Matt Bentley

Matt Bentley

Occupation: Attorney

Previous Elected offices held: None.

Other Community Service experience: Matt and his wife Kelsey adopted a Mile in Smyrna to “Keep Smyrna Beautiful” and regularly volunteer with rescue dog organizations.

What is motivating you to run for this office?

House District 40 has been my home for nearly my entire life. I was raised in Vinings, attended Emory Law School, and now live in Smyrna with my wife, baby girl and two rescue Labs. I want to give back to the community that gave me so much opportunity, and ensure that my 6-month-old daughter has those same opportunities years from now. I look forward to being able to proudly tell her that I made a real difference for our community, and that I did it for her.

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

Education and transportation are the most important issues facing our community. Our schools are too overcrowded, and our teachers are underpaid. I will fight to ensure that our children have access to quality public schools, and push for increased funding for the HOPE scholarship. To reduce traffic, I will work to ensure that transportation investments remain a top priority. Too often policy solutions are short-sighted and result in temporary fixes. I will ensure that transportation solutions consider long-term impacts, and not just the immediate needs.

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

I strongly support increasing our transportation investments; however, I am skeptical of the impulse to rush decisions that may create inefficient results. Due to my experience in regularly acquiring right of way for public road projects, I understand the great expense involved. Before spending your tax dollars, I will demand that transportation experts are engaged to determine whether the proposed solutions are the most cost-effective means to reduce traffic, and ensure that they are not short-term fixes. I will not abandon our future generations to deal with problems we could have solved today.

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

Last session, the Georgia legislature accomplished two amazing feats: reducing the income tax while fully funding education for the first time since 2003. This was made possible by encouraging economic growth through reduced taxes. To continue that trend, I support measures that tax the consumption of goods, which encourages people to save money – as opposed to our current system which discourages hard work by collecting taxes from income; however, I will not support any tax reduction that may have a negative impact on education or a disproportionate effect on the poor.

John Ruch

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