Betsy Holland

Betsy Holland

Occupation: Director, Culture & Engagement for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Previous elected offices held: None

Other community service experience: Nonprofit board service: Communities in Schools, Atlanta Community ToolBank (board chair), ToolBank USA, Fugees Family (board chair). Civic engagement: Board of Governors, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Choose ATL Committee, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Community involvement: Volunteer at Garden Hills Elementary School, member of the Garden Hills Garden Club, Member of Morningside Presbyterian Church.

What is motivating you to run for this office?

For years, I’ve found myself frustrated by the imbalance at the state legislature that allows bills to come to a vote that damage Georgia’s reputation and make it harder to do business. The current Republican majority has worked to pass religious freedom referendums and anti-LGBT adoption bills, and expanded concealed carry laws that reflect poorly on our state and can have negative consequences for our citizens. When asked to run, I stepped up so we can bring some balance to the state legislature and bring elected officials together to collaborate on finding real solutions for the people of Georgia.

What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?

We must put the safety and security of our children before the interest of the gun lobby. The Georgia legislature has worked to make it easier for people to obtain firearms, to carry firearms in places like bars and college campuses, and to transfer firearms with limited restrictions. It’s time to address the epidemic of gun violence in our community with common-sense regulations.

After the new “ATL” regional transit authority forms, what local transit priorities would you advocate, if any?

We need smarter, quicker solutions to the transportation gridlock that diminishes our quality of life and hinders our economic progress. I support expanding rail transit, expanding bus transit and developing more protected pedestrian and bicycle paths. While rail and buses must be part of our transit plan, we must think to the future and leverage ride- and vehicle-sharing programs, work-life communities, affordable housing, and telecommuting as other options to reduce traffic congestion in our community.

What is your position on reducing or eliminating the state income tax and why?

It’s imperative that the state be responsible in the rate at which it taxes its citizens and the ways in which it spends that money. Right now, Georgia taxes are lower than the most U.S. states, and the legislature recently passed a tax cut to further reduce that rate. Income tax is a predictable, fair way to raise revenue for the state to fund critical resources like infrastructure, education and healthcare. I do not support eliminating the state income tax.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.