U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath discussed issues ranging from mass shootings to transit policy to possible impeachment of President Trump at a Sept. 8 town hall at Temple Emanu-El in Sandy Springs.
The Cobb County Democrat, who previously announced a reelection bid on the 2020 ballot, also did not respond directly when asked by an audience member about a possible run for U.S. Senate instead.
McBath represents the 6th Congressional District, which includes portions of Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, and Dunwoody, as well as some of Cobb and Fulton counties. She was inspired to run for office following the shooting death of her teenage son, Jordan Davis, and has made gun control one of her key advocacies.
“Every week we learn about another mass shooting,” she said. “There are so many more ways we have to eradicate this extremist culture.”
“Prescription drug prices are too high. Everyone suffers through traffic,” McBath said, citing some of the many issues Congress affects. “These are not talking points for me. These are the realities that I too have lived, and I’m so grateful to be able to take those experiences to Washington on your behalf.”
Dunwoody City Councilmember Lynn Deutsch, who is running for mayor, asked McBath about transportation policy in the context of the state’s proposed toll lanes or “express lanes” along I-285 and Ga. 400.
“We really appreciate your efforts as it relates to the 285/400 expressway…,” Deutsch said. “I want to ask you a bigger question about policy: how do we steer the federal government away from road projects and towards transit projects?”
McBath responded, “We absolutely cannot build our way out of traffic, whether there are express lanes or not,” and alluded to meetings she has been having with other local leaders about “creative and constructive ideas using new electric technology,” although she did not provide details.
“It takes transportation and infrastructure to really create a proper value for our environment, our businesses, our economy,” said McBath about highways and mass transit. “And that means you have to consider both, not just one.”
An audience member asked about a U.S. House inquiry underway into possible impeachment of Trump on various alleged grounds, such as financial conflicts of interest and campaign finance law violations. McBath declined to give her personal opinion, saying, “There is no doubt in my mind there has been some criminal intent. However, we still have a responsibility to carry out the process… We still have federal subpoenas out to White House aides who have to testify before us and can really give us the information we need.
“We have to make sure justice is truly followed to the letter,” she continued. “You have to let the justice system play out.”
As an accomplishment in Congress, McBath cited her cosponsoring of this year’s “Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need” or “HAVEN” Act, which protects military disability benefits from going to creditors in bankruptcy proceedings.
“I’m one of only three freshmen so far that have had legislation signed by the president,” she said.
McBath said her family has many members who are military veterans.
“They deserve better care than what they’re getting now,” she said. “I was so concerned when we had two veterans at the Atlanta V.A. hospital commit suicide. If that’s not a cry for help, I don’t know what is.”
McBath said her caseload on veterans issues is the second-largest at her office. “We have spent time at the hospital, talking to workers and veterans, and the administration, asking tough questions like why does it take so long to get to a doctor, and why, once they have an appointment, does it take all day waiting there to see the doctor? And why are they not able to retain employees and workers at the V.A. hospitals?” she said.
McBath won the 6th Congressional seat in 2018 and has said she will run for reelection in 2020. So far, four Republicans are vying for a chance to oppose her, including state Sen. Brandon Beach; Marjorie Taylor Greene; Karen Handel, the former incumbent whom McBath defeated; and Nicole Rodden.
But when asked about the Senate run, she neither confirmed nor ruled out a bid. Johnny Isakson, a Cobb Republican who is one of Georgia’s two U.S. senators, announced in August that he will retire at year’s end, leaving a mid-term vacancy and kicking off a 2020 race for the open seat. Georgia’s other Senate seat, currently held by Republican David Perdue, will be on the ballot in 2020 as well.
–Kevin C. Madigan