Occupation: Attorney, Holcomb + Ward, LLP
Previous elected offices held: I have been a state representative since being elected in 2010.
Other community service experience: Since leaving active duty in 2004, I have represented veterans and their family members on a pro bono basis. I have also served on the State Bar of Georgia Military Legal Assistance Program Committee since 2008 and the Suicide Prevention and Awareness Committee since 2013. I previously served as an advisor to the Northlake Community Alliance and as a trustee on several boards including the Georgia Perimeter College Foundation and HOPE Atlanta, a nonprofit that works to end homelessness.
What is motivating you to run for this office?
I have a strong commitment to public service that precedes my time in politics. I like to help people and solve problems, and I find public-sector problems to be the most challenging that we face. Specifically, I’m interested in improving Georgia’s performance on several issues, including healthcare, education, infrastructure and transportation/transit. I also want to continue working on issues of sexual and domestic violence. I’ve been the driving force on major legislation over the last few years to help end the backlog of untested sexual assault kits and to provide greater protections to victims of domestic violence.
What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?
I’ve spent a lot of time speaking with my constituents and there’s no single issue. They are concerned about many issues, including healthcare, education, jobs, transit and public safety. They want the government to run effectively and efficiently. I’ve been a leader on all of these issues at the Capitol. I do my homework, actively listen and seek input, and vote for what I think is best for our district and the state. I fight for transparency every step of the way so voters can make informed decisions. I build coalitions and get things done.
After the new “ATL” regional transit authority forms, what local transit priorities would you advocate, if any?
The ATL is a governance and funding structure. I supported it, but it remains to be seen how it will fare in practice. The bottom line is simple: we need more transit investment. We can’t build enough roads to solve our traffic problems. Ask any engineer or transportation expert and they’ll tell you the same thing. Building our transportation and transit infrastructure in the metro area is essential for our economic competitiveness and way of life. It’s a must-do, not a maybe-do.
What is your position on reducing or eliminating the state income tax and why?
I voted to reduce the state income tax rate. We hear about eliminating the income tax every election cycle, but I don’t see any likelihood of that happening. More than half of the budget is derived from income taxes, so it would be extremely challenging to make up that revenue from other sources. That revenue pays for schools, roads, prisons and healthcare. If the income tax were eliminated, sales taxes would rise to make up the difference. With about 75 percent of GDP coming from consumer spending, it’s unlikely that massively raising sales taxes would help the economy.