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Nabilah Islam’s Run for Congress, District 7 [Podcast]



Nabilah Islam


On this episode of Peachtree Corners life, Rico Figliolini live streams with Congressional Candidate, Nabilah Islam to talk about her life, her family, and her campaign. Listen in as she shares her thoughts on the coronavirus, immigration reform, Medicare for all, and much more.

Website: ​www.NabilahForCongress.com
Social Media:

“I talk about how we need comprehensive immigration reform, how we need a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people in this country. We actually have the highest number of DACA recipients in Gwinnett County, in the entire state… I believe that they should be protected and they should have a pathway to citizenship as well. You know, these folks are our neighbors. These folks are startups, small businesses, and go to school with our children. So I feel like they should have a pathway to citizenship.”

NAbilah Islam


[00:00:30] – Intro [00:03:27] – Nabilah’s Campaign History
[00:05:21] – More about Nabilah
[00:08:26] – Issues Nabilah is Fighting for
[00:09:02] – Her Opinions on the Handling of COVID-19
[00:11:38] – Immigration Reform
[00:15:40] – Medicare for All
[00:18:01] – More on Immigration
[00:21:41] – Education
[00:27:17] – The Presidential Race
[00:28:32] – Virtual Campaigning
[00:33:44] – Closing

Rico: [00:00:30] Hi everyone. This is Rico Figliolini, host of Peachtree Corners Life. I appreciate you guys joining us on this live stream shooting. Shooting, well, the streaming video streaming out of Peachtree Corners, the City of Peachtree Corners, one out. Before we get into it and tonight’s guests want to just say, you know, be safe out there. Do what you are supposed to be doing. We’re supposed to be making sure that we’re not putting ourselves out there and letting us house via community hall. And I’m sure if you have it, if you don’t have it, you don’t want to catch it. Coronavirus is a real deadly pandemic and we should take this seriously. And in the coming days it looks like it’s going to be even more serious, in the next 48 hours. We may even see this country locked down to a degree. I mean, they’re moving towards that, right? And so the States have already done it. So sheltering in place in the Northern California, Northern Bay area for three weeks is mandatory, for example. So it’s not beyond reason for us to see something like that happen on a national scale, which it probably needs to, because otherwise we’re just reinfecting everyone as we cross state lines. So it’s a good place to be. So I want to introduce one of our sponsors, Hargray Fiber. I want to say thank you to them for being a sponsor here. They are the backbone of one of the biggest places and icons in Peachtree Corners, which is Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners. It’s a one and a half mile mobile track that is open to anyone to bring in their experiments, data, cars, anything that has to do with mobility, IOT to be able to use that track in a living lab. 5G enabled, the ability to do your work and discover how your product or service can do really well. So the backbone of that, but actually bringing in the internet through that, through for the 5G enabled set up is Hargray Fiber. So I just wanna do a shout out to them. HargrayFiber.com was where you can find them. So let’s get to my guest tonight. We’ll bring it right on. There you go. So my guest today Nabilah Islam, she is a candidate for Congress, District Seven. A couple of weeks ago we, interviewed Carolyn Burdell and, now Nabila Islam is another candidate in that race. So welcome Nabila.

Nabilah: [00:02:56] Rico, thank you so much for having me today, I appreciate it.

Rico: [00:02:59] Sure. Appreciate you coming on, especially with things going on. So how was your day today?

Nabilah: [00:03:05] Well, you know, I am being diligent about practicing social distancing in our campaign. I suspended all in-person campaigning. So I’ve just been virtually working with my staff and virtually campaigning and doing this podcast virtually as well. So, to be able to communicate with voters and make sure that we’re still getting our message out.

Rico: [00:03:27] Right, now you’ve been involved in campaigns before. You said, what type of campaigns have you been involved in?

Nabilah: [00:03:34] I’ve worked on all sorts of campaigns. I actually got very interested in working on campaigns when, you know, growing up in Gwinnett County, I just felt like I never saw anyone that reflected the diversity of this County or the values that we have. And so I got right out of college, I worked on a city council campaign for a candidate named Andre Dickens. And he was a long time candidate and he ran a grassroots campaign and he was able to
overtake an incumbent. And I worked for Jason Carter when he ran for governor back in 2014. And then on a presidential race, I worked for Secretary Clinton when she ran for president. And then most recently I was at the Democratic National Committee, the DNC, to help rebuild a party after we lost to Donald Trump.

