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A state representative speaks with his constituents about problems, concerns or suggestions they have for his district. A state representative takes phone calls and listens to citizens who want to share their opinions. A state representative reads mail from the people in his district to find out their attitudes towards issues. State representatives use the information from constituents to base their votes and decisions to represent the will of the people in legislative sessions.
In addition to gathering information from members of the community, a state representative shares information with the public. Representatives hold press conferences to discuss new legislation and the impact it will have on a district or on the state. They give speeches and presentations to schools, clubs and other organizations who want to learn about the legislative process or current legislative topics. A state representative might also contact a state agency to help a constituent who is having difficulty working with the agency.
A state representative identifies new laws that need to be passed. And works with your staff to thoroughly research the topic of a new bill. He networks with colleagues and meets with associations and other groups to gain support for new legislation before introducing a bill. State representatives work with their teams and with the legislative counsel's office to draft an official bill. Once the bill is finalized, a representative sends the new bill to the floor of the Georgia General Assembly.
Serving on one or more legislative committees is an important part of a state representative's job. Committees have regularly scheduled meetings to review proposed legislation. At each meeting, committee members listen to presentations from bill sponsors and public testimony from lobbyists and other interested parties. Representatives discuss new bills among themselves, offer opinions and propose amendments. They vote on each bill with their recommendations for action by the senate, such as not passing a law or passing a law as amended by the committee. After the bill clears a committee, it may be sent to another committee or to the floor for a vote.
This district along with rural South Georgia is becoming more diverse by the decade. Every ten years, we have a census that is supposed to accurately count everybody in your household and determines whether our area qualifies for funding and more representation from our government via reapportionment or redistricting. For every Georgian missed in the count, the state could lose thousands of dollars in funding (locally)— and minority communities would be hit the hardest. The Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based social policy think tank predicted one of the largest undercounts this year — particularly in states with large populations of historically undercounted minorities such as African-American and Latino communities.
House District 176 has some diverse communities such as Lakeland which has a majority-black population (53 percent) and Waycross is (56 percent) African-American. Additionally, Latinos make up a quarter of Atkinson County, but has no representation in elected government. Atkinson's largest cities, Pearson and Willacoochee have one of the largest Latino populations in the state.
In Pearson, the Latino population is 38 percent and African-Americans make up 38 percent. In nearby Willacoochee , African-Americans comprise 40% of the population and Latinos make up 15%.
Our minority communities are under-represented in elected government but under-counted in regard to the Census.
We have the power to change BOTH of these things.
Repeal or Revise the Citizen’s Arrest Law No private person should be allowed to bring forth or initiate an arrest. The perpetrators in the Ahmaud Arbery case have claimed this as a defense to the murder they committed. The current law allows for private persons to arrest another person if a felony has been committed in their presence. This law empowers individuals to serve as a shield for those who try to perform vigilante justice. It is time for that to end. No private citizen should have the right to police their own communities.
Repeal Stand Your Ground: I am a supporter of repealing Georgia's Stand your ground law in its entirety. Georgia is one of 26 states that has a stand your ground law on the books. The “shoot first, ask questions later” culture has no place in our state.
CORONOVIRUS AND HEALTH CARE IN GEORGIA: I am supporter in additional state funding for departments critical to public safety and health here in State House District 176 and particularly here in rural south and southwest Georgia. We are in a pandemic and it has cost the lives of many Georgians of all races, and specifically people of color. We should not also cut funding or grant funding to our local, county Board of Health here in Georgia. We need additional testing for COVID-19 and also we need to have a strong contact tracing program to identify who has the virus and where it is. This is not the time for any type of budget cuts to health care and our Board of Health which will impact of rural hospitals here in south and southwest Georgia.
EDUCATION: I am a supporter of properly funding public education here in rural Georgia , especially our PRE-K program. Our governor Brian Kemp has told agencies to prepare for budget cuts which could be between 10 to 14 percent -- that's a lot .. and this would severely affect our children and our teachers... Our Georgia Lottery helps to support our education system here in Georgia, and recently More than $400 million in federal emergency aid will flow to public schools in Georgia after state education officials accepted money from the CARES Act coronavirus relief fund..
I am an advocate of stopping or limiting budget cuts to the public defender's office here in Georgia and the services that they provide. In my opinion, accountability courts work and there is also a need for mental health services for defendants as well.
I would like to propose legislation which would reform the cash bail system. Right now, the cash bail system criminalizes poverty, as people who are unable to afford bail are detained while they await trial for weeks or even months. Cash bail perpetuates inequalities in the justice system that are disproportionately felt by communities of color and those experiencing poverty. Spending even a few days in jail can result in people losing their job, housing, and even custody of their children.