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 48
How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?
As a commercial banker with a graduate degree in finance and a passion for public service, I would be honored to serve as your next state representative. My personal and professional background will help Georgia families navigate these uncertain economic times. As a former state representative, member of Gov. Brian Kemp’s staff and a board member of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, I am intimately familiar with the legislative process and have a proven track record of getting things done for our community. My leadership skills have been cultivated through leading numerous organizations, including the Fowler Family YMCA board, Amberfield homeowners association and the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association. I am a graduate of Leadership Georgia, Georgetown University and Emory University.
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
Government should play a limited role in the lives of its citizens. In doing so, government can focus on serving those who are most in need of support. As the parent of a child with special needs, I recognize the importance of government programs such as Medicaid and early intervention. These programs will enable our child to be a vibrant, tax-paying citizen as an adult. Unfortunately, during the coronavirus pandemic, we witnessed the extensive overreach of government. This overreach resulted in lost jobs, closed businesses and children set behind in school. As a state representative, I will limit government power and empower our families, while offering essential programs and investments that are crucial to the lives Georgians.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
The number one issue impacting Georgians is an economy suffering from inflation and now on the brink of recession. I will focus my time on returning tax-dollars back to my constituents so they have more money in their pockets to fight rising costs, lower wages and lost savings.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
Courage and intellectual curiosity are paramount to representing Georgians of differing political viewpoints. I will have the courage to meet with those who hold beliefs that are opposite of mine. I will have the intellectual curiosity to seek to understand their position and openness to find a common ground. My constituents will always have access to my personal cellphone, email and ability to join town halls in our district.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
As a former member of the Gov. Brian Kemp’s staff, I witnessed firsthand as the governor successfully navigated our state through the coronavirus pandemic. I learned the importance of listening to Georgians and leading with courage. The governor would always do what he thought was best and right for Georgia, even while pundits and some in his own party disagreed. The governor is humble and one of the hardest-working individuals I’ve ever met. All of these attributes have influenced my own leadership style and are characteristics I take to my role in public service.
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?
With thoughtless spending from Washington, D.C., and now rising interest rates, the dream of home ownership is becoming out of reach for so many Georgians. One of the best tools for growing our middle class is equity built through home ownership. A high-paying job is one of the best ways to afford a home. As a state representative, I will focus on economic development and bringing high-paying jobs to our state. I will also focus on workforce development and equipping individuals with the skills they need to navigate changing employer needs.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
A veteran state senator once told me that our work at the state Capitol was about relentless incrementalism. This approach — a constant striving toward improvement in Georgia — can be a good one. In the private sector, compromise is used frequently to build consensus and complete a shared task. With that said, I will never compromise on my core values of faith, family and limited government. Oftentimes, these can be tested as a legislator. The sign of a good representative is someone who stands firm in their beliefs. I believe constituents ultimately respect and trust someone they know will consistently stand up for them.
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, Georgia’s elections are secure, and I will stand by the final results.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, state law and local enforcement authority will determine access to abortion.
As a state representative, I will support life from conception until natural death. We must step up to support working families, foster children and access to adoption. We need to ensure that women have access to the medical care they need, including access to contraceptives and OB-GYNs in every county. We need to make it easier for children to find loving homes. The subject of abortion can be incredibly divisive. We need leaders who will take the time to listen and bring people together on this sensitive subject. You can trust that I will take the time to listen every single constituent on this issue and foster healthy dialogue.
Are there any programs/legislation you’ve sponsored or created to help people with disabilities?
As the father of a child with a disability, I am incredibly passionate about serving individuals with disabilities in our state. As a former state representative, my very first bill removed derogatory language defining people with disabilities from Georgia’s statute. When reelected, I will champion programs to give parents more choice in their child’s education and fight to expand Medicaid access for the thousands of qualified families on our waiting list.
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?
Thanks to conservative leadership, Georgia is in the enviable position of having surplus tax dollars to both serve our communities and return excess to our constituents. States shut down their economies while growing government, including California, Illinois and New York, are now suffering the painful consequences. Residents are flocking from those states to Georgia due to fiscal conservatism. One of the clearest distinctions between the two parties in our state is how each would spend your money. As a conservative, I believe government shouldn’t be in the business of making a profit and any excess should be returned to the taxpayer. At the same time, we should prudently invest in infrastructure, education, health care and public safety.
The Legislature often votes along party lines. When would you seek bipartisan action and what issues merit such consensus?
For my very first bill, I walked across the aisle and asked my Democratic colleague if he had a good idea. He had an excellent idea to solve a problem that was plaguing our state. We subsequently worked together to author and pass a bill that benefited all Georgians. Many politicians, including my opponent, talk about being bipartisan but few have the record to back it up. I believe we’re at our best when we work together. That’s the approach I will take to my work at the Georgia Capitol.