Resistance: the refusal to accept or comply.

For the past 20 months, we have seen time and time again the Republican Party put forth an agenda and push for policies that harm people, exclude those different from themselves, and make our society less physically safe and less financially secure for the majority of people.

Where does that leave those of us who want to fight the corruption, the racism, and the injustice of these actions?

We must resist, or else we enable this oppression to continue.

In Georgia, we had many examples of how low conservatives will go to suppress votes and push their extreme agenda.

In each of these cases crowds of people rose up in resistance and stopped bad policy before it could be made law.

But there is more work to be done:

Either we resist or we enable.

We resist so we can expand Medicaid so no one has to go without healthcare. We resist so we can protect the voting rights of minorities. We resist so we can adequately fund public schools to provide a safe and quality education to every Georgia child. We resist so we can develop a world-class and clean energy public transportation system so our children can have a future.

We resist because we refuse to be enablers. All over the United States, in communities large and small, people are resisting, registering voters, and helping new leaders get elected. Do your part.

Donate, Volunteer, and Vote.

Sally

Republican state legislators have taken to the airwaves claiming they finally got around to fully funding public education. But these legislators would benefit from going back to school themselves, to study their own legislative record. Since 2003, when Sonny Perdue (R) took office, they have cut $9.2 billion from our public schools. It will take years for our schools to recover from these losses.

My children grew up in DeKalb county, starting school in 2005, and are now preparing to graduate. Parents and kids of this generation can tell you how budget cuts have impacted their day-to-day lives. Kids have been forced to ride on school buses standing in the aisles because there aren’t enough seats. Classroom trailers have proliferated behind school buildings. Track and football fields are unusable due to lack of maintenance. And during the Great Recession of 2008, teachers were required to take unpaid furlough days.

Now, in 2018, Republicans are patting themselves on the back because for once, in a year when they are all up for re-election, they didn’t gut the education budget. Fran Millar has focused his campaign on education. Take a minute to let that sink in. A Republican state senator who, as chair of Education and Higher Education Committees many years, voted for $9.2 billion in education cuts is now trying to get re-elected to fix a system he helped break.

I’m sorry, but we aren’t that easily fooled.

At the same time that $167 million in austerity cuts were restored to the 2019 budget, legislators also redirected $100 million in taxpayer dollars from public schools to private school scholarships and an additional $18 million to for-profit charter schools. There’s no denying that transferring tax funds to private and for-profit schools is intentional slaughter of our public school system.

I’m fighting to win in Georgia State Senate District 40 because I believe the American Dream starts with high quality public education from pre-K to college. While Republicans quibble over whether teachers carry guns or teach evolution, I’m going to fight for universal pre-K so that every child can attend pre-K at their neighborhood school, for increased teacher pay to attract and keep the best teachers, and to lower the cost of technical school and college so that all Georgians can get a debt-free and high quality education that prepares them for the jobs of the future.

It takes a village to raise a child, they say, and it’ll take your support for me to get back in the General Assembly fighting for safe, free, quality public schools. Help me flip Georgia State Senate District 40 so we can invest in a more prosperous future for all of our children.

Sally

Have you heard about the effort to purge more than half a million registered voters from voting lists? The reason? The voters haven’t voted in three years.

Let’s call this what it is: partisan and racist voter suppression, and a violation of every Georgia citizen’s rights.

But purging the voter rolls is only a small part of the GOP effort to limit voting. Just this year Senate Bill 363 tried to reduce poll hours, end Sunday voting, and limit Saturday voting. All designed to reduce the voice of minority voters in DeKalb and Atlanta.

These antics aren’t new. Only a couple of years ago, Fran Millar was quoted in national media saying how he didn’t want black voters to show up at the polls.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that almost every day I have to explain to my children what politics and government used to be like, and why the behavior of our politicians and would-be leaders is unacceptable.

We must resist and reject the GOP’s efforts to normalize prejudice and oppression in Georgia. We must enshrine the values of equality, integrity, justice, and economic dignity that had started to take hold in our state. We must go back to the days when we expanded Medicaid, lowered class sizes, reduced college costs, and removed a racist state flag. We were never perfect, but we certainly were better than this.

We can increase early voting hours and locations, including weekend voting. We can get rid of racially motivated voter ID laws and registration purges. We can fix our districts so all voters have an equal voice in choosing our representatives.

We can do this together. We must take back our state from extremists. We must protect our democracy.

