When people ask me why I'm running, I tell them I'm running because I believe our elected leaders need to start putting people first.
This year Georgia fully funded our state’s public schools for the first time since 2002. That’s the #1 issue I ran on last year. And make no mistake, it’s only because candidates ran and won elections on funding public schools that our Governor and State Legislature finally did the right thing.
But we have a lot more work to do. We fund schools in Georgia based on the Quality Basic Education funding model (QBE). The QBE was introduced in 1985. We’re paying for 2018 schools with 1985 dollars. Let’s TRULY fully fund our schools!
Saving our schools also means we need to:
- Provide affordable broadband throughout the entire state so that students can have the resources they need for success. This year I spoke in the House in favor a bill that will help expand broadband to overlooked communities in Athens and Oconee, and the Governor signed that bill.
- Address the rising costs of post-high school education for students and their families. We’ve got HOPE funds to help more Georgia families afford our colleges and technical schools — let’s use it. I am proud to co-sponsor a bill that will expand post-secondary financial aid in Georgia.
- Invest in state schools by raising Georgia out of the “below average” pay category for our kids’ teachers.
- Direct all state education funds to public schools.
Lower Skyrocketing Auto Insurance Rates
Georgia’s car insurance rates are rising faster than almost anywhere else in the nation. And there’s a clear reason why. In 2008, the Legislature voted to de-regulate the insurance market, allowing insurance companies to raise rates as much as they like. Some companies raised rates as much as 25% last year alone!
This year I introduced legislation to authorize the Georgia Insurance Commissioner to do their job and restore the power to the office to keep the insurance industry accountable and transparent.
As a software programmer, I’m well aware of the threat that Georgia’s outdated voting technology presents to our elections. We’re running Windows 2000 on systems that have been given a “D” rating and worse. Georgia should be a leader in election integrity, not a case study in mismanagement. That’s why we should:
- Switch to Paper Ballots Immediately. It’s the only way we have a paper trail to audit if something goes wrong or misconduct is suspected.
- End Gerrymandering. I’ll fight for an Independent Redistricting Commission in 2020 to stop politicians from cherry-picking their voters, so we can ensure that every vote counts. And while we’re at it, I’ll work to replace Georgia’s easily-hacked voting machines so Georgians no longer have to wonder whether their elections are fair.
- Make it Easier to Vote, Not Harder. I am proud to co-sponsor a bill that would allow Georgians to pre-register to vote when they turn 16, making their registration at age 18 automatic.
I’m motivated by my faith. In my faith, you look out for your neighbor. By looking out for one another, we build a strong, powerful community. To me that means we need to:
- Close the Medicaid Gap. Healthcare should not be a privilege. America’s healthcare system has the highest costs and results in the lowest life expectancy of any country in the industrialized world. The difference: other nations offer healthcare to all. Meanwhile, Georgia legislators turned down federal health coverage that would have helped the more than 600,000 uninsured Georgians. I am proud to co-sponsor legislation that would not only expand Medicaid but also save rural hospitals and the thousands of jobs that come with them.
- Repeal Campus Carry. Our legislators are supposed to represent us, but too often, they don’t. The Georgia Legislature voted to allow guns on campus despite overwhelming opposition from educators, law enforcement, parents and students — and above all Georgia voters. That’s not representative democracy – that’s too many legislators in the pocket of the NRA.
- Fight for a Livable Wage. If you work 40 hours a week, you shouldn’t be living in poverty, or anything close to it. Our state’s minimum wage laws are out of date and hurting Georgia families.
- Defend Reproductive Rights. With the U.S. Supreme Court in the balance, we cannot take anything for granted. I will fight against efforts to limit access to contraception and any attempt to rollback reproductive rights for Georgia women.
- Stand with LGBT Georgians. Our Legislature passed a religious discrimination bill that not only was an assault on LGBT Georgians but also would decimate our state’s economic growth. Just proposing this law sent prospective investors in the state fleeing and hurt Georgia’s economy.
- Deliver Tax Credits to Working Families. Our State tax code should honor work. This year I co-sponsored a bill that would deliver tax credits to working families. These credits boost spending power and make health care more accessible.
- Pursue Smart Justice. We should accept nothing less than a criminal justice system that treats all Georgians equally. That means it should not be a crime to be working class. For starters, we should eliminate cash bail.
- Promote Smart Growth and Road Safety. With your support, I’ll fight to enact smart growth plans that save Athens-Clarke and Oconee Counties from turning into another poorly planned Atlanta suburb. And I will push to boost driver safety on 316 by extending limited access.
- Attract and Create Higher-Paying Jobs. As a successful tech entrepreneur and long-time Four Athens mentor to local start-up companies, I know that investing in our local workforce is key to attracting and growing the kinds of businesses that will sustain our community for the long-term. As your representative, I will work to ensure that workers in Athens-Clarke and Oconee have the skills to compete with anyone in the state, the nation, or the world.
Together, we’ll encourage entrepreneurial growth in our state and in our district that works for everyone. Let’s strengthen our community together by putting people first!