Every year politicians push controversial bills that do more harm than good rather than working to address the problems we care about. As a husband, father, and small business owner I am tired of politics as usual. I believe it’s time we look beyond our differences and come together to foster economic growth, address our transit needs, make high-quality healthcare both affordable and accessible, and ensure that all Georgians are treated with the equal dignity and respect that they deserve.
When we don’t have a choice at the ballot box, we all lose. I also recognize neither party has a monopoly on common sense or good ideas. I pledge to support any legislative proposal that is good for our district and Georgia.
Most importantly, as your next State Representative, I want to be your voice at the Georgia State Capitol by asking what you want and what matters to you and your family. I will earn your trust before I earn your vote by knocking on your door, and listening to you.
As a state representative, I will work tirelessly to grow Georgia small businesses and our economy. Doing so will keep taxes low, increase property values, and properly fund a safe public education system.
In order to cultivate our businesses and economy, we must eliminate bills that discriminate based on religious beliefs. These bills can scare off businesses, such as Georgia's film and movie industry, which had an economic impact in Georgia of $9 BILLION dollars in 2017. A single movie filmed in our district (in Doraville) last year contributed almost $50 million to the Georgia economy. We must put people before politics and fight these bills to develop and expand Georgia’s economy.
Education is the great equalizer. An outstanding majority of us agree that education played a huge role in our successes. In order to make sure that—regardless of zip code—all 1.7 million students in Georgia’s K-12 classrooms have the opportunity to reach their full potential, updates must be made to the formula that provides funding to our state’s educational system.
Every year, our state representatives underfund our public school system. Georgia funds its schools according to a formula created in the 1985 Quality Basic Education Act. This formula has not been updated since its inception. After 30 years, our education funding formula must change to meet the needs of a more modern and technologically advanced society.
If elected, I will fight to work for:
- smaller class sizes so students receive the attention they need and so teachers can properly assess students
- more counselors so students receive the care and support they need
- more technological training at advanced schools so students are prepared for jobs of today and tomorrow’s economies
- limit trailers so our students can focus on learning and have a safe place to go in case of a tornado or other emergency
- better pay for teachers and counselors so that educators are properly recognized for their hard work
As our district’s population continues to grow we must make rational and planned investments in our infrastructure. Doing this now will having long lasting returns on our investment.
When large companies decide where they will build their next headquarters or expand their businesses, a critical factor in the decision is transportation. We must create a modern and planned transit system that is useful for our citizens and makes Metro Atlanta and the surrounding areas attractive to outside and new businesses. Offering these businesses efficient and affordable transit options for their employees will increase job opportunities, produce more revenue for our state, and enable all Georgia residents to spend more time with their families and less time traveling to and from work.
My grandparents have lived off of Spalding Drive since the 1960’s. For them, and for all Georgians, I want the state government to find solutions to halt the skyrocketing costs healthcare and prescription drugs. Living with dignity and security in their homes is an essential right for those reaching their golden years.
Much has been said about the possibility of Amazon bringing 50,000 jobs to our state by opening a second headquarters in Georgia. But expanding Medicaid would actually bring more than 50,000 jobs to this state. Not only will it will stop emergency rooms from closing down, which hurts the health of our state, it will provide healthcare to all who need it. No one should be one illness away from catastrophic debt. This change can be monumental for the state economy and many Georgians.
As a state representative I will focus on expanding and improving healthcare in Georgia and combating the opioid epidemic, which is growing exponentially throughout our communities, is central to that goal. Those suffering with this type of addiction need access to physical and mental health resources, which are available.
There is no place for discrimination in Georgia. Everyone has a Constitutional right to equal protection under the law. I have been, and will continue, to fight at the Capital to oppose discrimination based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Religious Freedom under the Constitution is to be used as a shield, not a sword. It is to protect an individual’s ability to practice their religion, not push their religion upon someone else. And, to not deny someone access for a reason that is Constitutionally protected. As a state representative I would oppose all bills that discriminate based on religious beliefs that does not violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution and protect Georgians in protected classes from discrimination. This is best for our businesses, but more importantly is best for the citizens of Georgia.
PUBLIC SAFETY - SAFE GUN OWNERSHIP
Firearms are legal for protection and hunting. But the Constitution, as well as the US Federal Court System, states that weapons of war should not be in the hands of untrained civilians. The US Supreme Court has also held that a person only has a right to keep and bear a weapon when it has a “reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.” US v. Miller, (1939).
We must study the root causes of gun violence at the state level and the conclusions that experts draw from that research must be applied to our laws in order to make our state, and especially our schools, safer. We must progress to make our community safer by making sure those who carry guns are trained on how to properly store and use their guns. We must work to stop young children from accessing guns and make sure those who have them know how to properly load, clean and use. And, we must end the the gun show loophole.
We must not wait for the next senseless gun violence tragedy to happen in our state before taking action.
For many years, under Georgia’s HOPE scholarship, a high school student needed to have a 3.0 GPA or “B” average, in order to attend any four-year state university for free. This program also provided any high school student free enrollment at a technical college regardless of their high school GPA.
But in 2011, the Georgia Legislature changed the credentials for students to receive the HOPE Scholarship.
Now, in order to receive attend a four-year state university for free, a student must have a minimum 3.7 GPA as well as a minimum 1200 SAT score. And a high school student must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to receive free tuition to a technical college.
Those eager to attend college or technical school should have the ability to do so. Young adults who want to enter the workforce or specialize in a particular area of study should be encouraged to follow their dreams, not discouraged by the fear of massive student loan debt.
I will work to make Hope Scholarship available to more students, as it was originally intended, and make technical college tuition free.
The criminal justice system is important for the safety and security of all Georgians. However, the system must work in an economical manner that respects civil rights, prepares offenders for a life after paying their debt to society, and is not a burden on the rest of the community.
In 2015, Georgia had about 46,000 inmates and spent $921,844,210 in prison expenditures. DeKalb County Jail alone has nearly 3,000 inmates. The costs to house just one citizen in jail, is on average, $46 per day. That means taxpayers are spending around $50,000,000.00 per year on the prisoners just in DeKalb County Jail. Worse yet, the probation rate in Georgia is the highest in the country.
In the United States, 62 percent of people in jail have not been convicted of a crime: they are simply awaiting trial. Many of them cannot afford to pay their bail. During this time taxpayers are responsible for their food, housing, and medical care. We need to reform this system in order to relieve the financial strain on the public at large and to stop treatment that is unfair based on economic ability.
Our society requires a system that holds people accountable for the crimes they commit but that system must punish people consistently and proportionately. Our current criminal justice system needs improvement. Rehabilitation of prisoners is just as important as incarceration. We must work to create a system that helps those who enter come out better citizens and be prepared to succeed upon reentering society.