Your candidates – Senate District 42

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt April 30, 2014

To help educate voters in our area about their choices in the May 20 elections, Decaturish.com sent local candidates a simple questionnaire. Here are the responses of the two candidates running in the Democratic Primary for Senate District 42.

Kyle Williams

Kyle Williams

Kyle Williams

Campaign website: www.kylewilliams2014.com

Have you ever run for public office or held public office before?

In 2009, I ran for an open seat on the Decatur City Commission.

Why are you running for this office?

To understand why I am running you just need to know who I am, where I came from, and what I have done day-by-day in this district for more than a decade. This campaign is personal because the issues are personal. The values and conscious of this district are my values and conscious. This district has a tradition and a moral obligation to not just be a Democratic vote, but to be a progressive advocate. I have a proven track record working on progressive and Democratic issues for more than a decade.

Please describe your professional background and list the attributes that you think make you qualified to hold this office:

I have a proven track record working on progressive and Democratic issues for more than a decade. I am the son of the factory worker and a cafeteria worker who worked her way up to teacher’s assistant. I was the first one in my family to go to college and the only one to dream of and graduate from law school paying my own way. I chair the Decatur Education Foundation overseeing a million dollar budget that removes obstacles to learning by funding student and teacher scholarships and grants to help close funding gaps and serve on the College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center Advisory Council. I serve on the Private Bank of Decatur Advisory Board and as Treasurer of the Decatur Business Association. I am former chair of Georgia Equality, a former board member of Red Clay Democrats, and a former president of Georgia Conservancy’s Generation Green. I also know what it means to make payroll and manage a small business. I know and live the fight for equality. I get this district and know that its values and conscious are mine. I am running to make sure the voices of our students, teachers, workers, our small business owners and our families are heard. I will fight for what every family deserves– fairness, good jobs, strong schools, clean water and air, equal rights, and elected leaders who never lose sight of any of these.

If you are elected to this office, what will be your responsibilities as an elected official?

I will be the progressive voice and advocate this district deserves and expects in the State Senate. I will fight to strengthen our public schools and respect our teachers to restore state imposed austerity budget cuts, remove politics from education standards, and protect state employee benefits packages. I will fight to fully fund the budget of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and guarantee our environmental trust funds are dedicated to clean-up and protect our environment. I will fight for critical healthcare advances and scientific research, including expanding Medicaid and prioritizing funding for HIV/AIDS research and prevention and maternal mortality. This district has a history of not just sitting back or waiting for the pendulum to swing. We step up, roll up our sleeves, and push. That is what I have done here on the ground in this district for over a decade. I am running to be an unwavering progressive voice, advocate, and leader.

Do you promise to act in a transparent, ethical manner if elected to this position?

I unequivocally commit and pledge to serve, act, and represent this district in a transparent and ethical manner. Governor Deal’s gut and heavy hand with the Ethics Commission and lack of transparency must stop. I will advocate for overdue ethical reforms and oversight.

Please complete the following sentence: The biggest problem facing Georgia right now is _____. Tell us what you would do to fix it.

The biggest problem facing Georgia right now is we are going down the wrong path. For nearly a decade we have seen the right wing leaders take our state down the wrong path. They vote to gut our schools, punish our teachers and undermine higher education for all of our students. They strip away environmental protections and even give corporations control over our drinking water. They wage a constant attack on core values of equality and even the right to vote. And, they do all this while a handful of so-called Democrats adopt a ‘go along, get along’ posture–standing idly by letting powerful lobbyists, corporate interests, and extremist politicians take our state further and further off track. I will fight to strengthen our public schools and respect our teachers to restore state imposed austerity budget cuts, remove politics from education standards, and protect state employee benefits packages. I will fight to fully fund the budget of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and guarantee our environmental trust funds are dedicated to clean-up and protect our environment. I will fight for critical healthcare advances and scientific research, including expanding Medicaid and prioritizing funding for HIV/AIDS research and prevention and maternal mortality. This district has a history of not just sitting back or waiting for the pendulum to swing. We step up, roll up our sleeves, and push. That is what I have done here on the ground in this district for over a decade. I am running to be an unwavering progressive voice, advocate, and leader.