Will you join us? Give today. Volunteer. Vote Tuesday and vote in November!

Sally

Reading this week’s heartbreaking headlines, I am so ashamed at how easy it is for some to dismiss the pain of innocent children, especially when they are strangers to our country.

It’s not the first time our public servants have sanctioned terrible sins against people of color. Many of us aren’t surprised to hear of yet another example of our government’s long history of racist policies and practices. Yet, we continue to be shocked by how our government seems to have a regressive mandate to openly flaunt bigoted and callous policies.

And, I’ll admit, I have trouble finding any common ground with leaders who twist the meanings of sacred texts to justify their immoral acts as Attorney General Sessions did.

It’s hard for me to want to live in community with those of my neighbors who believe that the internment of children is justified because their parents are “criminals.”

And as we watch what is happening in Texas, I realize with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that we are not far from similar policies here in Georgia. How many immigrant families here already are terrified of an ICE raid destroying the productive and peaceful lives they are trying to build? If it took weeks for Trump to agree to stop ripping families apart, what new torture could families here face?

I believe in loving my enemy as myself, and teaching forgiveness instead of hate.

And no matter who you are or whether you can vote, I believe that everyone has basic human rights that our government should never be empowered to take away from you.

Some of our nation’s greatest moral breakthroughs have happened when we choose love. Love has combined our strengths and lessened our weaknesses. Love has given us hope for a better future.

Perhaps our leaders could “make America great” if they truly learned to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Sally

Are you ready to tell the Gold Dome that big change is coming?

I’m ready too.  I’ll tell you why.

Our community is diverse and thrives on embracing diversity. And yet, our legislators put forward legislation that threatens immigrants and makes it harder for minorities to vote.

Our community values the freedom to live our lives without discrimination. And yet, our State Senate voted to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ families who foster and adopt children in Georgia.

We cherish our children. And yet, our legislators have made it clear that they consider the murder of our children an acceptable sacrifice for their freedom to carry AR-15s — weapons of war — into schools, bars, churches, and businesses.

How has our leadership become so out-of-touch with humanity? Why do they ignore our voices when we say we want change?

Extreme partisan gerrymandering has pushed our democracy into dysfunction.

We need to take redistricting out of the hands of the legislature and into the hands of a non-partisan commission. We need to restore integrity to our elections by demanding a paper trail of our votes and making voting easier, not harder, for working people.

We must address our country’s wealth inequality by ensuring affordable housing and childcare, jobs that pay a living wage, and debt-free higher education that can be paid for with a minimum wage job.

Every single K – 12 school needs the resources to provide a safe, quality education no matter the neighborhood it serves.

We need to expand Medicaid to include more families, and create a public option buy-in that allows anyone to purchase government healthcare when the cost of their private policy jeopardizes their financial well-being.

We need to end the War on Drugs, decriminalize marijuana, and stop the gravy train for for-profit prisons by rolling back mass incarceration.

We need leaders who will call out systemic racism, and work to address inequalities.

We need leaders who will say that Black Lives Matter!

Mine is not the only candidacy seeking to repair the extraordinary damage that Sen. Fran Millar and other pro-Trump politicians are causing. Candidates all over the state have stepped up to win this fight.

Why? Because we refuse to let our leaders drag our laws back in time to the pre-civil rights era. We don’t all come from the same backgrounds or share the same challenges. We don’t all start life on the same playing field. If elected to represent you in the Georgia Senate, I promise you this:

I will work for you. I will ask hard questions to keep the promise of equality and progress that our people value. I will demand that your representatives treat you with respect, and address your fears.

Above all else, I will stand up and fight systemic oppression – including the lack of action in the face of the massacre of our schoolchildren. I will not stand for miscarriages of justice, where poor citizens are treated like the enemy. I will fight the denial of basic rights, like those of our citizens to vote. I will not accept the inattention and lack of compassion for the needs of women, children, and the elderly.

Together, we can achieve healthcare for all. We can raise the minimum wage. We can end the War on Drugs. We can provide affordable education. We can prevent school shootings.

We say “no more” to the far-right and to Fran Millar. We say it’s time for a change. We are ready to help Fran Millar box up his office at the Capitol.

We have some work ahead of us. If you can, make a donation and/or sign up to volunteer today to help us hit the ground running.

