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: US Senator

What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?

I grew up in Kayton Homes in Savannah, Georgia. I’m the 11th of 12 children and the first in my family to graduate from college. My path from public housing to the floor of the U.S. Senate was made possible by good public policy, such as the Head Start program that prepared me for the classroom, and Pell Grants that helped fund my education at Morehouse College. Only in America is my story possible. But for too many, that promise has been slipping away. That’s why I ran for public office in the first place — because in America, your income should not determine your outcome.

If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?

My dad used to tell me: “When you are hired to do a job, do the job you were hired to do.” It’s the honor of my life to work for the people of Georgia, to wake up every morning and fight to protect the dignity of work, to lower costs and to create jobs for Georgia families, and to expand access to affordable health care. But we have more work to do. We need to continue our work to lower costs for Georgians. And while I’m proud of the insulin cap for Medicare recipients, we need that same cap in place for everyone who relies on insulin. We need to support our service members by guaranteeing them safe and affordable housing. And we also need to continue to invest in Georgia industries and small businesses to create more good-paying jobs. I’m going to keep working until we get this done.

Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?

My dad used to tell me: “if someone hires you to do a job, do the job they hired you to do.” I took that to heart. Representing the people of Georgia in the Senate is the honor of my life. I’m focused on doing my job for all the people of Georgia, not just the ones who voted for me. That’s why I’m proud of my work to deliver real solutions to all Georgians, from fighting to protect and grow jobs, lowering costs for hardworking Georgia families and expanding access to health care for all Georgians.

Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?

I went to Morehouse because I wanted to go to Martin Luther King Jr.’s college. I never could have imagined I would serve as senior pastor of his church. In all I do, I carry with me what he said — that “whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” In every decision I make and every vote I take in the Senate, I try my best to reflect that moral vision. We’re still working on Dr. King’s unfinished business. When it comes to protecting our democracy and the right to vote, we have to act. Dr. King’s words are as true now as they were back then: “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.” We have a moral obligation to strengthen our democracy and ensure eligible Georgia voters have a say in their own future.

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 federal legislation and executive actions?

As a member of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, I am working to bring Georgians’ concerns about housing costs and home ownership to the U.S.Senate. In August, I announced three pieces of legislation to lower housing costs and help Georgians buy a home. This legislation will provide tax credits for folks who are just trying to pay rent so they can go to work, their lives can be stableand their children can do their homework. It will help people reach the American dream of owning a home. I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it is for hardworking people to afford a home. I’ve seen it as a pastor. I’ve lived it. I remember, even as a child, hearing my parents think through how they might be able to afford a home. That’s the lens through which I do this work.

Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?

One thing I’ll never compromise on is doing right by Georgians — even when it means standing up to my own party. Earlier this year when President Joe Biden proposed cuts to the Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center, I knew we needed to act to protect jobs and to support the local economy. I worked with Republican Congressman Buddy Carter to stand up to the president’s proposal in order to keep the center open to protect vital Georgia military jobs and our national security. These are the kind of successes that make a difference in Georgians’ lives.

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. Your vote is your voice, and your voice is your human dignity. That is why I am going to keep fighting to make sure that every eligible Georgian has access to the ballot box and every ballot is counted.

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 U.S. Senate to influence abortion access or enforcement of abortion restrictions?

Women in this country have a fundamental right to make their own health care decisions alongside their doctors — not politicians. As a pro-choice pastor, I believe a patient’s office is too small for a woman, her doctor and the U.S. government. That’s why I am committed to the fight to restore this basic right.

The U.S. Senate often votes along party lines. When will you see bipartisan action and which issues merit such consensus?

Progress on the issues Georgians care about is possible when we put people before politics. I’m willing to work with anyone if it means Georgians will get the support they deserve. That’s why I joined a Republican senator from Alabama to fight for Georgia peanut farmers who face barriers in getting their crops to market. It’s why I worked with a Republican senator from South Carolina to push for more federal funding for our historically black colleges and universities, which have been asked to make do with far too little for far too long. And it’s why I’m proud to have passed bipartisan legislation to address the maternal mortality crisis by teaming up with a Republican senator from Florida. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and I also worked together to get Highway I-14 categorized as a priority corridor, which will help to better connect Georgia’s military installations.