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 House District 99
How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?
I am a business owner and entrepreneur who would bring a business oriented and diverse perspective to the legislature that is much needed. I immigrated from New Delhi, India, over 20 years ago and chose to raise my family and support my parents in Georgia because of the opportunities that this state, and Gwinnett County offers. Having worked in both manufacturing, and currently in the commercial and residential property business, developing workforce and senior housing, I have learned about how business works in our state, and the pressures that everyday families and business owners are facing. I want to apply those skills as a State Legislature to improve our quality of life. I currently serve on the board for the Georgia Gwinnett College of Business and have been involved with the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce. I will work with local leaders and the private sector if I am elected to address the policy challenges that Duluth, Suwanee and Sugar Hill are facing.
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
I believe in freedom, and believe that the American dream is made possible by empowering our citizens to participate in the free market. I do not believe that government should have a heavy-handed or intrusive role in our lives. I would carefully weigh any proposed legislation or policies to ensure that it is not expanding the role of government in a manner that is excessive or harmful. My focus is on empowering Georgians and helping our state unleash its potential, not growing the size and scope of government. I support protecting local control and would like to defer decision-making to county and local governments whenever possible.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
I will fight to lower taxes, including property taxes by expanding the homestead exemption and value offset exemption so that homeowners, business owners, renters and all taxpayers have a lower tax bill. The recent inflation in the property market has created tax assessments that are completely out of line with financial realities, and high taxes create a burden on our communities and economic growth. I would also work to deliver income tax relief, including an additional income tax rebate of at least $500 for every Georgia taxpayer. I will work to reduce red tape that hinders job creation and support our small businesses, and I will work on legislation that creates good jobs that pay living wages. I will work to raise pay for law enforcement officers and increase funding for public safety to help reduce crime. Women’s reproductive rights are currently under attack by Republicans in our state and I want to pass legislation that protects choice.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
One of the top reasons that Gwinnett is so successfully is because it is the most diverse county in Georgia in many ways, including differences in political views. I will always respect those with political views that differ from my own. As a legislator I will have the willingness to listen to my constituents of all political views, and have faith that we can compromise on the similarities that we share including seeking the best for Georgia and love of America. That is why is committed to open dialogue and communication with all constituents. In my personal life I have friends who are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, and have always been open to their input. We are stronger as a state and a nation when we work together and find common ground.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
Georgia has a great legacy of leaders to learn from. Former Govs. Roy Barnes and Nathan Deal both set an example of bipartisan leadership and policymaking that helped move our state in the right direction. Gov. Zell Miller delivered a scholarship program that empowered generations of young people in our state to achieve their dreams and obtain higher education. From my own family, including my mother who passed away from cancer, I learned the importance of having a supportive affordable health care system, and good schools, as my children are public school graduates. The best leaders are those who were willing to put personal gain and partisanship aside to help address problems in our state, and that is a legacy that I want to follow as a member of the state House of Representatives.
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?
A key issue for me is attainable housing. Rising housing costs have made metro Atlanta and Gwinnett unaffordable for many residents in our community, including our seniors and young families. I have the experience needed to work toward policies at the state level that will lead to more market-based solutions to ensure we have housing options that meet the needs of our residents and every family has the opportunity to achieve their dreams. I also recognize that local governments play a crucial role to work toward attainable housing, and I will work with local leaders and the private sector to implement housing affordability for teachers, law enforcement and other civil servants.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
I know compromise in politics is part of the process toward passing legislation and delivering results for our state and my community. When to compromise and when to refuse will be determined by the input I receive from my constituents, because I center the people when it comes to policy making over ideological considerations. Many of the problems we face such as the need to reduce crime, lower taxes, improve our public schools and health care system, and address our cost of living crisis can be made better by small, incremental wins rather than refusing to take action to address these problems because of partisan gridlock.
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?
I know that Georgia’s elections are secure and will stand by the results. It is harmful to our state to allow a small group of unpatriotic individuals to followed the lead of others that spread lies and falsehoods about Georgia elections, passing laws that make it harder to vote and make the jobs of our election workers more difficult. I will work to make voting transparent and accessible for every eligible voter. I believe in democracy and respect the outcomes of both the 2018 and 2020 elections. I will do the same when it comes to the 2022 election. Our right to vote is the bedrock of democracy and must be safeguarded.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, state law and local enforcement authority will determine access to abortion.
Georgia’s radical and extreme abortion ban and the U.S. Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe v. Wade has put the lives of Georgia women at risk. I will work to protect reproductive choice for women and improve Georgia’s poor track record on maternal health. I will oppose laws that criminalize women and doctors and put their lives at risk. I believe that is not the role of government to interfere in health care decisions, including reproductive choice. I will fight to protect women’s rights and ensure everyone has medical and personal freedom. My wife, two daughters, and three-year old granddaughter make it a close personal reason to know women can determine what is best for their lives.
Are there any programs/legislation you’ve sponsored or created to help people with disabilities?
As a legislator, I will support, sponsor and help create programs and legislation for people with disabilities. Those with disabilities and their families deserve the full support of state government toward an improved quality of life. That includes expanding access to healthcare, reforming the Katie Beckett Waiver Program to help families, increasing funding for disability services, and promoting job and other rewarding opportunities for people with disabilities.
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?
My biggest priority is delivering tax relief for Georgians at a time of high inflation and significant cost of living increases. Putting money back into the pocket of the hard working people of our state should be a priority as it relates to the budget surplus. Secondary priorities include increasing pay for teachers and law enforcement professionals, and making investments in our education and healthcare systems to improve the quality of education and healthcare in Georgia. I believe in being fiscally responsible and protecting the financial health of our state.
The Legislature often votes along party lines. When would you seek bipartisan action and what issues merit such consensus?
I will seek bipartisan action on any issue where areas of common ground can be found. The top issues to seek consensus is to lower taxes and ensure our economy works for everyone, affordable health care and housing, supporting students, parents, and our schools, protecting local control, and reducing crime to maintain strong and safe communities.