Sally

A campaign supporter, Cherish, who lives in a north Atlanta suburb, shared this story with me as we discussed access to affordable healthcare on Facebook. Sadly, it isn’t the first and it won’t be the last example of how many in our community are frustrated, scared, and feel a little trapped by the failure of Piedmont and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia to negotiate their contracts:

“My family is now impacted by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and Piedmont feud which made everyone out-of-network as of April 1st. I went to Piedmont Hospital today for my mammogram and walked out before having it. I had abnormalities last year and followed up at the Doris Shaheen Center for a few months with advanced testing to eventually get an all clear to resume normal annual visits.

Now, Piedmont is out-of-network, which not only means the Shaheen Breast Center is out-of-network, but also my triplet’s pediatrician, my gynecologist, and also our internist. The boys have to get tested for cancer every three months and are thankfully, tested at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, but these orders are submitted through their Piedmont pediatrician.

Piedmont is offering 60% discount for those abruptly impacted with out-of-network fees, but it still would have cost me hundreds of dollars in extra out-of-pocket. They advised that I ask BCBS to submit Continuation of Care letters for every Piedmont doctor our family visits to allow in-network charges without switching doctors.

I ran into one of our kids’ nurses in the elevator at Piedmont, and she advised to wait a month before switching all our doctors. She said this happens every time the contracts are up and assured me it will get resolved. I can’t believe we could face having to either pay out-network rates (UNACCEPTABLE) or change ALL OF OUR DOCTORS in our family. I am so livid and disgusted at BCBS. This greed may very well cost lives, and BCBS of GA would be to blame!”

With everything Cherish has to deal with between her own health issues and those of her children, you’d think it’s enough to just manage her and her family’s doctors’ visits and budget for her bills. But we all know that isn’t the reality.

Surprise medical emergencies can cost thousands of dollars, and the uncertainty of getting insurance to cover preexisting conditions remains a big concern for many Georgians.

And this contract between BCBS and Piedmont? Without it, half a million Georgians (including many in our district) face my friend’s situation – having to pay much more to see their regular doctors, or find new care providers as soon as possible.

This isn’t right.

It shouldn’t be up to lawyers and accountants whether you can go to the doctors you have trusted for years. And no one should have to choose between paying for an emergency room visit and paying their mortgage.

Our legislators haven’t done much to try to fix this situation. But, they sure have talked a lot about “personal responsibility.”

I’d argue that by allowing lawyers and accountants to interfere with access to medical care, we are taking away a person’s ability to be responsible for their own health.

Let’s stop blaming people who are sick and in need of our compassion and support. And let’s start helping people get the care they need so they can be healthier and contribute more fully to their families and their communities.

I made healthcare one of my top policy priorities because I believe it IS our government’s responsibility to provide access to affordable, quality healthcare. A strong government can support a growing economy without trampling basic human needs.

As your representative in the Georgia Senate, I will vote my values, and I will fight for a single payer system to make sure everyone in Georgia is covered. No one should have to fight their insurance companies while fighting for their health.

Sally

There’s something awesome about the collective feeling of everyone going to vote on the same day. We see old friends, we visit, and we feel a sense of community.

The problem with this experience is that it leaves people out. I recognize that not everyone has the freedom to be able to vote within that single day. People work long hours. Children get sick and must be cared for. Traffic gets in the way of voting before or after work, and workplaces are too far from voting precincts to vote during lunch.

Early voting makes voting accessible for more people. Since voting is fundamental to democracy, why would anyone be against this?

You might be against it if you know you’re becoming outnumbered by the majority and want to retain your power.

Enter Georgia Republicans. There’s a Senate bill making its way through the legislature that seeks to remove Sunday voting in the city of Atlanta and shorten the number of hours polls are open. This disproportionately suppresses minority vote, which typically favors Democrats.

This issue hits home in Senate District 40, as our current senator, Fran Millar, has a long history of speaking out against making voting more accessible. In 2014, when DeKalb county added Sunday voting hours in a predominately African American neighborhood, Sen. Millar stated, “I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.”

Senator Millar was among the majority of Republican senators who supported this year’s bill when it came up for a vote on the Senate floor.

So, let’s call it like it is. The Republicans don’t want your vote — they don’t want you to vote at all unless you look like them, think like them, or donate money to them.

We can fight this way of thinking and win back our power and voice. There’s an election coming up on May 22. Go vote and encourage others to vote. We live in a democracy, but only so long as we protect our right to vote by exercising that right.

