturn the draconian six-week ban.
– We need to raise wages and invest in jobs.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
I will be a state senator for not only the people in District 7 but for all the Georgians who have traditionally not had their voices heard. My office will be available to my constituents to raise concerns and hold me accountable. I will ensure that I schedule town halls for constituents to hear my agenda and priorities during the term – and for me to hear their concerns. I will keep a robust public schedule and remain an active member of the community. I will never turn away a constituent who needs help.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
Republicans in Gwinnett County have been one the biggest influences on how I view politics. Growing up here, I recognized that instead of seeing our diversity in Gwinnett as an opportunity, Republicans saw us as a challenge which taught me that if we ever wanted to have a seat at table, we had to demand it. I learned that when you are not at the table, you are on the menu which is why I got involved in helping my community.
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?
Gwinnett needs more affordable housing. Full stop. One-third of our county’s population cannot afford to purchase a home – not just low-income folks, but middle-income people working in critical jobs like our teachers, firefighters, police officers, librarians, and county employees. Rent continues to rise but wages stay the same. People are being priced out because of a housing shortage from new single-family homes to new apartments, especially as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am committed to enacting policies that ensure everyone can have access to homeownership. I will work to create more housing, lower costs, and higher wages.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
Compromise is often necessary when it comes to moving the ball forward and improving our communities. Acceptable but painful compromises may include “How much can we lower costs? How much can we raise wages? How many more people can we expand Medicaid to? How big can this housing or transportation project be?” I will never allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good, but I will never stop fighting for the best possible outcome we can achieve for my constituents. And it is never acceptable to compromise when it comes to fundamental values, protecting lives, and human rights. Therefore, I will never waver in my convictions when it comes to reversing abortion restrictions, getting guns off our streets or ensuring the right to vote.
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, yes. And election deniers have no place in public office.
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 in the state Senate to influence abortion access or enforcement of abortion restrictions?
The unthinkable happened when the extremist Trump-McConnell Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. As a result, Georgia’s extreme six-week abortion ban went into effect. Six weeks is only two weeks after a missed period – before most women even know they’re pregnant! My opponent celebrated when Roe was overturned and supports the six-week ban. The right to birth control is also under attack. We absolutely must fight back against these Republican attacks on our rights. When I’m in the legislature, I’ll never back down from protecting the right to an abortion – and I’ll sponsor legislation to overturn the Republican abortion ban and enshrine the right to birth control into law.
As state senator, I will defend the right to an abortion, protect birth control, fully fund women’s healthcare, and fight to overturn the extreme Republican six-week abortion ban.
Are there any programs/legislation you’ve sponsored or created to help people with disabilities?
When I am elected, I will sponsor legislation that prioritizes the needs of our disability community such as expanding Medicaid which would cover low income disabled Georgians and will work to fully fund our Home and Community Based Services waitlist so that Georgians with disabilities do not have to wait years to obtain they care they deserve.
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?
I grew up in a working-class family, and I watched my parents work hard to make ends meet. I understand the importance of making sure the economy works for everybody – not just millionaires and corporations. I will always fight for higher wages, more jobs, and lower prices for Georgia families. That includes raising the minimum wage and getting housing prices under control. We also need to make sure that millionaires, billionaires, and greedy corporations are paying their fair share of taxes – so that we can reduce the burden on everyone else. It’s not right when a CEO is paying less in taxes than his receptionist – or when teachers and firefighters have to pay more in taxes than private equity managers. As for spending, we should be fully funding our public schools, expanding Medicaid, and investing in transportation and infrastructure, like expanding MARTA into Gwinnett.
The Legislature often votes along party lines. When would you seek bipartisan action and what issues merit such consensus?
Current day politics have become far too polarized. We have more in common than what divides us. I believe there is a path where we recognize each other’s humanity and put the lives of people over bickering politics. I will always seek consensus when it is possible and I will work with my Republican colleagues to pass life-saving legislation like expanding Medicaid to 500,000 Georgians.