Rico: [00:04:23] All within the congressional district that you’re in now or in various parts?

Nabilah: [00:04:29] In various parts. I did work, one of my first democratic campaigns was for Pedro Marine, House Democrat. He was, at the time, the only Latino Democrat in the entire state legislature and his district had recently been gerrymandered, and he was losing his seat. And I knocked on doors on his campaign, knocked on 2000, over 2000 doors, and luckily he won his reelection. So I did that. And, I also, rechartered the Gwinnett County Young Democrats back in 2013. I realized that there wasn’t a leadership pipeline for young people to get involved. So I opened up that channel. And since then, several people from that group have either gone on to become elected officials themselves or they have actually managed campaigns. So I’m very proud of that organization.

Rico: [00:05:21] Cool. So tell us a little bit more about yourself, also personal and a little bit, where are you from education wise and all that too.

Nabilah: [00:05:28] Sure. So I’m the daughter of working class immigrants from Bangladesh. And so both my parents, you know, moved to this country to seek the American Dream. My mother actually grew up in a small village in Bangladesh, in a tin-hut home with, you know, mud floor, no running water, no electricity. And they worked really hard to give me and my brother a life that they never had. And you know, I attended Gwinnett County schools all my life. I’m a proud central Gwinnett High School graduate. I actually grew up in Norcross where one of my mother’s first jobs was working at the Hardee’s off of Steve Reynolds. So she worked there until I was five years old. And, she worked at a warehouse for over a decade. And I actually grew up in Lawrenceville where I mentioned, I graduated from central Gwinnett High School. And I actually went to Georgia State University, got a degree in marketing, and became the first person in my family to graduate from college. And so, my family was very education oriented and either wanted me to become a doctor, an engineer, or a lawyer right out of college. And I did none of those things. But I thought it was very important to, to have a voice at the table and to, you know, jump into political campaigns because I feel like that’s where so many of the decisions are made that affect our lives on a day to day basis. And so I thought that work was very important.

Rico: [00:06:52] Well, what do you think inspired you to go down that road? Because politics is not, everyone thinks that young people are more politically oriented to a degree. Sanders certainly thought that, but they’re not, they’re not showing up for his campaign, unfortunately, at least this time around, it seems. So what, what inspired you? I mean, someone? An event? What got you there?

Nabilah: [00:07:12] You know, I often get asked that question and I always say, think back to the time that my mother actually took me to Bangladesh and you know, took me to the village she grew up in when I was five and seven years old. And being such a young child, you know, I grew up in America. I was born in Atlanta and I had never seen abject poverty like that. And like, you know, I had cousins who had holes in their clothes. I had, they were, you know, taking showers in dirty water. Their water had arsenic in it. It was like, it was a lot for my little child-like mind. And I remember learning at the time that the president of Bangladesh was a Bengali woman that looked like me. And I told my mom when I was a little kid, I was like, when I grow up, I want to be just like her so that I can be able to help poor people. Well, and of course I can’t run for office in Bangladesh because I wasn’t born there. But I’ve carried that on into my life as an adult. And for me, I think it’s so important to show compassion. To show love and compassion to your community and to be there for your neighbor. And, that’s why I think I’ve gotten really involved in political campaigns and wanting to make sure that everyone has a voice at the table.

Rico: [00:08:26] Now you, a lot of your issues that you talked about are the, anyone that wants to know more about you can go to NabilahforCongress.com where they can find the issues that you’ve talked about and quite a few of them mirror of Sanders issues, right? Medicare for all, immigration reform, economic equality. Actually you believe in universal basic income, I believe or no?

Nabilah: [00:08:54] I believe right now we need some emergency universal basic income. So families need relief during this coronavirus pandemic.

Rico: [00:09:02] What do you think? How do you feel about what’s going on now with the legislation that’s going through Congress and in the Senate, this relief package. Writing a check and making sure it gets out there. Minutian kept saying it needs to be this week, tomorrow. I mean, they want to be able to send $1,000 to every family. At least every family that’s not a millionaire let’s hope cause they don’t need the money. What do you feel about that package? So these specific things in there that, that you liked, that you don’t like, that you would do differently.

