Occupation: iDiehl Solutions LLC. After more than two decades as a life and health insurance professional, I formed my own company in 2016, and own my independent life and health insurance brokerage.
Previous elected offices held: 2nd Vice Chair, DeKalb GOP
Other community service experience: I am active at Mount Paran Church, where I drove an E-350 14-person passenger shuttle for two-and-a-half years. I have served breakfast at Rescue Atlanta Homeless shelter, taught Sunday School to 3-year olds at North Point Community Church, conducted worship services for inmates at the Lee Arrendale Women’s prison in Alto, Georgia, and supported foster families through Promise 686. Also I have served on short term mission trips to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; San Juan de Lurigancho, Peru; and New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
What is motivating you to run for this office?
As a 44-year resident of DeKalb County, and a product of our public schools, I was saddened to see elementary schools with a failing score in our district. We can do better for the future of our children. In 1996, I started selling health insurance to small businesses and have seen the devastating impact of increase after increase. Now the cost of individual insurance is also unsustainable and I am ready to lend my 20-plus years of real experience in the field to implementing solutions. My parents modeled servanthood for me growing up.
What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?
Top-quality public schools, and school choice are absolutely essential for Georgia’s future. Public schools should receive sufficient funding to deliver an excellent education to our children. Third-grade reading levels are a big indicator of the direction of a child’s future in life. We need to increase teacher pay and develop solid plans to help failing schools. I have spoken with some educators that have brilliant ideas we can implement.
After the new “ATL” regional transit authority forms, what local transit priorities would you advocate, if any?
We need a comprehensive and integrated transit network across metro Atlanta. That means rail, conventional bus, bus rapid transit, flex (micro) transit, flexible lanes and toll lanes — all of the above. Transit works only if it takes people from where they are to their desired destination. That means different modes in different areas. I think heavy rail is an out-of-date, extremely expensive (over $250 million per mile construction costs) form of transit that is, and always will be, underutilized. The move to autonomous vehicles will completely change the transportation landscape and we need to be ready for that.
What is your position on reducing or eliminating the state income tax and why?
The state of Georgia has been talking about eliminating our state income tax for a long time. No more talk, it’s time for action. We are flanked by Tennessee and Florida, who have no state income tax, and I support the same for Georgia. Eliminating the state income tax will bring more jobs to Georgia and House District 81 while giving more take home pay to hard-working citizens. Eliminating the state income tax will obviously cut revenue, but I believe if we eliminate waste and redundancy, we will actually have more than enough revenue.