Responses by Connie Biemiller, candidate for Ga. House District 66 (Democratic Primary)

Tue, 07/01/2008 - 8:27pm
By: Connie Biemiller

1. What would you do as a legislator to respond to the growing energy crisis? What will you do to specifically address the plight of families in Georgia as pocketbooks are being stretched to pay for gas, groceries and utility bills?

The first thing that must happen is that the legislature must recognize this situation as a crisis — this has yet to happen. I will be a very vocal member of the assembly in this regard.

We cannot afford to let time continue to march on without taking a very active stand in making sure we are protecting Georgians and their prosperity. We could quickly offer incentives and cut the red tape for local companies to begin implementing fuel alternatives and place it in the mainstream market.

We have local farmers who are already gearing up to sell their produce through a cooperative means. Our government needs to act as a fluid conduit for these changes to take place.

I will do all I can to support and lead these efforts in the assembly along with continuing my community emails to my district apprising them of local businesses in our area that are offering products and services that further the well being of our families.

2. Georgia consistently ranks near the bottom in education excellence nationwide. What will you do to correct that problem?

Georgia needs to be educated about education. What I mean in this regard is that I have received over the past few months many opportunities for education on Georgia Education and have been stunned by what I have learned.

We have graphs showing exactly what a student can be prepared to make monetarily with different levels of education. We have statistics showing exactly what happens to a community that lacks in high graduation rates.

There should be an initiative across Georgia to begin educating our communities of the actual outcome of not raising our graduation rates and encouraging our students not to stop their education at an undergraduate degree.

We have the knowledge and tools in our hands to make Georgia #1 in education and Fayette County is living proof that this can be done. We just first have to believe that it can be done and begin to take hold of the fact — Georgia no longer lives in a culture where a high school diploma is enough to prosper a family.

3. Do Georgia taxpayers pay too little in taxes, about the right amount or too much in taxes? What specifically will you do and what bills will you author to help state taxpayers?

Let me take this question one step further: Georgians do not pay the right taxes. When in a time of drought our tax money is allocated toward a fishing program in the Governor’s hometown, this brings home to roost that our lawmakers are woefully out of step with the needs of the people they govern.

I propose the passing of a TABOR Initiative (Tax Payer’s Bill of Rights) specifically tailored to the needs of the citizens of Georgia. I am convinced that Georgians want their State House run as they run their own house – funding vital services first and extras if the resources are left over.

Lawmakers have lost sight of the concept of “delayed gratification” that prospered our society decades ago. Only by returning to this stance, will we be able to provide for future generations.

4. What makes you the right person to serve the people of Fayette County?

I was called into action by the South Fulton and Fayette Community due to the literal poisoning of thousands of its citizens in the summer of 2006. A toxic pesticide known as Ethoprop “the onion smell” was being emitted into the air 24 hours a day for a three-month period.

Due to the inaction of state officials, I began leading the way in protecting the community — resulting in the shutdown of this billion-dollar corporation’s processing operations within a six- month period. And, even further resulting in the largest fine ever levied against a corporation by the Environmental Protection Division in the State of Georgia.

This seat in the Georgia House of Representatives will further my ability to lead the Fayette Community in enhancing the community’s prosperity and compelling the State Assembly to always carry the banner for the citizen rather than the corporation.

5. What is your legislative position on SB 458, charter schools in general and the Clayton County school situation in particular?

SB 458 highlights the need for our lawmakers to think a bill through thoroughly – running many different scenarios to make sure it is the absolute best bill for Georgians. In this case, legislators acted hastily and Fayette County would have been the worst for it.

Clayton County must deal with Clayton County. There were many red flags going up at the State level prior to this crisis. Lawmakers should have stepped in to safeguard Clayton County students.

6. Would you vote for or against a switch to district voting for the Fayette County Commission? Why or why not?

I propose that the districts remain as drawn with three district representatives and two at large. I feel that the three commissioners from the districts should be elected only from the people living in that district.

At this point, we have the outlying areas of South Fayette and North Fayette with no direct representation. Many of our citizens are represented both by their City and County – however - those in outlying areas find themselves under-represented.

7. Mass transit (especially MARTA) into Fayette is opposed by many Fayette voters. What’s your position and why? Address the concerns of increased crime coming with mass transit.

I propose a mixed-use mass transit plan tailored to the specific needs of Fayette County. With a gas crisis upon us, it is imperative that we begin to lessen our oil dependence and begin regaining control over the use of our energy resources.

Many of our citizens now meet in church parking lots to carpool – this could be better publicized and some communities might opt to have a bus pick them up at the carpool area as the carpool community grows.

I propose emission free services when this option arises for a community. Taking local control of the design of our transit will automatically reduce the problem of increased crime – it would be specifically for Fayette commuters.

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1. You have developed a reputation as an environmental crusader, and your social work involves much government contact. How well will you represent the interests of small and medium businesses, the engine that drives this county?

Who would have ever thought I would be seen as an environmental crusader – not I. My crusade is solely for the people of our community. I am passionate for our community and our prosperity and anything that might affect us negatively I would work to diminish just as I have with the PSC event.

I am the daughter of a medium sized business owner and an inventor and I own a private practice myself. I absolutely know the risk it takes to begin and maintain a business and want to safeguard our businesses so that their investment into the community is always a solid position.

2. Are you not just a one-issue Democratic candidate in a majority Republican county? How well will you represent Fayette County’s majority interests?

I see this as a continuance in my answer given above. Yes, it was a single issue that propelled me into action and it has called upon my gifts of leadership and diplomacy in order to have successful outcomes.

Yes, I am running on a Democratic ticket, but when elected I will represent my entire district no matter the party.

I have been representing the Fayette and South Fulton Community now for two years – we are a community that has come together to work for the higher good.

When we gather together – we are Democrat, Republican, Black, White, Rich and Poor. This community knows I care deeply for us all and will do all I can to advance our well-being as their State Representative.

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