Candidate Questions: Asked, but never published.

Questions for House District 50 candidates. Answers will be published by Concerned Citizens of Johns Creek prior to the start of early voting. Response deadline 4/22/22 at 5 pm.  Send responses to christine00austin@gmail.com

Name:

Occupation and employer:  Self Employed, Patriot Promotions LLC.

How long have you lived in Georgia? 26 years!  Escaped from Southern California in 1996.

How long have you lived in the district, as the boundaries are currently drawn? 

1 year, however my work at State DBHDD and as a local provider for at-risk youth, has affected citizens in this area for many years.  I married Craig Cusick and moved from Cumming, in April of 2021.  He has lived and raised his kids here for almost 15 years and we are both on the Shakerag HOA Board.

Please limit your answers to the following questions to 100 words each.

  1. What do you think is the most important quality of a successful state Representative?

The ability to read, write, understand and communicate policy.  To be an approachable, responsive and effective communicator. To be an advocate for those who contact you for help.  To follow through on promises made and to not make promises where you don’t have control over the outcomes.  To always, above all else, be the sheepdog.  Watching out for bills in the hopper that may infringe on, or set precedent to, remove our individual liberties.  

  1. What are your legislative priorities if you are elected?

To ensure that radical agendas don’t end up buried in bills that pass without notice.  Especially medical mandates, removal of HIPAA rights or gun control disguised as social justice. 

To ensure that our elections are safe from tampering by passing additional laws to ensure ballot access for audits. 

To take back our public education system in Georgia by eliminating divisive teacher training and curriculum by removing privatized accreditors ( Cognia Inc. ) that forces standards handed down by the Federal Dept. of Education. 

To remove the current scoring system that includes “progress” as a qualitative measure used to determine student success, school ranking and Student Scholarship Organizations (SSO’s) qualifications for funding, and replace it with a merit based, quantitative system on the basics of reading, writing, math, science. 

To create reciprocal State accreditation standards acceptable for admission in select out of state colleges. AND/OR To pass school choice, ensuring we have a plan to support rural public school systems and the economic impact on those areas.

 I would like to increase opportunities and access to meaningful work for developmentally disabled, mentally ill and disenfranchised citizens. 

I would also like to work on smart environmental initiatives, including addressing the storm water and pollution issue in our lakes and rivers.

I would also want to work with law enforcement on lowering crime and recidivism in our area and throughout the state, with innovative ideas that put people to work.

  1. Provide examples of how you have personally led others to take political action in Georgia.

I was Top 100 most influential in social media for Newt Gingrich campaign in 2012.  Kris Anne Hall: Liberty’s Lobbyist Tea Party training and outreach coordinator, nationwide.  GOA grassroots field supporter raising awareness and volunteers. 

As the Secretary and First Vice Chairman in the Forsyth GOP,  I provided the vision and blueprint for getting volunteers to become  politically active in 5 different areas of concern; Accountability (of elected officials), Education, Elections, Right to Life and Voting (GOTV).   Fulton and Forsyth Poll watcher and volunteer recruiter. 

 Lead poll fraud witnesses in collection of 2021 election fraud affidavits for attorneys, weeks before the Fulton GOP and my opponent decided to do the same.  Provided vision, leadership and writing of the Forsyth County GOP Resolution for Audit, assisted 3 other counties to write and do the same Resolution, led county precinct chairs to rally and pass with a unanimous vote, even with leadership opposition.  Formed the first CRT and Election Integrity Action Committees in Forsyth GOP which have continued to grow.

4. Describe a time in your public service career when the will of your constituents conflicted with the party leadership. What did you do? 

When the majority of the Executive Board, precinct chairs and general members of the Forsyth GOP wanted a forensic audit of the 2020 and 2021 elections, the State GOP and our Chairman, did not.  It was determined that the majority of the people we represented wanted to go on record with a “Resolution for a Full Forensic Audit” and to officially request a special session to do this, from our legislators. We were told “it was being handled” by independent parties and lawsuits, but the GOP was not going to address it with a request for an audit.  This was the party line handed down to the Executive Boards.  I, among many others, did not accept this as an adequate answer but others who have been referred to as the RINO’s in the party did nothing, as they were told to do.   I proceeded to work around those trying to stop their pleas by getting a Resolution adopted by, 1. researching how other counties had done this 2. writing the Resolution and distributing it to the precinct chairs for review 3. the same day as a County Committee meeting.  Since I knew it would not get on the agenda by the Chairman, I had it brought up as “new business” and the head precinct chair was prepared and motioned for a vote.  It was seconded and a vote was had, in front of all to see. Those who were opposed did NOT vote against the majority on record.  The Resolution was passed and sent to Governor Kemp, Brad Raffensberger and Speaker Ralston.  It may have fallen on deaf ears, but the will of the people was done, even when those in the party did not want it. This is why a Representative should know how the rules in the General Assembly operate.

5.  House District 50 is home to a diverse population. How will you ensure that you are able to adequately represent your constituents from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, and languages?

A State Representative’s job is different from a city council member’s job.  A State Rep has to make decisions that affect ALL Ga. citizens and must understand how it impacts those diverse populations, locally and statewide. 

