Candidate Q&A: Georgia Home District 90 – Decaturish

Decaturish.com sent a Q&A to all candidates running for the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate. Here are the responses of the candidates running for House District 90 in the May 24 election. Early voting starts May 2. To see your sample ballot, visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter Page by clicking here. The answers have not been edited. All our elections coverage can be found at Decaturishvotes.com.

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Jodi Diodati. Photo provided to Decaturish.

Candidate name: Jodi Diodati

Candidate website: jodiforgeorgia.com

What is your occupation? General Contractor

What neighborhood do you call home? Moreland Ave, Ormewood

Why are you running for this position? I want to see some changes in our district and I feel I can make a difference in our community.

If elected, what are your top two or three priorities? Economy, Education, and Medical Freedom.

How would you work to accomplish your priorities if elected? With anyone and everyone to make my district a better place for everyone.

How would you work with members of the opposing party to accomplish your goals? I find that I am a good problem solver. I can lead but I can also be a great supporter. We need people who want to work together at the Capitol.

Do you support expanding Medicaid in Georgia and how would you work to accomplish this? I am not for expansion of Medicaid, however, I think there are some other good options to explore.

Do you support full legalization of marijuana in Georgia? Why or why not? I am in support of full medical legalization of marijuana. I have seen it’s benefits for those with cancer.

Do you support the creation of new cities in DeKalb County? Why or why not? I am not versed on this topic enough but am willing to explore it.

What do you think of the current process for creating new cities? NA

Do you support ending Georgia’s prohibition on gambling? Why or why not? No.

If the state has a surplus due to increased revenue, how should the money be spent? it should be redirected to schools, infrastructure.

What can the state do about private companies buying single family homes as investments? Should the state do anything? Put a moratorium on it until the impact of it can be assessed.

What can the state do to make housing more affordable in Georgia? Great restrict the ability of private companies buying up homes, require owner occupancy.

If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner? How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government? Yes, I expect nothing less of myself.

Saira Draper. Photo provided to Decaturish.

Candidate name: Saira Draper

Candidate website: https://www.votesaira.com

What is your occupation? Attorney and Voting Rights Advocate (www.powerthevote.org); Former Georgia Voter Protection Director

What neighborhood do you call home? I have lived in Candler Park since 2015. My husband and I chose this community because we found everything we wanted for our family.

Why are you running for this position? Voting rights is the most critical issue facing us. I have an expertise in voting and elections that uniquely positions me to be able to effectively advocate for Georgians. And I have a record for delivering results in high-stakes environments. 

If elected, what are your top two or three priorities? Voting Rights- In 2021, Republicans in the state legislature passed a law that fundamentally altered how voting and elections are conducted in Georgia, and that made voting demonstrably harder. The impact of these changes will fall disproportionately on voters of color, suppressing their voices. As a lawmaker, I will fight to eliminate the barriers between voters and their constitutionally guaranteed rights. In addition to reversing recent laws, I will advocate for same-day voter registration, an increase in resources for county-level election administration, and improved voter education campaigns.

Housing – see more detailed answers on specific housing questions.

Schools – Growing up, I attended Georgia public schools and now so do my children. I believe strongly in the role our public schools play as engines of opportunity for all kids. Unfortunately, Georgia is heading in the wrong direction, and I want to help reverse that trend. As a legislator, I will prioritize increasing teacher pay, fully funding public schools, allocating additional funds for students living in poverty, and increasing per-pupil transportation funding. I will also push for teaching an accurate version of history, which is honest with our kids about the past.

How would you work to accomplish your priorities if elected? One of the most important things I will do is establish productive working relationships with my colleagues. It takes a majority to move anything through the House, so I will always need allies on both sides of the aisle. I look forward to learning from veteran legislators with a track record of getting things done; there are many great role models under the Gold Dome.

I also intend to do my homework. Policy debates are complicated, and legislators owe it to voters to do the learning on their behalf so we can write good laws and vote the right way for our district. I look forward to engaging with experts and stakeholders on the issues that cross my desk.

