Occupation: Attorney & Partner at Shamp Jordan Woodward
Previous elected offices held: State Senate, District 6
Other community service experience: Significant pro-bono legal work on behalf of individuals and nonprofits. Sunday School teacher at Trinity Presbyterian Church. Serves on Board of Governors for the State Bar of Georgia. Master with the Joseph Henry Lumpkin American Inn of Court.
What is motivating you to run for this office?
Growing up, my teachers were like family. As a product of this state’s public education system, I know how much of a difference our public schools and teachers have on the lives of children. I want every Georgia child to have the same opportunities that I had to work hard and succeed. This means growing education opportunities for children and families, and not starving our local systems of funding. I have witnessed this happen over the last decade. I am determined that we can have a responsible fiscal policy and also a robust public education system that values all children.
What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?
Access to affordable and adequate healthcare is the most pressing issue in this district and in this state. We have to strengthen protections for those with pre-existing conditions (including pregnancy), make it possible for all Georgians to see a doctor when they are sick, and trust women to make their own healthcare decisions.
After the new “ATL” regional transit authority forms, what local transit priorities would you advocate, if any?
When companies consider where they will locate, transportation is a key consideration. We must consider creative, forward-thinking solutions. For example, during my last election, I advocated for the idea that the state should include in any renegotiated lease the flexibility to use the CSX tracks for passenger rail. This has now become a reality – but it didn’t happen in a vacuum. What makes “the ATL” different is that it gives local communities the ability to determine which projects should be a priority while leveraging state and federal transportation dollars. People who live in these communities know best.
What is your position on reducing or eliminating the state income tax and why?
We cannot eliminate the state income tax and still appropriately fund our public schools and keep our communities safe. To assert otherwise is irresponsible fiscal policy. Georgia already has one of the lowest income taxes of any other state in the U.S., and I voted to make those taxes even lower to help our working families. And while I voted for one of the largest tax cuts in Georgia’s history, I also made sure that we restored $167 million in funding for our public schools. Just like any household budget, we have to meet our obligations first and foremost.