Elena Parent

Elena Parent

Elena Parent

Campaign website: www.elenaparent.com

Have you ever run for public office or held public office before?

Yes, I ran for the State House of Representatives in 2010 and was one of only a handful of Democrats across the country to defeat a Republican incumbent that year. Republicans then targeted Democratic women, including myself, for elimination in redistricting, despite the fact that women make up less than 25% of the State Legislature. After my district was gerrymandered, I left the Legislature to become Executive Director of Georgia Watch, a consumer advocacy and education group, in 2012.

Why are you running for this office?

I am passionate about public service and improving the quality of life of all Georgians. I began my political career serving the citizens of District 42 as Chief of Staff to former Sen. David Adelman. This district deserves a strong, progressive voice at the state capitol and I am the candidate most equipped to be that voice. I’ve been proud to call Jason Carter and David Adelman my friends and senators. I will continue their tradition of being a strong leader for Democrats in the state Senate.

Please describe your professional background and list the attributes that you think make you qualified to hold this office:

In addition to serving as State Representative, I served as Chief of Staff to State Senator David Adelman. I am currently on leave from my position as Executive Director of Georgia Watch, a consumer advocacy organization, where we have advocated for numerous progressive positions related to energy and the environment, access to affordable, quality healthcare for all Georgians, financial protections for vulnerable Georgians, and access to civil justice for all Georgians.

Each step of my career has been geared to being a part of the fabric of my community and making it an even better place to live. I have worked as a litigator, advocated for the homeless, volunteered extensively to promote literacy, and raised money for breast cancer research. Finally, my experience as a working mother of two young boys will allow me to craft and advocate for effective legislation that will positively impact the families in this district.

I am honored to have the endorsements of Rep. Karla Drenner, Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, and Democratic State House Leader Stacey Abrams, in addition to former

Governor Roy Barnes and the entire Democratic State House delegation representing the various neighborhoods of Senate District 42. Their support speaks to my effectiveness at the State Capitol and track record of standing up for progressive values.

If you are elected to this office, what will be your responsibilities as an elected official?

My primary responsibility is to be engaged with my constituents on the issues that are important to them, utilize that knowledge to craft smart public policy, and be an excellent spokesperson for those policies at the state level. I am committed to being proactive legislator who will advocate for the issues the people of District 42 care about while providing high-quality constituent services, including regular town halls and newsletter updates, as I did as a State Representative.

As a State Senator I would also be honored to participate in a regular Decaturish.com podcast to answer questions and help keep constituents up to date on the issues and activity from their state government.

Do you promise to act in a transparent, ethical manner if elected to this position?

Yes.

Please complete the following sentence: The biggest problem facing Georgia right now is _____, Tell us what you would do to fix it.

The biggest problem facing Georgia right now is our severe underfunding of education.

As a mother of two young children, I know nothing is more important than our children’s education. For too long, we have shortchanged our future by underfunding our schools. The success or failure of everything else — the readiness of our workforce and the state of our economy — begins in the schools.

That’s why, as a member of the State House, I fought the devastating cuts Governor Deal made to our schools and I voted to protect the HOPE scholarship. In the State Senate I will fight to restore those cuts. I will also work to develop and fully fund a statewide Pre-K program, because our children deserve it.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • me

    thanks, this was very helpful

  • guest

    Why is Parent saying that she voted to support Hope and fought the cuts? She voted WITH Governor Deal to gut the program. That’s not ok.

    http://thegavoice.com/gay-candidate-kyle-williams-heated-race-elena-parent-ga-senate-seat/

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cindy-abel/gaybashed-by-allies-dirty_b_5044290.html

  • Bryan

    I heard both of these folks last week at Agnes Scott. It’s too bad that only one can be elected. Both would make fine representatives. Though the negative flyers I get weekly from Friends of Kyle Williams is very disappointing. (And I am not an Elena Parent supporter, but I could see myself become one.

  • Hyacinth

    Elena Parent has a far more detailed plan for carrying out goals for our communities and seems to be a truly positive person. Kyle Williams’s negative, kind of trashy, campaign ads leave me quietly disgusted. He’s lost his credibility with me.

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