Finally, I want to be an effective messenger. I think our current representative, Bee Nguyen, has brought enormous visibility to critical issues and laid bare the bad faith arguments that keep our state from implementing good policy. I want to ensure Georgians understand the consequences of the work we do at the State Capitol.

How would you work with members of the opposing party to accomplish your goals? I have a demonstrated history of getting results by working with members of both parties.
As the Voter Protection Director at the Democratic Party of Georgia, I worked in all 159 counties to expand and protect the vote. Most of the counties across Georgia skew republican, but that didn’t keep my team from making meaningful advances in those counties on voting rights.

If I am fortunate enough to be elected, I plan to introduce myself and spend time with the leaders of both parties to learn more about their priorities, help them understand mine, and make clear that my top priority is not winning personal or political victories, but making meaningful progress in the issues that matter to people in HD90 and across Georgia.

That being said, I will never compromise on fundamental values of equity, justice, and fairness. I am eager to find ways that I could work with Republicans in the legislature, but I refuse to trade on the rights or well-being of vulnerable people in order to do so.

Do you support expanding Medicaid in Georgia and how would you work to accomplish this? I absolutely support expanding Medicaid. Georgia is one of only 12 states that has refused the expansion, denying affordable health coverage to a half million people. Instead, our legislature has wasted more than a decade either doing nothing or tinkering with waivers that cover fewer people at higher cost. As a result, we have one of the highest rates of uninsured residents, one of the highest rates of uninsured children, and one of the highest rates of maternal mortality, especially among black women.

I will work with anyone, from either party, to get this done. I will build productive relationships on both sides of the aisle just as I have done to protect voting rights. I will continue to educate myself about the intricacies of the policy, and I will seek to influence others in the majority, ensuring they have the facts and data necessary to reach the obvious conclusion: expanding Medicaid makes sense for Georgia.

Do you support full legalization of marijuana in Georgia? Why or why not? I support the legalization of marijuana. Over the past decade, 18 states have legalized recreational marijuana and data from some of the first states shows no clear evidence it leads to higher crime or higher rates of addiction as many opponents allege. It does result in a significant reduction in arrests (almost 70% in Colorado, for example), and big increase in jobs, and state revenue.

Too many Georgians, especially young people and people of color, have had their records tarnished and their job prospects impaired by an offense that does not exist in 30 states. Meanwhile, we are voluntarily foregoing the opportunity to regulate and tax something that is already here, only underground. The time has come to take smart steps toward full legalization.

One good place to start would be to reform the Medical Cannabis Commission, which is supposed to license in-state production and sale of low-THC oil for medical use. Two years after its creation, it has yet to issue a single license.

Do you support the creation of new cities in DeKalb County? Why or why not? I do not have a blanket ‘yes’ or ‘no’ position on new cities. Creating a new layer of government should be carefully studied, and we should understand the impact on municipal finances and how the day-to-day experience of the new city’s residents AND those remaining under the existing authority will change. Legislators and voters deserve full information before making a choice.

To me, the most important question is understanding the rationale – what do we hope to get from a new city? Some proposed cities in other counties want to incorporate so they can control zoning and planning to keep certain types of housing (and people) out. I do not approve of that or the associated cityhood movements.

Bills for cityhood referenda should be sponsored by the legislative delegation representing that area. I am open to hearing from cityhood advocates in DeKalb County as I formulate my positions on a case-by-case basis and look forward to working with other DeKalb legislators on this topic.

What do you think of the current process for creating new cities? The recent legislative session made clear that the process for creating new cities is inadequate. The effort to separate Buckhead from Atlanta without the support of a single member of the legislature representing Atlanta confirms the ‘movement’ was driven by special interests pushing divisive political agendas, not local needs. I would reform the process for creating new cities by requiring bills to be sponsored by at least one representative from the area.

In addition, I would want to ensure that the citizens voting on cityhood include those living in the larger area from which the territory is being taken. Cityhood efforts like Buckhead and Eagles Landing were driven primarily by a desire to racially segregate otherwise diverse cities. Such cityhood efforts would have decimated existing cities by depriving them of critical tax resources. Therefore, I would support a change to state law that allows residents of an existing city to vote when a portion of that city seeks to secede.