Nabilah: [00:09:35] So I’ve seen various versions of what people have wanted for a relief package. I think that it’s the right thing to do to give relief to the American people, especially working people who are suffering from the economic downturn because of this pandemic. So many people are being laid off. They’re losing jobs. They don’t know how they’re going to pay their mortgage. They don’t know how they’re going to pay their health insurance. My own mother was actually laid off two days ago from her job. I mean, she called me up saying, if you, I don’t know, like, I don’t know how I’m going to survive, basically. And so I think it’s the right thing to do to offer relief. Now, you know, if it’s $1,000 a month for a working person, you know, I’ve heard people tell me that, you know, that’s not enough. I don’t know if I’ll be, my rent is higher than that. And so we’re gonna have to figure out ways in how we provide relief to people so that they don’t have to suffer or go into debt because of this pandemic.

Rico: [00:10:32] Yeah. I don’t know if the third guy, actually, unless I misunderstood, it’s just a thousand dollar check. Unless they’ve changed this. I know Sanders had said there should be $2,000 a month until we get through with this. I don’t know if that’s the doable thing. But this would be a good enough reason to go further into debt, I would imagine to be able to do that.

Nabilah: [00:10:55] I think this pandemic is going to be longer than a month. I was just listening to Governor Cuomo. He did a podcast on the daily where he seems to think that we’re at, this pandemic is going to peak in 45 days. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. And so, I’m afraid that because of our late, you know, figuring out solutions, coming to this problem late in the game, later in the game, is making it so that it’s gonna take longer for us to recover. So I think families are unfortunately probably going to be hurting for more than a month.

Rico: [00:11:38] Yeah, no, for sure. I mean, they’ve been talking about it. As far as the effects of it, at least as far as 18 months and maybe waves of, of it coming back at us, especially when we reopen the borders. If that’s the case, and travel begins again, you know, we may see this come back again. People coming from different parts of the world. I mean, they may be bringing it with them. I mean, so what about the issue of, in fact, let’s talk a little bit about that immigration reform, closing the borders, doing different things. I mean, obviously I’m assuming you’re not for what Donald Trump has done. How would you handle that, that side of it? Cause the, we do, we should have borders right?

Nabilah: [00:12:26] Yes, no I agree that we should have borders. We’re a sovereign nation. Now as far as… We’re asking people that are abroad that are Americans to come home soon. I think that we are going to have to monitor the situation very, very closely, in making sure that people that are coming into the country aren’t carrying more cases of the Coronavirus. And so, I saw that they started testing, earlier this week. In making sure that people didn’t test positive.

Rico: [00:13:32] Fine, immigration. I mean, certainly, you know, being a, you’re running for Congress, you’ll be one out of hundreds of them. Some of them may be leaving. I mean, there’s so many, I don’t know how many of them have caught the Coronavirus already at this point. It seems at least two, if not three. And they’re, you know, quantitating the…

Nabilah: [00:13:56] I know that we have one in the State Legislature.

Rico: [00:14:00] I’m sorry?

Nabilah: [00:14:00] I know that one of our State Senators has the Coronavirus.

Rico: [00:14:04] Yes, I saw that too. So I mean, no one’s immune to this. Anyone can get this, that everyone’s going to get really sick from it. Not everyone’s going to need a ventilator. I think that says something about 2% of the population that gets it may get to that point. It’s a
possibility. So I mean, there will be a lot more deaths as well as we go out, because unfortunately that’s the nature of the beast right now.

Nabilah: [00:14:34] No, I was just saying, no I agree with you. I think what we need to do is ramp up testing. I think a lot of people are carrying the coronavirus and don’t know it, because they’re asymptomatic. And we need an upper testing significantly to identify who has it and who doesn’t so that they can properly softcore team.

Rico: [00:14:51] What would you say to the young people out there that are on the Florida beaches now? They’re not all young down there also, you know, thirties and forties down there. Which could be younger but, what would you say to them?

Nabilah: [00:15:04] I would say go home, stay home. I think young people have this notion that they’re invincible, that you’re young and what they don’t. What more of these folks need to understand is that you could be carrying this virus without even knowing it and passing it onto someone that is elderly whose immune system would be compromised and therefore die. And that’s what we’re seeing in Italy is that 90% over 95% of the people there that have died in the coronavirus is 60 years or older. So be mindful of others. Please.

