Democrats Jason Hayes and Ken Lawler face off for the right to battle incumbent Chuck Martin, Alpharetta, in November for the District 49 House of Representatives seat.
Forty-three-year-old Jason Hayes has lived in the district for five years and has an extensive background in healthcare. The small business owners says he decided to run in order to provide the best interest if his district. Hayes volunteers with 100 Black Men of North Metro and the Drake House and has interned for U.S. Representative Jim Cooper. Hayes' top three priorities include healthcare, small business advocacy and education.
"I believe the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed our healthcare system here in Georgia," Hayes said. "Many people have lost their jobs and may not be able to afford COBRA. Also, many people do not have insurance at all. Given this, GA Medicaid expansion would offer 400-500 thousand people access to affordable health care. Also, federal matching funds will help aid hospitals who provide care to our patients. This is funding is important to critical access hospitals who are on the verge of closing."
Hayes said COVID-19 also showed how resourceful educators are.
"If we were to improve in-classroom and administrative support, teachers would be more effective at educating all children especially our children with special needs," Hayes said. "Next, we need to ensure our school teachers are compensated in a competitive manner. This includes improving overall educators‘ salaries and benefits. In this manner, we recruit the best educators who have the desire to ensure our children receive the best education."
According to Hayes, the biggest problem facing District 49 is transportation. If elected, Hayes said he would push to encourage business to allow more employees to work from home, thus clearing the roadways. Hayes said he would also discussions on four-day work weeks.
"All of these opportunities would help improve transit not only in our district but throughout the Atlanta Metro," Hayes said. "Furthermore, the reduced amount of gas engined vehicles on the road will reduce carbon emissions which is good for the environment."
Leadership, dedication to service, fairness and accountability are all traits Hayes says will make him the best candidate for the job.
"I believe it is critical for a candidate to have relevant experience for this job," Hayes said. "My background in healthcare, health policy, business and my experience working with a U.S. Representative makes me an ideal candidate for State Representative of House District 49."
Occupation: Board Certified Internal Medicine Doctor and Small Business Owner
Years in Living in the district: 5 years
-16 years experience as a Physician
-Small Business Owner
-Medical Doctorate degree
-Masters of Science in Public Health
with a focus on Healthcare Administration
-Physician Executive Masters in Business Administration
-Former CDC Epidemiology Intern
-Former Congressional Intern to U.S. Representative Jim Cooper
-Former Health Policy Advisor and Subcommittee Chairman
-Former Health and Wellness Chairman with 100 Black Men of North Metro
Democrat Ken Lawler has lived in Alpharetta for 26 years and spent 40 years working at IBM. The 65-year-old says he decided to run to "improve the lives of our fellow Georgians by strengthening our public schools and supporting our teachers."
"I pledge to be a good listener and a strong advocate for everyone in our district," Lawler said. "I also want to reform our election practices to encourage every legally eligible Georgian to register and vote. And following the 2020 census, I will ensure that redistricting is transparent, fair, and open to input from citizens, not just legislators. You deserve a strong voice in government – I want to be that voice."
Lawler said his top priorities include public education, healthcare access and small business and transportation. Lawler wants to ensure full education funding, "expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and take advantage of the $3 (billion) in federal funds that would be brought back to Georgia to provide care for approximately 475,000 people" and improve the commuting experience.
We are entering a period of uncertainty and change due to the COVID-19 pandemic," Lawler said. "This has already affected how we live our lives, go to school, and work. We will need to adjust our state’s priorities to reflect limited resources and state revenues. We need to make sure that Alpharetta’s voice is heard loud and clear, and that our priorities - schools, business community, transportation, and health care are respected."
Occupation: Retired IBM Consultant
Years in Living in the district: 26
Relevant Experience: HOA president of my homeowners’ association for 5 years and nearly 40 years at IBM. I worked with large teams to build solutions for our customers’ most challenging problems. Since leaving IBM, I have devoted much time to reforming our system of government. At the state level, since 2019, I have lobbied our legislature to reform redistricting practices, an important issue facing the General Assembly in 2021.
Republican incumbent Chuck Martin has served as the District 49 representative since 2003. Martin and his family have lived in Alpharetta since 1992, when he was elected to Alpharetta city council. Martin served as the Alpharetta mayor from 1995 to 2002. According to his campaign website, Martin wrote a city budget in May 1995 that paid for a $17 million transportation and parks bond issue without a tax increase.
Martin's issues include property tax assessments, education, neighborhoods and ensuring Georgia jobs.
The democratic winner in the June 9 election will battle Martin for the house seat.
Martin has not responded to Neighbor Newspapers' request for comment.