Do you support ending Georgia’s prohibition on gambling? Why or why not? I do think we can end our prohibition on gaming, with certain caveats. Most importantly, we need to be crystal clear about where any state revenues from gambling should go, and we should take unique approaches to different types of gambling.

The impacts of casino gambling and horse racing on employment, investment, crime, and addiction tend to be somewhat local. For that reason, I would support legislation that allows local jurisdictions to decide whether or not to allow casino gambling.

Sports betting is something we have to consider statewide. I would support legalizing sports betting. Thirty-one states already allow it in some form, and plenty of Georgians are already placing bets on platforms that work around our laws by routing them offshore. Meanwhile, we are missing out on the opportunity to regulate and tax this activity and put the revenue to work for all Georgians.

If the state has a surplus due to increased revenue, how should the money be spent? My top priorities for a state surplus include:

1) Expanding Medicaid: most of the tab is paid by the federal government, but the state must contribute a small portion.

2) Fully funding public education and creating additional allocations for students in poverty.

3) Investment in affordable housing.

4) State funding to support transit agencies, including MARTA.

What can the state do about private companies buying single family homes as investments? Should the state do anything? In places like Conley and Ellenwood, institutional investors purchased more than 50% of all single family homes. They come with all-cash offers and few contingencies, and they can easily outcompete most individual buyers. This trend is not good for housing affordability, stability, or quality.

We likely cannot forbid these investors from buying and selling homes, but all levels of government can do more. Our state should consider policies that level the playing field in favor of individual buyers and renters, including: Restriction on the bulk sale of distressed properties; Giving tenants and non-profits the first right to buy properties put up for sale; Increase in tenant protections, including less costly ways to hold landlords accountable and prohibition of exploitative fees and lease terms; Inspections of single-family homes prior to rental; and Data collection and reporting on complaints and fines.

What can the state do to make housing more affordable in Georgia? Like communities across the state and country, HD90 is experiencing a dramatic increase in the cost of housing of all types. Our state government should play an active role in helping communities like ours respond in a way that welcomes new people while ensuring those who have deep roots are able to stay.

I support several policies to increase access, stability and affordability, including: Increase the supply of housing by legalizing construction of more multi-family units and eliminating parking minimums; Increase the supply of affordable units specifically through tax credit programs, direct investment, and other tools at the state government’s disposal; Increase renter/tenant protections to improve housing stability and quality; Authorize counties and municipalities to extend property tax exemptions for long-time, low-income homeowners; and protect long-time homeowners from predatory speculators who abuse the code enforcement system and/or pressure them into sale.

If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner? How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government? If elected, I vow to not only be ethical and transparent myself, but to push to make our state government among the most ethical and transparent in the Country. As a legislator, I would support efforts to strengthen reporting requirements for state and local elected officials and candidates for public office. I would also work to repeal the law passed last year that creates dark money “Leadership Committees” that circumvent campaign contribution limits and allow donors to contribute a potentially unlimited amount of money to influence state politics, even during the legislative session.  

Peter Hubbard. Photo provided to Decaturish.

Candidate name: Peter Hubbard

Candidate website: www.PeterHubbard4Georgia.com

What is your occupation? Clean Energy Advocate

What neighborhood do you call home? Edgewood

Why are you running for this position? To enact smart economic development, energy, and housing policies, now.

If elected, what are your top two or three priorities? 100% clean energy; affordable housing; equitable economic development.

How would you work to accomplish your priorities if elected? As an advocate before the Georgia Public Service Commission, as a legislative sponsor, and as a facilitator to connect partners, while also harnessing and coupling federal and private funding.

How would you work with members of the opposing party to accomplish your goals? I would meet them where they are, which is fiscal conservatism and conserving God’s creation.

Do you support expanding Medicaid in Georgia and how would you work to accomplish this? I 100% fully support expanding Medicaid to stop the $9,300 (and counting) that each man, woman, and child in Georgia has been taxed in the past decade.

Do you support full legalization of marijuana in Georgia? Why or why not? Yes, but with half of tax revenues dedicate to substance abuse support (all substances) and the other half of revenues dedicated to general mental health services in Georgia.

