League of Women Voters Questionnaire

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What experience do you bring to the job and what is your motivation to serve the people of Georgia?

A powerful essay by R. Greenleaf called Servant Leadership spoke directly to me. This idea emphasizes collaboration, trust, empathy, and the ethical use of power. Starting from my service in the military including serving in Vietnam and my career as an engineer and manager in the engineering and construction industry gives me the experience in focusing on how to improve the livelihood of the communities. When I joined the US Army I took an oath of allegiance to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States which is my motivation to better serve the people of Georgia.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities and how would you work to achieve results?

In order to continue job growth and paying living wages in Georgia I believe the following three priorities to continue the job growth and wages in Georgia are:

  • Education for all. For many years education funding has been inadequate for our schools, teachers, and support staff. A comprehensive investment budget needs to be developed, approved and funded to make up for the past years and invest into the future. Investment in education including higher level and technical schools will pay for itself by increasing the job market and wages of the employees since educated and trained workers are needed to attract businesses and new jobs. Teachers need to be recruited and competitively paid to reduce teacher to pupil ratios. A program of educational loan forgiveness as well as expanded scholarships programs for teachers need be funded.
  • Access to Healthcare. Healthcare is a human right and needs to be made available to everyone. Working with the legislature and executive branch the expansion of Medicaid in Georgia needs to be implemented. Medical staff education and training and recruitment to provide health care to provide acceptable levels of care is required and the legislature needs to fully address this issue.
  • Gun Safety. Legislative similar to the recent actions in Florida and Vermont are needed in Georgia. These are increasing the age for purchasing of assault weapons and large capacity magazines. Improved background checks to ensure that domestic violence assaulters and individuals with mental health problems are not granted access to weapons. Besides addressing these issues, we also need to address the over 200,000 students that have been exposed to gun violence since 1999 (Columbine). The long-term affect to our children is immeasurable now but improving gun safety and through improved training and education we can start addressing these issues. In addition, gun violence is a public health menace and needs to be studied to develop further actions to reduce gun violence.

Many rural hospitals have had to close their doors since 2013 and Georgia has the worst maternal mortality rate in the nation, with 7.3 maternal deaths for every 1,000 live births. How would you address the lack of healthcare access in rural areas?

As noted in the above priorities expanding Medicaid in Georgia by closing the coverage gap and accepting federal funding. This will increase the number of insured individuals and reduce the uncompensated care costs. This will improve healthcare access in rural areas by compensated the healthcare professionals and encouraging the expansion into rural areas. We need to address maternal mortality deaths by improving pre-natal care in rural areas. Other improvements would be to allow birth control pills to be provided without prescriptions reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies.

Foreign-born Georgians own 31% of the businesses in our state. Legal Permanent Residents and naturalized citizens contribute approximately 1.8 billion dollars in state and local taxes each year. How will you help ensure Georgia is a welcoming place for foreign born entrepreneurs and their families?

Our country and state were built on immigrants leaving their home country either forced or willingly. The current fear of immigrants is not borne out by the facts. Our country and state are stronger by welcoming immigrants and providing opportunities for them and their families. Immigration is controlled by the federal government and as Georgians we need to encourage these individuals to live in Georgia.

The current minimum wage in Georgia is $7.25 an hour. A person working 40 hours makes $290 a week, approximately $1160 a month. Do you support raising the minimum wage, why or why not?

I believe that the workers should receive a living wage. The current minimum wage is almost a decade old and has not kept up with inflation and worker productivity and is actually less than the federal poverty level calculations. Receiving just a minimum wage also would put many individuals and families outside the maximum wages eligible for Medicare causing further impact to the individuals and families to have healthcare. Living wages would include costs for housing, food, healthcare, taxes etc. but still would not provide for any savings and catastrophic costs to the employee and family.

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