Republican incumbent Meagan Hanson and Democratic challenger Matthew Wilson are vying for the District 80 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives in the Nov. 6 general election. Both are Brookhaven residents, the district includes Brookhaven and parts of Chamblee and Sandy Springs and both were unopposed in the primary.
Hanson has been endorsed by Gov. Nathan Deal while Wilson has been endorsed by former President Barack Obama and former Gov. Roy Barnes.
Hanson said she is seeking a second term, because, as a state representative, she said she has brought significant, positive change to that district through transit reform, increased education funding, “and leading the charge to keep Georgia free from hate and discrimination.”
“Last year, I coauthored House Bill 930 to transform and unify the multiple transit systems serving the Atlanta metro area under one banner, The ATL,” she said. “This link between the transit systems is not only key to expanding service to areas like Cobb and Gwinnett counties, but also to improve local connectivity as well.”
She said her next legislative task is to reform transit funding to make sure The ATL and its member agencies, including MARTA, receive the financial backing from state and local partners, “so that transit can expand service to meet the needs of our communities.”
Wilson said he is running for this seat because, “I am horrified by the direction our politics is going and deeply believe our leaders at the state level should be doing more for all Georgians.”
“The 2016 presidential election was a wakeup call that signaled we all need to do more,” he said. “For me, that meant running for this seat to advocate both myself, a gay man targeted year after year by anti-LGBT religious liberty bills and the myriad priorities our state legislators are currently neglecting under the Gold Dome.”
Hanson said she is seeking re-election, and is the best choice in this race, because she has a proven record of providing the district’s residents with a respected voice at the state capital.
“My opponent can make nothing but promises, but I have already delivered results and I have a proven record of working across party lines to pass legislation, such as the transit bill and the brunch bill,” she said, referring to Senate Bill 17, which she was the House sponsor for.
The new law allows Georgia’s restaurants to serve alcohol on Sundays starting at 11 a.m. instead of 12:30 p.m., following approval of a referendum by each municipality’s residents.
“The earlier opening time is expected to generate $100 million in revenue for small businesses across the state,” Hanson said.
Wilson said he is the best candidate because, “I am the only candidate who doesn’t take money from corporate PACs (political action committees), special interests and lobbyists.”
“I am accountable only to the voters of House District 80 and their interests, and I am also the only candidate who has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood and National Abortion Action League (NARAL),” he said.
“I am proud to stand with women across Georgia who are owed a say in their healthcare and family planning decisions, a say that the Legislature will attempt to deny them if Roe v. Wade is overturned under Trump’s Supreme Court.”