The right to health care is the right to life. Every year, people without access to doctors and treatment, right here in Georgia, are dying prematurely or from entirely preventable causes, and that includes kids.
It’s a public shame for our state, and it doesn’t have to continue.
As a member of the Health and Human Services Committee — not to mention the father of two children I love dearly and the husband of an ER nurse — I am committed to increasing access to healthcare in our state, not continuing to restrict it.
We need fully operational rural hospitals, trauma centers within a reasonable distance of all Georgians, and better technology to bring care within reach for more people while reducing the cost of providing that care.
I also support expanding Medicaid while making the hard political choices necessary to ensure it can pay for itself well into the future.
It simply costs more to provide treatment to people who aren’t insured, who aren’t getting preventive care, who are distant from treatment centers, and who don’t have access to technology such as remote conferencing with specialists. So let’s do what makes sense and invest in our healthcare system like we invest in our highways and power plants — the return on that investment will be tremendous.
I have two young kids, and like every parent I want the best for them. And not just the best job opportunities and best education — I also want them to come home every day happy and safe and proud of what they’ve learned.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen our K-12 budget sink steadily over the past 8 years.
We’ve seen millions siphoned off to private schools at the expense of our public institutions where most students are educated, even when teachers are being furloughed. And the currently proposed “Opportunity School District” threatens to squeeze even more from our most vulnerable districts.
We’ve seen HOPE scholarship cuts that will eventually cost more than they’ve saved. That’s because lower enrollment means fewer degrees, which leads to lower incomes, as well as less tax revenue over each student’s working life – a classic lose-lose situation.
As a recent back-to-college graduate myself, I understand the obstacles standing in the way of working people who want to continue their education, many times as requirements of continued employment or career advancement. So our state’s future depends on reform from pre-K all the way through university.
To stop the cycle, we need to first stop the funding leaks and remove barriers to continuing education. And we need to ensure we’re using best practices with a proven track record of success like enrolling more students into pre-K programs across the state, which has been proven to improve high school graduation rates.
In the long run, failing our schools is more expensive than funding them.
Georgia is currently ranked near the top for our regulatory environment, and that’s a great start, but it’s not nearly enough, not by a long shot. That’s because we have one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and are near the bottom in quality of life rankings.
The thing is, business isn’t just about regulation, or about owners. It’s about everyone, including employees. And if capitalism is going to work, it’s got to work for all of us.
Economic growth doesn’t happen when businesses have cash; it happens when regular folks have enough money in their pockets to buy cars and homes, pay rent, get clothes for their kids, and do everything else that drives our economy.
Currently Georgia is tied for the lowest minimum wage in the nation, and that figure is directly linked to our unemployment rate. Some think that lower wages mean businesses can hire more workers, but the opposite is true — low pay means less spending, which means less business, which means fewer workers are needed, even at poverty wages.
To keep Georgia from being left behind in the 21st century economy, we’re going to need a highly educated work force and the kind of quality of life that modern, high-paying companies demand.
No state can maintain sub-poverty wages for millions of workers, slash public services, and have a stable low-crime society at the same time. If we force working people into poverty, then fail to provide for their basic needs, none of us will have the life we truly want for ourselves and our kids.
As a businessman, I understand that solid companies locate and grow where the government has its act together — where policies favor an even playing field, a pleasant life, public safety, and skilled workers. That’s why I support reversing the spiral by improving education, providing support for training, and raising the minimum wage.
Once upon a time, there was more fresh water in Georgia than the population could possibly use.
Today, we’re in a policy war with Florida and Alabama which has gone all the way to federal court in Washington, because there’s no longer enough. This is the direct and inevitable result of population growth, exploding development, and more frequent and extended droughts.
Our policies and strategies for water management must catch up with the times, because our district’s economy relies on its water supply. Maintaining it depends on:
Water is a public resource, not a commodity. Current policies have us on the path toward rationing. The sooner we change, the better.