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: Agriculture Commissioner
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
Government has the potential to make life better for every Georgian and that’s what I want to do with the Department of Agriculture. Too many people in our state are struggling. We have the resources to help them and give everyone the opportunity to succeed.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
Childhood hunger is a priority, as 1 in 7 children in Georgia deal with food insecurity. We live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, and no child should be going to bed hungry. Secondly, addressing human rights abuses is a priority. Just last year, a massive human trafficking ring was uncovered in Georgia. As a state, we cannot rely on the federal government to stop human trafficking in our own backyard. Finally, I’ll focus on cultivating the next generation of farmers: The average age of a farmer in Georgia is 58 years old. If we don’t attract the next generation of farmers, our state could face a major food crisis in the next 10 years.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
We must focus on what unites us, rather than what divides us. I think we all agree that no children should be going hungry and that the hardworking farmers who grow and produce our food should be able to earn a living wage — without working second jobs. These issues are not political. It’s about using agriculture to ensure a better life for every Georgian, regardless of who they are, where they live, or how they 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?
Claims of election fraud in recent years have been debunked time and time again. I have no reason to question the integrity of our elections. I will stand by the results.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
Former President Jimmy Carter has always stood out as a person of great conviction who demonstrated that anyone can be a change-maker. We all have the power to make a difference in this world, if we try.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
I believe that real change does not happen overnight. Compromise is what happens when we work together toward a common goal and small, incremental wins are still wins. I’m happy to make compromises, so long as we are moving in the right direction and improving the quality of life for hardworking Georgians.
As Agriculture Commissioner, you will have an opportunity to work closely with the federal government on policy. If elected, how will you use your authority as commissioner to influence federal policy and decisions?
As agriculture commissioner, I will work with the federal government to create more marketplace opportunities for farmers and producers in Georgia. So much food is grown here in our state, and yet “shopping local” is not an option for everyone. More opportunities for selling local produce means healthier food for all Georgians and more money in the pockets of our farmers.