Do you support the creation of new cities in DeKalb County? Why or why not? Yes, the people have the right to self-determination. In particular, the Dekalb Cityhood Movement deserves a vote in the State Legislature. I will sponsor a bill to bring this issue to a vote.

What do you think of the current process for creating new cities? The State Legislature is applying the law unevenly and exerting undue control over local self-determination, contrary to the principle of Home Rule.

Do you support ending Georgia’s prohibition on gambling? Why or why not? Yes, but conditionally, with up to half of tax revenues dedicate to gambling addiction abuse support and all of the remainder dedicated to general mental health services in Georgia.

If the state has a surplus due to increased revenue, how should the money be spent? Surplus revenue should be spent on investments that are prioritized by return on the dollar to Georgians. For example, we need to get consumers access to electric vehicle charging. Right now, a gasoline Ford F-150 costs $104 to fill up. An electric Ford F-150 Lightning can go the same distance for a cost of $27 in electricity, or $15 if the energy is from community solar. Surplus revenue that can build sustained future revenue should not be given away for a temporary benefit.

What can the state do about private companies buying single family homes as investments? Should the state do anything? Yes, the state needs to regulate this market. I will always advocate for evidence-based policymaking. Low Income Housing Tax Credits have been a key driver of catalyzing private capital to develop affordable housing, and LIHTC benefits are accessible to all no matter their background.

What can the state do to make housing more affordable in Georgia? The current state budget surplus should be invested in a Green Infrastructure Bank to fund clean energy development under carefully-crafted guidelines. Low Income Housing Tax Credits have shown success at catalyzing private investment to create more affordable housing in Atlanta. The state can subsidize investments in infrastructure to support repeatable, bankable structured housing developments that are immediately net zero or net zero ready.

If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner? How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government? Accountability is a key motivator for my candidacy. Top of the list is the failure to expand Medicaid, which has been a tax of $9,300 per person in Georgia in the past decade. What would your family of four do with $37,200, if it didn’t have to pay this Republican Tax? I will conduct myself in an ethical manner and I will remain transparent in my conduct in public office. I intend to use the full suite of legal, legislative, and regulatory tools at my disposal to rapidly and responsibly transition Georgia to a 100% clean energy economy and distribute the benefits broadly and equitably to the public.

Bentley Hudgins. Photo provided to Decaturish.

Candidate name: Bentley Hudgins

Candidate website: www.bentley4georgia.com

What is your occupation? Organizer, Strategic Communications, GA AFL-CIO

What neighborhood do you call home? Edgewood

Why are you running for this position? I believe that your vote matters. I’m running to make sure that it counts.

To be frank, I’m tired of my friends dying. I am tired of visiting friends in the ICU, and I am tired of lawmakers who don’t understand the urgency of our needs.

If elected, what are your top two or three priorities? Defending democracy, restoring dignity to working families and securing justice for our people. 

How would you work to accomplish your priorities if elected? My work has always been rooted in building power for and by the New American Majority. When elected, I am committed to continuing the ongoing conversations we are having with our community. Connectedness and communication is how we know what our community values and what our priorities should be, especially for those who are most vulnerable to exploitation and systemic harm. 

How would you work with members of the opposing party to accomplish your goals? I have already worked with members of the opposing party to protect our state public defender’s budget from Kemp’s budget cuts in 2020 during my tenure as the Political Strategist at the New Georgia Project Action Fund. How? We organized and built real progressive power that was wielded to protect our communities. 

Do you support expanding Medicaid in Georgia and how would you work to accomplish this? I have been a health care organizer working to fully expand Medicaid for years now. It is a common sense solution that is popular for voters across party lines, but Republican leadership has stalled its passage while hospitals across Georgia continue to close. Honestly, if we want to win in this fight, we need to ensure that DeKalb Democrats turn out in a show of force for Leader Stacey Abrams and Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock. We must build more progressive Democratic power in our federal and state governments.

