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 43
How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?
As a small business owner with two restaurants in Cobb, I understand the importance of building communities. Over the last two years, I have seen how fragile small businesses could be. Many businesses lost grip and never made it back to existence. Grit and a keep fighting attitude allowed my businesses to survive. That’s the same attitude I’m taking to the Georgia House of Representatives. I’m going to fight for women’s rights. I will keep fighting until we expand Medicaid for families in Georgia. I will keep fighting to ensure our communities are safe by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. I’m going to protect our voting rights. I’m going to stand up for ordinary people.
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
Government should focus on improving the lives of its people. I will focus on putting people first and not putting one’s self-interest first. When Georgians ask for women’s bodily autonomy, the government shouldn’t do the opposite. Government should focus on having the will of the people at heart.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
Racial injustice has worsened since 2016. First, we must eliminate mandatory sentences for all crimes. Mandatory minimum sentences, habitual offender laws and mandatory transfer of juveniles to the adult criminal system give prosecutors too much authority while limiting the discretion of impartial judges. These policies contributed to a substantial increase in sentence length and time served in prison, disproportionately imposing unduly harsh sentences on Black and Latinx individuals. Secondly, I will push to decriminalize low-level drug offenses. And third, equal punishment for equal crime.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
It is essential to listen to people and have compassion for everyone. A proper representation means that I will have the interest of my constituents at heart. It may not go the way everyone wants. But I can assure citizens of this district that I will work across the aisle if it is beneficial.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
The late Congressman John Lewis, who said, “The right to vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool or instrument in a democratic society. We must use it.” He was right. We saw a lot of voter suppression in the state of Georgia. The state government sometimes uses power in a very unprincipled way. The state government must uphold higher moral standards and be accountable to the people.
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?
We have to build affordable homes. This is not a question. Otherwise, we will deal with the ripple effect, and that is homelessness. Many people lost homes over the last couple of years. We have to amend some of the rigid zoning restrictions we see in various counties.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
I am running to represent people in my district. When it becomes beneficial to my constituent without going against the ideals of the majority of Georgians, it may be a time to compromise.
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?
The 2020 election seems more credible than the one of 2018. I will agree that the 2020 election was more secure.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, state law and local enforcement authority will determine access to abortion.
Abortion restrictions will create many problems for women and their families. Whether and when to give birth is linked with women’s economic success and well-being. Failure to give women the right to whether or not they want to bear children will result in a more catastrophic society in three ways. First, an abortion ban at six weeks could lead to dangerous self-inducing abortion methods. Secondly, denying women the right to abortion will lead to higher stress levels and anxiety. Third, childbearing requires mental readiness and financial soundness. Not having those resources in place can contribute to depression and even suicide. The only solution is to push back on the cruel House Bill 481 (anti-abortion law) and give women the freedom of their bodies.
Are there any programs/legislation you’ve sponsored or created to help people with disabilities?
I will be looking into this.
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?
Education and health care are key policy areas. We could expand Medicaid and ensure health coverage for Georgians. We should also revisit the program weight of the funding formula known as QBE, or quality basic education. Schools within low-income areas should get adequate support.
The Legislature often votes along party lines. When would you seek bipartisan action and what issues merit such consensus?
We will have to wait to see this.