Sally

Have you heard the news today? Fran Millar and other GOP legislators are considering voting down a tax break for Delta because Delta doesn’t want to offer discounted fares to NRA members. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, chief among the conservatives in national news today, made his position very clear: if you “attack conservatives,” you should expect them to “fight back.”

When I read that, I thought of the children in Parkland, Florida who were returning to school this week. I got angry. Georgia’s GOP isn’t fighting to protect our children from gun violence. Republican legislators here are fighting to protect the NRA.

And at what cost?

Here, in Georgia, you can carry a gun almost anywhere – onto a college campus, at a public concert, at a nightclub, into a school. We know from Virginia Tech, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Sandy Hook, that more guns in more places result in more loss of life.

Last week, I rallied with Moms Demand Action at the Gold Dome (video). Few Republican legislators would listen to our calls for common sense gun laws.

Instead, these same representatives are now seeking to punish one of our state’s largest corporations for terminating a relationship with the NRA.

What does that mean for other international companies, including Amazon, who are considering establishing headquarters offices here or bringing more jobs to our state? Will the Gold Dome next require CEOs to get NRA approval before companies can relocate to Georgia?

Our state government should be in the business of creating infrastructure, boosting our economy, and helping Georgians build more secure futures – not fighting for the rights to carry weapons of war. We shouldn’t be worrying about whether our children will return home from school alive each day.

Our representatives are so focused on the interests of one organization, the NRA, that they have forgotten their sworn duty to support the interests and priorities of their own constituents. It’s time for new leadership.

Sally

Last week, I asked you to march with me to the Georgia Capitol for the Moms Demand Action Advocacy Day. You would think protecting our children from gun violence and mass shootings would be something we all can agree on. But our state government refused to turn on our microphones. We refused to be silenced as we chanted, “Never again!”

It was a powerful day — I have never seen so many people pour into the Capitol. Many of you got to speak personally with your representatives. Unfortunately, I heard some were told, “Don’t expect anything to happen this session.”

There were several bills brought forward tightening up background checks and banning assault weapon and bump stock sales, but they languished with no action.

Yet, I am still hopeful that we have finally reached a tipping point for common sense gun reform. It’s quite possible that reform will come at the state level, as Congress continues to listen to the NRA instead of the people.

A federal court in Maryland just upheld an assault weapons ban originally enacted by the Maryland State Senate following the Sandy Hook tragedy. It is so important that we, in 2018, support and elect progressive candidates at the state level whose values are aligned with the common sense policies we need to protect our families and communities.

Today, I picked up my mail at my post office. There I found a donation with a note, “Thank you for your support against gun violence. My grandchildren’s lives are at stake.”

We are scared. We are hurting. I have a responsibility to keep fighting for change by running an effective campaign and inspiring people to vote.  And each and every one of you has the power to take the NRA down. Get involved. Help a progressive candidate. Volunteer. Make phone calls. Put up a yard sign. Make a donation. Take a friend to the polls. Make a difference.

Sally

It has happened again. I heard audio clips of the shots being fired — they were fast, they were constant, and they kept going. I’m even more outraged. This should not be possible.

So, I’m marching. Will you join me? Moms Demand Action, Wednesday, February 21, 2018, Georgia State Capitol, 10am – 1pm. Wear red. Let’s fill the Capitol. Page your legislators from the floor. Make them dedicate a day of work to listening to us. Our kids need to see adults in charge speak up for them.

Register here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1734006126656969/

Parents across the country are scared to send their children to school. Our kids and teachers now use precious learning time to practice “run, hide, fight” in active shooter drills.

And why have our politicians done nothing to stop this? Because they say, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” That’s true, but the murderers who have committed mass shootings didn’t use pistols, they used semi-automatic weapons typically reserved as weapons of war.

Our politicians say if we “outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them.” Well, so far as I have heard, most the guns used for mass shootings have been legally acquired.

And finally, NRA spokespeople will say that gun control isn’t the answer because what if one day, a “well-regulated militia” is all that stands between us and government-backed terror?

Well, for the thousands of survivors and the thousands more family members who have lost loved ones to mass shootings these last few years, I would argue that they are already living in terror, horror, and grief.

I pray that we won’t see a crime like Las Vegas, or Sandy Hook, or Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School here in Georgia. But prayers for victims are too late. We need action NOW from our representatives.

We need politicians to pass legislation for common sense gun control.

If they won’t act, we will vote them out. And until Election Day, we can keep them busy listening to us instead of the NRA.

Sally