Rico: [00:15:40] Yeah. Those are attacks I can say, cause my heritage is Italian, but they love to kiss and hug, and that’s probably how they spread it really fast. All right, let’s get on to Medicare for all you know, that’s obviously, you know, one of the comebacks that someone said about Italy’s that it’s a, this was in, is a debate with Bernie Sanders, is that Italy has pretty much Medicare for all, right? And yet their exposure to it was greater than any other Western nation outside, you know, from China certainly. So, and that, that’s climbing there. Did it work? That network, is that even relevant? Is that the same thing or is it something different?

Nabilah: [00:16:25] So I, you know, I have heard of that and I will say that it depends where you’re implementing the system. Like, cultures are different. For example, in Italy, families live together. You live with your parents. There are, there’s more density. And so when one person gets sick in the household, it spreads to everyone. And so what, and then there’s an older, Italy has the oldest population in Europe. And so, I mean, they were just, it was a perfect storm for that virus to come in and wreak havoc. I think the single payer healthcare system in America would address the fact that so many people are losing their jobs right now no longer have access to healthcare because they can’t afford it, because their health insurance was tied to their employer. This is, you know, people are understanding why this is a problem. And in this district, about 20%, you know 130,000 folks don’t have health care, including myself. And, it’s particularly dangerous. It’s really dangerous now because folks are terrified of getting this virus because yes, testing is free. But like treatment could run up into the thousands. You know, the medical debt, two thirds of medical debt. In this country, people go into debt because two thirds of it is from medical debt. And so, it’s a huge issue and I think Medicare for all will address it. Two-thirds of families go bankrupt because of medical debt.

Rico: [00:18:01] Do you think, well the debate with some people is, there are about 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. That number varies out a bit, depending on which side of the aisle you’re on and who you are. But we know that there’s millions and certainly probably over 10 million. They, likely not, don’t have enough money to go to the hospital. They likely will not go to the hospital, especially with what’s going on with ICE and all that lately, especially in States that support, you know, the support, that aspect of it and that, that I understand is being suspended. Now, ICE will not do that. And at this point, supposedly the suspended going after, immigrants that are not felons or not related to arrests. So then they’re going out searching at this point, at least this is what I understand from CNN. So at some degree, you know, everyone has to verify the facts, I guess. But, you know, the fact is that they don’t, you know, that’s where the problem is too, right? Cause if you, you can’t get the test if you have it and you don’t know and you’re not able to go to the hospital, you’re spreading it. Great, so having a system in place makes sense then. I’ve always argued that whether, and people always say, especially Republicans, might say, well, they’re illegals, they shouldn’t have it, and I always said, well, then we’ll have a pandemic at some point because they will not be able to go to the hospital. Makes sense. You have a fear, may not want to be able to go. So there’s some of that, aside from the young people in Florida that just can’t get it together, they think that they’re, that they’re immortal. Where else can you go with immigration? I mean, at this point it takes years. I mean, I met someone that his whole family from, I think it was Argentina, they had applied like eight years ago, nine years ago, and nine years later to get the approval to come as a family and they had to wait nine years. Does that make any sense?

Nabilah: [00:20:16] No, it doesn’t. My mom actually sponsored her older sister and all of my cousins that I saw when I was a little girl in the village, and it took them about 11, 12 years. And so we have a very complicated immigration system. We need to simplify it. Families shouldn’t have to wait that long to reunify. I, and I think that, you know, this district is one of the most diverse districts in the country. Gwinnett itself is the fourth most diverse County in the country. And when I talk about immigration reform, I talk about how we need comprehensive immigration reform, how we need a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people in this country. We actually have the highest number of DACA recipients in Gwinnett County, in the entire state. And so, you know, I believe that these people that grew up just like me, you know, probably came to this country when their parents brought them at one or two. I went to school with a lot of them. I remember, you know, they would, you know, we would talk about how they were going to figure out how, Oh, you’re going to go to college. And like they were just as American as me. It was just heartbreaking that my life had a different trajectory than theirs, but I believe that they should be protected and they should have a pathway to citizenship as well. You know, these folks are our neighbors. These folks are, you know, startups, small businesses, and go to school with our children. So I feel like they should, they should have a pathway to citizenship.