Representation FOR the people is BY the people – which means to me that “the People” must be involved.  I’m not planning to be a lone ranger at the State House, rather I’ll be bringing people with me from District 50 who represent all the wonderful diversity we have in Georgia.  

Having been an advocate for vulnerable populations for most of my adult life, I am acutely aware of how alert we must be on reading and finding legislation that would affect only one particular group of people, before it is passed, without their representation. 

I will actively seek out leadership in diverse groups to bring to the table for these discussions and to also watch and read bills with me.  People don’t understand that being a good legislator takes more than just one person.  There are a ton of bills that try to get passed without having been read thoroughly. Their names and numbers change radically, as well. 

Having been at the Capitol on Sine Die, last day of session, I can attest that bills can change throughout the day and if you do not have help, you can miss serious problems and vote the wrong way.  I will not be one to shy away from working with others who can help me do the best possible job, especially if they can help me to ensure equality for all of our citizens.

6.  Ideological division is a major issue in our state.  What will you do to ensure that Democrats and Republicans can work together to pass meaningful legislation for all Georgians? 

SOCIAL JUSTICE initiatives are not solely for the Democrats.  I plan to work with them on improving access to entrepreneurship opportunities and serving the developmentally disabled with meaningful work, especially here in Johns Creek where there is nothing to do after aging out of High School. 

I have recently had this experience of trying to work with both Democrats and Republicans on HB1013, the Mental Health Parity Act.  As a candidate, I was watching this bill because it was something that my previous industry has been needing for a long time. It has a lot of background work put into it by people I actually worked for and I know some are Republicans.  It is a very meaningful bill to many Georgians and it was going to pass the Governor’s desk as an example of bi-partisan success, no matter what. When I saw it was poorly written, I knew we had to work together to ensure that the language was changed and to keep the essence of the Bill, but rid it of anything ideological or infringing on our freedoms.  I listened to the concerns from the grassroots groups, found the line items in question, spoke to committee members to validate their original intentions were good and helped the sponsors see what the people saw.  They ended up removing all of our concerns.  Not rewriting them elsewhere,  but removing them altogether.  The grassroots activists should see this as a huge win for their voices having been heard.  HB1013 does not infringe on our rights with poorly written language anymore, but it does ensure better outcomes for families, increases Medicaid and Insurance rates to keep providers in business, trains co-responders for more humane law enforcement response,  increases the work force with debt relief for students in Georgia colleges, and addresses the revolving doors of the courts, emergency rooms and jails with community based crisis services that will save the taxpayers money and help those in need, when they need it the most.   I want to pass more meaningful legislation like this, that doesn’t have to go through this ugly public process again.  If elected, I will do whatever I can to be at the table with both sides to ensure there is not an ideological attempt to socialize our state and that the language is scrubbed before it gets to the hopper.

7.  How important is the concept of individual freedom to you and how would protecting the freedoms of individual Georgians factor into your decisions regarding upcoming legislation?

Hopefully, based on the above statements you can see that individual freedoms are of the highest priority.  I will say that there is a fine line that is already in place where individuals can lose their rights to freedoms, if they have displayed they are legally a danger to others. 

Law dictates this in cases of pedophiles that are never allowed to be near children again.  I know there are exceptional cases where 18 year olds got in trouble with 16 year olds in consensual relationships, but that is rare.  I would never repeal a law on the basis of personal freedoms, if a court of law deemed them a criminal in need of these parameters to keep others safe.  Otherwise, I will be looking closely at all bills and potential laws and how they may affect our personal freedoms, especially on diverse groups and those who have not committed a crime. Our freedoms allow us to pursue happiness and that is a universal need for us all.

8.  Have you ever been arrested or party to a lawsuit? If so, when and why?

 If my own filing for divorce, BK and then contempt over unpaid child support is considered a lawsuit, then yes.  Otherwise, No.  I would prefer to settle all things out of court and I haven’t gotten into any trouble with the law in my past.  Negotiation and compromise is best when possible.

9.  If you win the primary, how will you appeal to the independent, swing, and third-party voters whose votes you would need to win the general election in November?

I believe that I can win the support of those voters, especially those who are independents and middle to the left, if given the chance.  When I have taken candidate assessments, I am on the middle to right of the spectrum.  I want the Republicans to take back some authority on the environment and Social Justice issues in the truest sense, not the left wing ideological sense.   We must preserve our environment and the ability to pursue happiness.  This is what we all want and need in life.  It is a universal need that can only be fulfilled by caring for our world and earning our own success. This can only be achieved by  having access to meaningful work that doesn’t destroy life on our planet.  Social Justice warriors need to un teach what many on the left have been taught, a path to socialism.  We do not assume that someone living on the street wants to be there, but we have to see that our welfare system actually helps keep them there.  We can never even the playing field by distribution of wealth to the poor, leaving behind our ability to achieve dreams or settle for continued reliance on welfare systems.  Rather, we must find ways to distribute opportunities, education and resources to people at all levels of society.   When we focus on this one thing, the pursuit of happiness through access to meaningful work,  many of the other issues disappear.  I would try to respectfully redirect our conversations back to this universal truth and start to talk about opportunities where we can move in that direction, together.

10.  How will you support the Republican nominee in the general election if you are not chosen?

          I have voted Republican all my life.  I don’t plan to change that if I am not elected.