Occupation: Executive & Small Business Owner (CIO of Fisher Phillips, owner of Saratoga Holdings)
Previous elected offices held: Current Senator, 2011-present.
Other community service experience: I am a very active member of the community and public servant. My current and former affiliations include the charitable boards: Hope & Light Foundation, Nobis Works, EnAble, End Human Trafficking, Roswell Fire & Police Foundation, North Metro Miracle League, Alpharetta Public Safety Foundation, World Chamber of Commerce, North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Drake House Advisory Board, Roswell UMC Board of Stewards, RUMC Job Networking, Chattahoochee Nature Center Chatt Pack and Chamberlain Nursing College. I serve as volunteer firefighter for Alpharetta, U.S. Air Force Civil Air Patrol, Sons of the American Legion, Scout Leader and youth sports coach.
What is motivating you to run for this office?
As the current senator, I have sponsored and passed hundreds of important pieces of legislation and have been recognized as a leader by numerous organizations. I have served in the Senate for the past nine years, rising into the leadership as the chief deputy whip. As the chairman of Public Safety, subcommittee chairman of Appropriations, vice chairman of Finance and member of the Rules, Regulated Industries and Veterans committees, I am best positioned to help and support north Fulton. I work closely with city and county elected officials and assure we are making a meaningful impact for families.
What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?
Currently the biggest issue facing the district is the pandemic. It has caused a major strain on families, schools, senior care, business owners, etc. I worked closely with the governor and task force to allow for visits to long-term care homes, and to help our schools, assist small business owners and our special needs community. I have donated my entire legislative salary this year and have been helping with the School Meal Program, Table & Aid and many other civic and faith-based charities. I am inspired by the compassionate work in our community and our greatest day are ahead! Stay positive!
Why should voters keep you in this office?
In 2011, 2013 and 2017, I was named Legislator of the Year by the fire service. In 2018 and 2020, I was recognized for outstanding service by law enforcement. In 2018, I was recognized by the National Federation of Independent Business as well as a “Champion of Georgia’s Cities” by GMA. In 2020, ACCG presented me the Legislative Services Award. During the pandemic, I worked and led efforts with our north Fulton cities, county, school board, federal counterparts etc. I have been endorsed by all the north Fulton mayors, commissioners and school board members focusing on teamwork. Experience matters!
What would be your policy priority in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic?
We have been working non-stop since March addressing the pandemic. I helped author and pass the Business Immunity Bill, which helped our businesses and protected employees. I have helped thousands of people with unemployment and SBA loan information. Safety is most important, and I worked to get PPE (gloves, masks, gowns, etc.) to all our hospitals, senior citizen centers and first responders. We need to continue testing this fall and distribute the coming vaccine. I will also continue to champion and support our schools, families, senior citizens, special needs community and businesses during this time.
What state law changes, if any, should follow as a result of this year’s protests about racism and police brutality?
I was proud to vote for the Georgia Hates Crimes Law to protect everyone and punish criminals to the fullest extent of the law. People have the right to demonstrate and let their voices be heard. However, violence and looting are not acceptable and must also be prosecuted. I support the 99.9% of law enforcement which protect and serve us every day. As the Senate chairman of Public Safety, I will support all our first responders. If someone breaks the law, they must be held accountable. Public safety must be paramount.
What is an under-the-radar issue that needs more attention in the next legislative session?
In 2015, I passed the Digital Classroom Act in Georgia. When I authored this legislation five years ago, my goal was to prepare our students for the digital world and provide technology to all kids. I believe technology is the great equalizer for students, no matter the socio-economic situation or location (urban, rural or suburban). High-speed internet access is equally as important. I have been working diligently on this issue and with the remote learning and working experienced during the pandemic, I will focus even more attention in 2021 to make this a reality all over Georgia.