Rico: [00:21:41] All right. Talking about children and talking about education, I mean, part of what you say is that the education, I think is, we all agree is a great equalizer. It puts that benchmark. We’re all there. I mean, money does help in many ways. Colleges you attend,
whether it’s private or public, does help being around the different financial level of people does help right to a degree. I’ve heard that all the time. Well, and you see it in movies, popular movies to Harvard. If you attend Harvard, you’re expected to start a business, right? And if you attend Kennesaw state or a GSU, you know, would you say the same thing. You know, so from which school? My son went there also. He commuted, he did his graduate work and graduated from there. Education can be different for different people, right? Cause you, you get all, you want to be one thing, you graduate and then you end up doing something else. And yet you’re saddled with the debt of the institution, right? Whether it’s $20,000 or it’s $100,000. So how would you handle that? I mean, do you believe in free education, state and state in public schools? Do you believe in forgiveness of debt and a few forgiveness of that someone has to pay for that, right? It just doesn’t go away. Mythically I mean, tell me.

Nabilah: [00:23:18] I, like you said, like I, and I’ve, I think I’ve got it on my website, is that education is one of the greatest equalizers, and I believe that everyone should be afforded the opportunity to you know, have a good education. So right now you have a free education from K – 12. I believe that we can make that from K – 16. So yes, I believe that, I believe in free college. and I also believe that, you know, we have about one point 4 trillion in student debt. If people are saddled with that. I myself am saddled with $30,000 in college debt as well. I’m running full time for Congress. So this is, this is literally my full time job. And in order to do it, because running for office is cost prohibitive. It’s, the system’s not really designed for working people to run. And I put my college loans into four prayers, which basically means that I’m accruing interest. And then I will have to, at the end of my forbearance period, we will be paying more. And I think what’s happening, I’ve been talking to my peers, and all throughout the district it’s pretty, this is actually a pretty young district. So the average age in Gwinnett is 35. And, you know, they’ve been telling me that they’ve been putting off starting, you know, families, they’ve been putting off buying homes. And this is not, this is not something that’s unique here. This is something that is affecting, you know, our generation all over the country. With that being said, I, you know, our government has you know, spent trillions of dollars. For example, our president spent about $2 trillion for weapons, during the time that we were on the, maybe on the brink of war with Iran. And if you had instead, you know, he could have used that money to forgive, cancel student debt. So the money is, it’s is there when it comes for, you know, war. I think we need to prioritize the budget and, you know, taking care of working people who give so much back to our community.

Rico: [00:25:29] Now you talk about forgiveness of that and no, Bernie talks about that too. I know that back four years ago when you ran, I felt that Bernie-Burn also, even though I’m a Republican here in the South, I used to be a Democrat up in New York. You know, they say when you get older, you buy a house, you have kids. You become a little bit more conservative and stuff. I didn’t really become conservative. I think it just changed my views on some things. But I still do feel about personal responsibility, right? If you take out a loan, you should pay the loan. If we forgive those loans and we go and provide free education should there, there should be certain requirements, right? I mean, I always felt like the hope scholarship was great. If you had a 3.0 and you kept that 3.0 you kept the hope scholarship. You didn’t keep the 3.0 you’d
lose it. Made sense to me, right? If you can’t do the work, then you might as well not be in school. Would there be requirements in what you’re looking at and it, would it be a straight forgiveness of debt? Would that be depending on income? Would that be, what would that be? How would that look?

Nabilah: [00:26:38] So, ideally, I would love to see a plan where we can finally cancel student debt. And I understand that that might take longer. So I’ve seen, you know, as various presidents have and running on different student loan cancellations on certain amounts of that they would allow it to be canceled. I would love to just start the process of being able to forgive student debt. And, we could, you know, perhaps prioritize different career paths in doing so. But eventually I’d love to see the ability for the US Government to be able to cancel the debt overall.

Rico: [00:27:17] With the presidential race going the way it is. I mean, everyone’s doing what you’re doing, right? They’re not, I shouldn’t say everyone, I don’t know. Most people are not in a stadium. I don’t think that Trump will be in one soon. I think he’s gonna do what he’s doing away from it. I think he’s taking this, this whole thing seriously as well at this point. But do you, who would you support? Biden or Bernie? Or whoever the nominee is, if you became…?

Nabilah: [00:27:47] You know, whoever the nominee is. I think, you know, every. It’s understood at this point, that Biden will probably be the likely nominee. And so, you know, I’m going to support whoever the nominee is, vote blue no matter who. With that being said, I am someone who’s, like you mentioned earlier, some of my policies do mirror Senator Sanders in the progressive policies that I’m advocating for. But I feel like we need a different leadership and I’m really hopeful that we will be able to elect a democratic president.

