Occupation: Attorney and Owner of Small Law Firm named Shamp Jordan Woodward LLC
Other community service experience: Member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2008; past-President of the University of Georgia’s Law School Association Council; master with the Joseph Henry Lumpkin American Inn of Court; member of Board of Governors for the State Bar of Georgia.
What is motivating you to run for this office?
The biggest motivating factor for me is my children and their future. Every child in this state deserves a first-class education that will provide the skills to compete in an ever-changing global economy. We must invest in smaller class sizes, in our teachers, and in job training programs in high schools. Every child in this state deserves to breathe clean air and drink clean water. That is why we must stop harmful chemicals from being released into our air and water. Every child deserves to feel safe, which is why common-sense gun reforms, like universal background checks, are needed.
What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?
COVID-19 has changed everything. First, we must stop the virus from spreading. Long-term, the focus must be ensuring access to affordable, quality healthcare. This crisis has magnified the weaknesses of our system and shown us lack of access to basic care can have catastrophic consequences. There is no silver bullet, but to start addressing this issue, I would expand Medicaid. Healthy communities and strong economies are linked. Expanding Medicaid would bring over 2.5 billion healthcare dollars to Georgia’s economy. Medicaid expansion addresses the two most pressing challenges we face, economic stabilization and ensuring access to healthcare for all Georgians.
Why should voters keep you in this office?
Advocating and fighting for everyday Georgians has been my life’s work. I have approached my role as a state senator in much the same way I approach my role as a lawyer. Even in these polarized times, I have worked hard to reach consensus where it made sense. But I have fought hard against extremism when our values – and the safety of our children – were at stake. Whether dealing with the Sterigenics issue or advocating for increased education funding, my legal training and experience makes me uniquely qualified to represent a district that is so diverse and dynamic.
What would be your policy priority in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic?
My priority would be listening to medical professionals to craft policies that limit risk of exposure and spread of the disease but that will allow our economy and schools to safely reopen. For example, mask mandates work, and while no one likes wearing a mask, the people of Georgia like being in lockdown even less. Significantly, this pandemic has shown us that we need guaranteed paid sick leave, federally funded contract tracing, and standardized guidelines for schools to develop reopening plans that put the health and safety of students and teachers first.
What state law changes, if any, should follow as a result of this year’s protests about racism and police brutality?
This year’s protests in response to racism and police brutality reflect a real and collective desire to hold members of law enforcement accountable when they improperly use lethal force and a desire to address systemic racism in how law enforcement are trained and how our laws are being enforced. I believe that there need to be real reforms in Georgia law when it comes to policing including requiring racial bias training for members of law enforcement, banning chokeholds, and requiring body and dashboard cameras to keep all citizens safe, including Black and Brown Georgians.
Buckhead this year has seen an increase in gun crimes and street racing. What state law changes, if any, should be made to tackle these crime problems?
Georgia law needs to change so that guns aren’t so easily obtained by those who want to hurt themselves or others. We need to have universal background checks, red flag laws, and laws that prohibit convicted domestic abusers from owning a gun. As for street racing, I am working on legislation for next session that will empower local police to impound a car that is being used in a street race. Impounding the car will do two things: immediately stop that car and driver from street racing but also deter others from participating in future street races.