Do you support full legalization of marijuana in Georgia? Why or why not? Before we move to legalize marijuana, we need to decriminalize cannabis and expunge records of those with cannabis-related convictions. We need to ensure that there is equity for Black and Latine people throughout the cannabis industry when it comes to our home state, especially in licensure for cultivation and commerce. 

Do you support the creation of new cities in DeKalb County? Why or why not? No. DeKalb County does not need more cities. We need state and county leaders who will work to ensure that all of DeKalb residents have the resources they need, whether or not they live in city limits or unincorporated.

What do you think of the current process for creating new cities? In Georgia, state legislative is approval is required for the creation of a new city. To obtain municipal incorporation, the interested group of community members needs to find legislative sponsor who will carry a bill that will provide a commission on a feasibility study for the proposed city. The next year, the bill can be voted on. If this bill passes, it moves on to a referendum vote for the proposed population. If the referendum vote is successful, then the city is created.

Do you support ending Georgia’s prohibition on gambling? Why or why not? No. With the current labor laws, bringing the gambling industry to Georgia would only further the exploitation of the working class for the leisure of the wealthy.

If the state has a surplus due to increased revenue, how should the money be spent? We desperately need to invest our state’s resources in fully funding public schools and updating our funding formula to meet the current needs of our students, faculty and administration. In addition, we should fully expand Medicaid, make deeper investments in public and mental health infrastructure (like creating a statewide nonpolice crisis number), increase child care subsidies, invest in a more robust public transportation infrastructure and pass the Georgia Work Credit. 

What can the state do about private companies buying single family homes as investments? Should the state do anything? State leaders need to take action that will inhibit private companies’ ability to hoard land and houses before our neighbors can even make an offer. We need new laws that limit the ability of investors to control enormous portions of the housing market and people’s access to housing.

In addition, we can enact a moratorium on third party sale of delinquent property tax liens. This has long been a mechanism for continued dispossession in black and brown communities, and makes their properties susceptible to predatory corporations and real estate firms.

What can the state do to make housing more affordable in Georgia? At the state level, we need to repeal laws that prohibit local governments from creating specific housing solutions for their communities, pass the Tenant Bill of Rights, enact common sense rent control measures and block private companies from hoarding the private housing stock in our communities to force a scarcity. 

If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner? How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government? When I am elected, I will continue to have an open book and open door to all of our neighbors. I’m addition to personally committing to good ethics and transparency, I will support efforts to comprehensively publicly fund elections and set limitations that allow for the wealthiest and well connected to have undue influence on our political process. 

Stewart Parnacott. Photo provided to Decaturish.

Candidate name: Stewart Parnacott

Candidate website: stewartforgeorgia.com

What is your occupation? Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

What neighborhood do you call home? East Atlanta Village

Why are you running for this position? I’m a nurse anesthetist, front line healthcare worker, affordability advocate and lifelong Georgian running for House District 90 to make our community more equitable, healthy and vibrant for all.

If elected, what are your top two or three priorities? Civil rights/voting rights/women’s rights/LGBTQ+ rights, affordable housing, healthcare

How would you work to accomplish your priorities if elected? Stewart views public service through an evidence and science-based lens with an eye towards healing the patients he serves each day. He knows that everyone deserves high quality healthcare, a world-class education, a living wage and fair representation. As a representative for HD 90, Stewart will continue to work with community leaders to ensure a vibrant and equitable community for all. 

How would you work with members of the opposing party to accomplish your goals? Stewart Parnacott has a dream of building an economy that works for district 90 and helps families in the community thrive. Sustaining a district where families can prosper, where residents can find well-paying jobs, and where people can comfortably retire is one of Stewart’s primary goals. Stewart will fight to increase support for local businesses, support for workers, the removal of barriers, and equal opportunities for all persons in district 90.

Do you support expanding Medicaid in Georgia and how would you work to accomplish this? As a practicing certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) and former mental health registered nurse (RN), Stewart Parnacott understands that an essential for a healthy and thriving Georgia lies in the ability of each individual to access quality and affordable healthcare. There is a moral obligation to expand Medicaid services throughout this state and local community to protect our most vulnerable populations. Medicaid expansion throughout Georgia has the opportunity to create over 500 jobs in District 90 and surrounding communities. As an anesthesia provider for many rural, underserved hospitals and communities in the area, Stewart will also oppose legislation that attempts to close rural hospitals. A healthy economy is deeply intertwined with having a healthy population and Stewart will work tirelessly to ensure that goal.

