On May 23rd, Georgia’s 2018 primary will be over. And if you’re feeling like me (and you probably are), you’re ready to put this stage behind you.

Through the years, I’ve seen Democrats fight hard to avoid having primaries. For one, primaries cost money – money that could be used to fight far-right Republican agendas. We need to get ready for the upcoming BIG fight and you can help us start strong! Please make a donation today to help us refill the coffers: Click to Donate.

Secondly, primaries can get ugly, as I know we’re all painfully aware. While there’s no denying that in the short term, difficult primaries can be energy draining, in the long term, I believe that primaries can strengthen parties. Primaries make us think about what we value most. Primaries make us interact — and build something new together, even when we disagree. In the long term, I’d even say that primaries make us better public servants and a better community.

For the last three months, my husband Jay and I, along with dozens of volunteers, have been running a primary campaign. By the time it’s all over, we will have held 25 Meet & Greets and events in people’s homes throughout State Senate District 40. And I have personally spoken with hundreds of our most active community members. We’ve energized each other; we have learned from each other.

During this process, I learned that the values that I hold dear resonate even more now than they did when I entered the Georgia House for the first time in 1999.

There is a rising chorus of voices who believe now more than ever that there IS a positive role for a state government that puts people first; that state government protection IS critical for our those of our citizens who are threatened with racism, xenophobia, and homophobia.

We agree that laws don’t have to choose between self interest and selflessness. Our state laws should enable good opportunities for our community and DO good for our community.

I’ve learned that residents of State Senate District 40 really care about protecting public education, providing affordable healthcare to all, and coming together to deal with our traffic woes.

I’ve also added a few things to the list from our discussions: People in communities across Senate District 40 want to make sure affordable housing remains available. They want better schools and smaller prisons, and decriminalization of marijuana. They demand social justice for the incarcerated and improved public safety. They strongly believe in common sense gun reform. And they want our senior citizens and our citizens with disabilities to be cared for in a dignified, compassionate way.

They want to show the rest of the country and the world, who Georgians really are – kind, entrepreneurial, hard working, and welcoming.

No matter the outcome of the primary election, the benefits of these gatherings have made a lasting impact on me, and I hope the direction of our party.

Are you ready for May 22 and the important work we all have to do after?

I am. Let’s do this.