Now more than ever, Georgians need and deserve real leadership –leadership that keeps our citizens safe, while still protecting our way of life. I want to live in a state that values its workers, that provides healthcare to all of its residents, and that has a strong social safety net during times of crisis. This is the work I will continue to do when re-elected as your state house representative for House District 54.
COVID-19 – Protecting Our Lives and Our Livelihoods
Georgia found itself in national news for the past six months for its high rate of COVID-19 cases, its rush to re-open businesses too early, and its botched approach to opening schools. We need leadership that puts the lives and livelihoods of Georgians above political posturing.
I support strong measures to contain the virus, from mandating masks to limiting certain in-person gatherings. I support a broader safety net for Georgia workers and Georgia businesses.
No one should face eviction because they cannot get their unemployment benefits processed, and no small business should have to close its doors because of a disaster beyond anyone’s control. Georgia must do a better job of supporting workers and business owners as we weather this public health crisis.
Georgia has the third highest uninsured rate in the country – and we are in the midst of a global pandemic. Unemployment is at an all-time high, which means along with their jobs, Georgians are also losing their medical insurance. This pandemic disproportionately affects those with little to no access to regular healthcare – some people dying of COVID-19 don’t even know that they have underlying conditions.
It is past time to expand Medicaid in our state. Immediate Medicaid expansion would provide desperately needed coverage to Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens, accelerate economic recovery, and stabilize rural health systems. When re-elected, I vow to fight to ensure every Georgian has a health insurance card in his or her pocket.
Our economy won’t thrive if people don’t survive. We have a responsibility to support our small businesses, many with thin profit margins, as they struggle to reinvent themselves in a safe manner. We shouldn’t have to choose between keeping people safe and saving our economy – we should be able to do both. I believe in common-sense legislative solutions to ensure that these businesses are still around, long after the pandemic is over.
During the 2020 legislative session, I voted against a budget that cut almost one billion dollars from education. Now more than ever, we are asking our schools to do more, with less. If you have school-aged children, as I do, you should have a new appreciation for what our schools and teachers do everyday. It is way past time to fully fund our public education system – Georgia ranks 31st in K-12 education, and 44th in graduation rates. I have and will continue to fight hard to ensure our public schools receive adequate and equitable funding.
I support adequate and equitable school funding, improved early learning programs, and reduced reliance on standardized testing. In fact, in 2020, I voted for the successful passage of a bill that reduces statewide mandated testing.
I support fully funding the HOPE Scholarship and keeping it merit-based. I will work to ensure that the state explores funding a separate need-based scholarship for students from low-income families – Georgia is one of only two states in the U.S. that does not offer such a scholarship for students from low-income homes. I support expanding Georgia’s Pre-K programs so that all families who want access can get it.
Racial Justice and Social Equality
I want my son to grow up in a state that is fair to everyone, regardless of race, sex, or sexual orientation. I voted for Georgia’s Hate Crimes Bill, but acknowledge this is only a first step to combat years of systemic racism. When re-elected, I will work hard to enact criminal justice reform in our state, including repealing the citizen’s arrest law, repealing no-knock warrants, and repealing the stand your ground law. We can both support law enforcement and hold bad police officers accountable for the harm they cause in the community.
Again, Georgia made national news during the 2018 election with reports that uncovered voter disenfranchisement and ballot mishandling. I served on the Voting Rights Caucus and worked to enact legislation that would make voting easier and more accessible for all Georgians. I serve on the Fulton County Delegation and work to hold the Fulton Board of Elections accountable for problems with our recent elections.