Mike Wilensky

Mike Wilensky.


Occupation: Wrongful death/serious injury lawyer

Previous elected offices held: Incumbent, State Representative HD79

Other community service experience: Anti-Defamation League Board Member and Civil Rights Committee Member; Rotary Club of Metro Atlanta member; former City of Dunwoody Sustainability Committee member; former Dunwoody Farmers Market Committee member; former Ashford Chase (Dunwoody) HOA President; former Rotary Club of Dunwoody member; former The Posse Foundation Leadership Committee member; former Past President of Brotherhood at Congregation B’nai Torah.

What is motivating you to run for this office?

As a father to two young daughters, I recognize the need to build a brighter future. I believe we must do more to protect our children and our most vulnerable along with creating opportunities for our community. Also, we must make sure our children are safe at school and have the proper environment and support for them to thrive.

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

We know our schools are crowded. If we want to see our children get the most out of in person learning experiences, which we hope to return soon, we need to manage school sizes. Last year I introduced HB 898 that would allow counties and cities to take into consideration school capacities when deciding requests for a zoning permit. Also, taxes are a major concern. As your state representative, I worked across party lines and passed HB 507, which stopped improper taxation of businesses by the DeKalb tax assessor. I will continue to make sure our businesses aren’t unreasonably taxed.

Why should voters keep you in this office?

I was born and raised in the Perimeter area. I know this area and I stand with you for fiscal responsibility and social responsibility. As your state representative, I have strived to be accessible and accountable to you. I was so proud this year to have been able to vote in support of the Hate Crimes Bill, which I have been advocating for since 2013. I also passed legislation that lowered taxes on Dunwoody residents. As your representative, I will always fight to have House District 79 be the best place to live, work and raise a family.

What would be your policy priority in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic?

The biggest policy priority in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic is addressing the needs of our healthcare systems and hospitals. Expanding Medicaid is essential in fighting coronavirus here in Georgia and helping those suffering from the virus have the best chance to safely recover. Medicaid funding is crucial to help doctors to have the proper foundation, technology and equipment to properly fight this pandemic. This is a fiscally responsible decision as we will receive billions from the federal government that will go directly to our hospitals.

What state law changes, if any, should follow as a result of this year’s protests about racism and police brutality?

We are fortunate to have police officers here in House District 79 that truly serve and protect. It has been an honor to work with our police chiefs and also see them at some of the protests in support of those being mistreated. Also, I learned from Chief Grogan how much training the Dunwoody Police officers go through. I believe we must require all police officers to wear body cameras. This creates full transparency of encounters between police officers and citizens along with providing unbiased footage. Also, we must look at legislation that makes sure police officers are properly trained.

What is an under-the-radar issue that needs more attention in the next legislative session?

Students used to be only bullied in school. Now some are bullied 24 hours a day. I proudly introduced HB 1053, which addresses and defines cyberbullying, cyberstalking and harassment online. We need to protect kids that are receiving attacks digitally. We need to handle this trauma that is causing children to commit suicide. Also, there were more cuts to disabled and elderly programs. Protecting the needy is a priority. I will work on getting more funding to families with disabled children. We must help those with children who can’t take care of themselves and not force them to move.

John Ruch

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