Do you support full legalization of marijuana in Georgia? Why or why not? As someone who currently works with the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, Stewart fully supports responsible and legal access to medical cannabis in Georgia. As a healthcare professional, Stewart has a deep appreciation for the benefits provided to patients in need. Amidst a global opioid epidemic, marijuana legalization in Georgia could greatly aid in decreasing unnecessary deaths from opioids. 

Do you support the creation of new cities in DeKalb County? Why or why not? Creating new cities in Dekalb County is one of the best ways to ensure that the residents of these cities maintain the ability to have a voice. I support the citizens of Dekalb County having a vote on the opportunity to become a city. 

What do you think of the current process for creating new cities? The creation of new cities in Georgia helps to bring representation closer to the citizens. The process should be left in the very capable hands of the voters in the district rather than by the state.

Do you support ending Georgia’s prohibition on gambling? Why or why not? I support allowing voters in Georgia to have a voice to make the decision of what is best.

If the state has a surplus due to increased revenue, how should the money be spent? The pandemic underscored the need for a better public health system here in Georgia. The antiquated computer systems here in the state were a major culprit in the poor public health response to COVID in the state and could be easily updated with increase state funds. Additional funds should be used to increase mental health services, help those who never received unemployment payments during the pandemic, improving infrastructure, and elevating Georgia’s fractured system of voting.  

What can the state do about private companies buying single family homes as investments? Should the state do anything? Georgians do not need Wall Street as their landlord. The state would do well to expand first time homebuyer incentives to increase the number of homebuyers here in the state. Sending the funds to local non-profits to divide can work to increase jobs and also help with the creation of programs like those to offset the required hefty down payments that make home ownership unattainable for many.

What can the state do to make housing more affordable in Georgia? Affordable housing is as important to the local economy as it is for the people who live there. Families deserve the opportunity to thrive and raise children in Dekalb County. Stewart Parnacott understands how barriers to accessing affordable housing is impacting different communities in the Atlanta area. Stewart is steadfast in the commitment of forging partnerships with local governments, the philanthropic community, and the private sector to increase the supply of affordable units and to keep legacy residents in their homes.

If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner? How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government? Stewart Parnacott believes that voting rights are the cornerstone of American democracy and that elected officials should not be above reprieve when it comes to ethical behavior and transparency. When dealing with the underpinnings of one’s rights as an American, Stewart stands with groups who fight voter suppression and work to make sure every voice is heard. Stewart will provide diligent attention to make sure that government is effective and that the population is heard, as well as fighting for government transparency at every level.

Michelle Schreiner. Photo provided by Kevin Lowery.

Candidate name: Michelle Schreiner

Candidate website: https://www.michelle4georgia.com/

What is your occupation? Psychologist

What neighborhood do you call home? Lake Claire

Why are you running for this position? Growing up, my family struggled financially. We needed food stamps. But I didn’t fall through the cracks because I had a strong community and good government programs. I haven’t forgotten where I came from; it’s my mission to lift up our community.

If elected, what are your top two or three priorities? Public education. Quality education gives our children the freedom to pursue their dreams. For nearly 20 years, our neighborhood schools have not been fully funded, denying our kids the resources they need. As a proud graduate of Georgia public schools and a former professor, I will fight to ensure that every public school is a place where all our children can learn, grow, and thrive.

Economic justice. For too long, certain politicians have handed tax giveaways to the richest 1% and corporations, leaving the rest of us to pay a higher share of our income to taxes. We work to reduce income inequality so that all Georgians have a fair and equitable opportunity to succeed. That’s why I’ve advocated for the Georgia Work Credit so that hardworking families get the financial boost they need to move toward the middle class.

