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.


In 2001, Gov. Roy Barnes asked me to serve on his newly created State-Wide Commission for Hispanic Affairs.  As part of that work, I served on the higher education sub-committee, which began its work with the following assumption — providing access to higher education to ALL bright, young people makes for a richer, more productive Georgia.

The issue of undocumented immigration has never been an easy one. Last summer I traveled with the Emory Farm Worker Project with my church youth group. Many of the farm workers are still undocumented because there aren’t enough H2-A Visa workers to handle the harvests. And believe me, most Americans wouldn’t survive this work if it paid ten times what it does.  For years, we have enjoyed the fruits of their labor; the least we can do now is educate their children.  We’ll be richer and more productive for it.

It is said that former President Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) dealt with the immigration issue with a scalpel, rather than a hatchet. Our current president prefers a hatchet.

As someone who has done graduate training in the area of child and family development, let me tell you that hatchet-style deportation is emotionally equivalent to physically amputating a limb.  Many of these young people will suffer devastating psychological effects when torn away from everything they know and love.  In fact, we know that the damage begins with the threat of loss, so Trump’s decision to “end” DACA with a six month delay has real implications for those affected, starting today.

My 17-year-old son attends classes at Georgia Perimeter College (GSU).  This morning I mentioned to him that Trump announced the end of DACA.  He replied, “You remember Julio, the guy in my composition class that I helped with his essay? He is one of those Dreamer kids.”  If you have kids, chances are you know Dreamer kids too.

Activate the calls to Congress. It’s time to speak out . . . again.