Sabrina Greene-Kent is contesting her third candidacy for an elected office, and this time she is reassured.

Greene-Kent qualified on September 10 for the post in Georgia House District 165, which became vacant following the death of Mickey Stephens. She had run a run against Lester Jackson for Georgia House more than two decades ago and in 2012 for the Savannah-Chatham School Board is running. She lost both races.

She says it’s different this time – the stress isn’t there. She believes she will be the best replacement for longtime representative Stephens.

“I’m very relaxed and very humble, but also very sad,” said Greene-Kent. “Mickey would have rather been here and watched the election process than that he was gone because I thought he was a friend.”

It’s a fast-paced campaign season, as is often the case with special elections, and Greene-Kent says it is 2 inches closer as the November elections approach.

But there will be competition.

Three more started the race in qualifying last week. They are Clinton Young, a retired Army specialist and vending machine businessman who ran unsuccessfully for Savannah City Council in 2007, 2011 and 2015, Antwan Lang, member of the Chatham County Electoral Board, and former Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson.

More:Special election date is set to replace Mickey Stephens, and four candidates want to fill his seat

Greene-Kent was born in New York but moved to Savannah at the age of 13. She graduated with double degrees from both Jenkins High and Richard Arnold High.

She then worked for 42 years as managing director for various retail stores. Following the layoffs following the 2008 recession, she became the payroll specialist for the Savannah Chamber of the International Longshoreman Association, Local 1414.

At the top of Greene-Kent’s list of topics is the minimum wage. Georgia law sets the minimum wage rate at $ 5.15 an hour, but the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act applies to most jobs, which means that most employees earn a minimum wage of $ 7.25 an hour have to.

Greene-Kent says that’s not enough. Instead, she thinks $ 48.15 an hour.

“I think living wages should increase by one dollar every year since 1976. And if that’s the case, our minimum wage should be $ 48.15 an hour right now,” Greene-Kent said.

“Think of all the companies that make the trillions of dollars and a quarter of a billion dollars a year from our poor and middle class,” Greene-Kent said. “They make all this money every year, but they don’t pay us anything.”

Sex trafficking is another topic Greene-Kent would like to address as well. She said the penalty for the crime was insufficient to keep those who commit it in jail.

In addition, Greene-Kent hopes to work for fair wages for women in Georgia.

“Many [men’s] Ideas come from us, but we get paid less. And I think it’s an unfair challenge, ”said Greene-Kent. “And that will continue to be put on hold. And I think that’s something that we need to bring to the fore, let’s tackle it, take care of it, and let’s move on to the next thing. “

More:Democrat Clinton Young announces candidacy for seat 165 at Georgia House

And there is another facet to this race, the inescapable comparison of every candidate with Stephens. The man was a force in the district and held the seat from January 2009 until his death in August. Stephens was even re-elected to the seat during a three-year tenure during which illness kept him from the statehouse and has not cast a single vote on the legislation since the 2018 session

Greene-Kent says Stephens was always there to help when she needed it, and she wants to both respect and keep his legacy as she goes her own way.

“I don’t feel the pressure, but I’m proud to be able to stand and go in behind him,” said Greene-Kent. “I think Rep. Stephens would be proud to see that I stand behind him and do what I do best: work with people; fight for the people; Speak for the people and stand up for the people. “

Will Peebles is the corporate reporter for Savannah Morning News. He can be reached at wpeebles@gannett.com and @willpeeblessmn on Twitter.