Affordable housing. We’re in the middle of a real housing crisis. Our communities are growing rapidly, but there’s not enough affordable housing to keep up with the growth. We need to rethink policies and regulations to make it easier to build affordable housing and increase tenant protections. We also need to provide down-payment assistance to Black, Brown, and low-wealth families (like mine) who don’t have the advantage of generational wealth.

How would you work to accomplish your priorities if elected? Collaboration is key for getting results. I am committed to working with lawmakers, advocates, and community members to developing solutions that improve the lives of all Georgians. That means working alongside my colleagues to find common ground so we can stay focused on fulfilling our commitment to funding public education; providing economic opportunities to hardworking families so they have a chance to succeed; and addressing the affordability crisis in Atlanta and throughout the state.

How would you work with members of the opposing party to accomplish your goals? I am focused on the issues that matter in our community, and I am committed to finding common ground with other lawmakers. That means finding opportunities to work with Republicans to sponsor legislation that would benefit all Georgians, regardless of political party. We must keep our door open to cooperation while not compromising our values.  

Do you support expanding Medicaid in Georgia and how would you work to accomplish this? Yes, I will fight for full expansion of Medicaid while working actively to find incremental solutions that will help more Georgians have access to affordable healthcare. I will vote for any Medicaid expansion bills, and I will support bills that expand Medicaid. I will also collaborate with organizations who have been on the front lines developing strategies and tactics for expanding Medicaid in Georgia.

Do you support full legalization of marijuana in Georgia? Why or why not? Yes. Drug reform is a criminal justice issue. Even though there are no racial differences in drug use, more Black and Hispanic people have been incarcerated for drug charges than White people. Research has also shown that moderate levels of marijuana consumption has therapeutic effects, and several states have legalized it for medical treatments.

Do you support the creation of new cities in DeKalb County? Why or why not? No. We need to exhaust our options before we create new cities. The process for making new cities is challenging, and it may not actually solve the community issues we’re currently facing. Our neighbors are concerned about rising taxes with cityhood, and not receiving the services they need. We must consider alternatives before deciding to create new cities.

What do you think of the current process for creating new cities? The process for creating new cities is a complicated and deliberate process. They are introduced as general legislation, and must crossover to become a bill that has to be approved in the State House and State Senate for it to become a referendum for voters.

Do you support ending Georgia’s prohibition on gambling? Why or why not? No. We have the right amount of gambling that is used for the HOPE scholarship. Expanding gambling results in harmful social and economic outcomes, especially for marginalized communities. As a product of the HOPE scholarship, we need to introduce needs-based reforms for this scholarship system. That way, low-income students can have a greater opportunity to receive the support they need to pursue a higher education.

If the state has a surplus due to increased revenue, how should the money be spent? In Georgia, many social services operate at a deficit. If there is extra money in the state budget, we must ensure that employees are making a livable wage and that agencies and county health offices are fully funded. We must also update the funding formula for public education to ensure kids and teachers have the resources they need. 

What can the state do about private companies buying single family homes as investments? Should the state do anything? We must make it more difficult for private companies to buy up properties in bulk. Allowing private companies buy foreclosed properties in bulk drives up prices exponentially, creating a permanent renting class. The state has a role to play in helping individuals have the priority in buying a home rather than allowing private companies from buying hundreds or even thousands of properties at a time.

What can the state do to make housing more affordable in Georgia? Housing is a right, not a privilege regardless of employment status. We must protect and defend the rights of tenants through Good Cause Eviction; expand public housing options and workforce housing; promote a comprehensive and integrated approach to the issue of unhoused people so that their underlying needs are met (e.g., mental illness, substance abuse, job skills training, etc,); and support organizations like House Proud Atlanta to keep senior homeowners warm, safe and dry so they can stay in their homes and not fall prey to predatory developers or uncouth real estate agents.

If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner? How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government? Absolutely. As a former program analyst with the Office of Inspector General – Department of Health and Human Services, I have worked in the federal government to protect taxpayers from fraud, waste, and abuse. I will bring that ethos with me to the State Capitol. Community engagement helps to build trust and transparency, and I will explain my voting behavior at public forums at community centers, libraries, and senior centers to inform and educate our neighbors. I will also share information in newsletters for those who are unable to attend. 

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