Of the people, By the people, and For the people:
An Agenda for Government Accountability, Expanded Voting Rights, & Campaign Finance Reform
Healthy democracies listen and respond to the needs of their citizens. Right now, the promise of our democracy is off balance and broken. We as citizens expect that our input matters and the process is fair for all. We need to drive up transparency, get targeted special interests out of politics, and make government accountable to the people. It’s time to renew our democracy.
As I travel across our 7th district, too many feel that Washington does not work for them. We need to change that.
Thanks to targeted special interests and partisan redistricting, solutions to pressing issues like health care are stuck in political limbo. This is not acceptable. District are drawn to favor one side over the other, so much so that politicians do not believe they can be held accountable. On top of that, corporations can spend unlimited amounts in our elections, drowning out the voices of the people. The result? More dysfunction, and less action.
Government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people -- not for the corporations. If I am elected, I will work hard to enact meaningful reforms in Congress.
Voters in the 7th district can hold me to account on the following:
Reject Corporate PAC Money: I have taken a pledge not to accept any corporate PAC money in my campaign, and that pledge will go with me to Washington. Corporations spend billions of dollars each year donating to politicians and political campaigns. Why? Because they want to gain influence. My opponent has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporate PACs, and then he regularly votes in their favor. We deserve better. By rejecting any corporate PAC money, I will always be accountable to the people, not the big corporations, not the special interests.
Enact Meaningful Campaign Finance Reforms: There are several measures we can pass in Congress to begin getting money out of politics. I believe we should prioritize small-donor donations through public-fund matching. We should also pass the DISCLOSE Act of 2018, or the “Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act. This bill would increase transparency in our election system by requiring that PACs, corporations, and political nonprofits disclose the names of donors contributing $10,000 or more during an election cycle, and it also mandates that any organization file a report with the FEC should they spend more than $10,000 on political advertising.
Expand Voting Rights: We should use every chance we have to make voting easier, not harder. I support the legislation introduced by Congressman John Lewis and Senator Patrick Leahy to reinstate key provisions of the Voting Rights Act with a more modern formula for oversight of states with a clear history of racial discrimination. By moving to paper ballots to ensure transparency, we can make our voting system more trusted. By expanding voting rights, we can allow more people in our democracy to participate.
Push to Move to Paper Ballots: I have deep concerns about the security of our voting systems. We must ensure the safety, security, and transparency of our voting system. Back in March, I drafted a letter signed by all the other candidates in the GA-07 primary as well as other races to call for a transition to hand-marked paper ballots in GA before the 2018 elections, and recently, I again called on the state to move to paper ballots as soon as possible. Georgia’s voting machines are old and vulnerable to hacking. Voters are concerned that their votes won’t be counted. We must move to a hand-marked paper ballot voting system, because we deserve a voting system that is trusted.
End Partisan Gerrymandering: The polarization and inaction in Washington are worsened by partisan gerrymandering. When asked if he was worried about having a challenger, Rep. Woodall said in the AJC, “It’s gerrymandering that makes these things noncompetitive, right?” This means that he believes the district is drawn so he can’t lose; therefore, it doesn’t matter how he votes. When districts are drawn to disproportionately favor one side, too many elected officials like Woodall do not feel a responsibility to be accountable to the people -- because they know they’ll be re-elected no matter what -- and both sides of the aisle play this game. This needs to change. We need nonpartisan commissions to draw fair Congressional districts, and I will advocate for this in Washington. I will support the Redistricting Transparency Act of 2017 introduced by Rep. Jim Cooper, which requires states to be open and transparent with their redistricting process and allow public input.
Support a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United: Overturning Citizens United is an uphill battle, but we must restrict corporate influence on our elections. When corporations have the ability to spend unlimited amounts in our elections, their influence drowns out the voices of voters. We must do better. I will support a Constitutional amendment to overturn this Supreme Court decision and give Congress the ability to enact new laws regulating money in politics.
Democracy Day: In addition to expanding voting rights, I will support legislation to make Election Day a national federal holiday, thus giving more people time to vote and allowing for more polling locations and poll workers. Our democracy doesn’t work unless everyone has the chance to participate. We must give everyone an equal chance to vote – and creating a federal holiday will help level the playing field.
Hold Regular Town Halls: I pledge to hold regular, in-person town halls in both Gwinnett and Forsyth Counties, because as your Representative, it is my job to listen and be accountable to you. My opponent, Rep. Rob Woodall, has failed to hold regular in-person town halls since he was elected in 2010. He does not allow his constituents the ability to ask him questions in-person, nor get their feedback. I pledge to be open and accessible to you, because to effectively serve you, I need to hear everyone’s concerns.