Rico: [00:28:32] What are you finding out there when you’re campaigning? You know, obviously you’re doing virtually now. I don’t know if you’re holding virtual watch parties or what have you been doing inside? What are you doing? How are you doing it virtually?

Nabilah: [00:28:48] You know, campaigning during a pandemic is uncharted territory. You know, it’s something that you can’t really call up someone and be like, Hey, what did you do when this happened? So, we suspended it all, in-person campaigning on person canvassing door to door. I just need to think it was safe for my volunteers or my staff or my community. As this virus is extremely contagious, you know, it is deadly. So we are completely virtual. Now we operate a, I’m doing Google Hangouts with my team every single day. We are doubling down on text banking, phone banking. We’re going to have two virtual town halls that we’re scheduling for next week so that people can essentially meet me via, you know, Skype and be able to ask me any questions that they have. I think nothing can ever replace face to face contact, you know? Earning of someone’s vote and asking for it. But I think with people self-quarantining and being home and being on their phones, and there’s a lot of anxiety about what’s happening, people are paying attention to the news. And I, so we’re going to make sure that we’re communicating with as many voters as possible.

Rico: [00:29:59] So the primary has been pushed out, right? We pushed to May at this point, and I don’t even know if most people understand that the primary that was going to happen this month was really just the presidential primary, the May primary NASC and have the presidential and the local statewide and local races and all that. I don’t know how many people would have known that young people might’ve voted in the primary that tend not to vote on the, on the local level, they tend to vote more national. But now the opportunities there are to be able to vote down that ticket and get what they got on that ticket in one day and through that. So, how you know, and quite a few people, I’ve already done an absentee ballot. No, they’re going to be allowing that to continue on and hopefully they don’t push the primary out past May is anything possible. And even if they don’t, it’s going to be long six foot apart lines of people going to vote. We will encourage people to do absentee ballots. Have you done anything along those lines to help people to enable that to be easier for them?

Nabilah: [00:31:08] So, as you mentioned, the presidential primary has been moved to May 19th. So we’re expecting a much larger turnout, with the presidential and all of our downfall elections. With that being said, I think, you know, I’ve been telling folks that I really think this pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better. I don’t think, I think it would be irresponsible to ask people to wait in, you know, three, four hour lines, you know, crunched together and, you know, I think that would just be a scenario for just spreading the virus. And so, I think, you know, I’ve been hearing that, will most need, well, I’ve been hearing that we’ll probably most likely be moving to a vote by mail. Now that’s nothing permanent, but I feel like a lot of States are moving that way. With that being said, if the state does mail in request, if, you know, if you want to vote by mail, they need to mail it to everyone. Not age group to keep it there.

Rico: [00:32:08] Would you say everyone that’s registered?

Nabilah: [00:32:10] Everyone that’s registered, yes. So I’ve been hearing that, you know, there are thoughts of just sending it to people that are 60 and above. And I think that it should be sent to all registered voters, and so that everyone has equal opportunity to ask for a ballot in, you know, mail it in.

Rico: [00:32:33] We’re, are there any other issues that will be live that you would like to speak about that we haven’t touched on?

Nabilah: [00:32:44] You know, we touched on, I think everyday working class immigrants, and I grew up in Gwinnett County. You know, the majority of my life went to public schools here who work low wage jobs here, as did my parents. And so, you know, this is a working class district and I understand the day to day issues that people are going through at an intimate level. And I think it’s very important that the people that lead us also live among us and understand, you know, our lives. And I also really truly believe that this is a district that deserves to have a reflective representation of our diversity and our values. And that if Democrats want to flip the seat in November, we’re going to need a candidate. And that’s exciting. That brings out young
voters and brings out minority voters and all sorts of folks in it has an inspiring message so that people come out and vote. And, I’m trying to be the voice for this community.

Rico: [00:33:44] Cool. Then let’s end it here. Tell us, ask for the vote. We got one minute to ask for the vote and then tell people where they can find more information about it. Nabilah: [00:33:58] Okay. Well, if you’re watching this, if you liked what you’ve heard, I would love to earn your vote. I’d love to be your first Congresswoman in this district and flip this district blue and represent it with progressive policies that are going to uplift our families in the working community here. You can learn more about my campaign, at my website: www.NabilahForCongress.com​. And I also have very active social media. So check me out on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook: @Nabilahforga07

Rico: [00:34:34] Cool. Stay there for a minute. I just want to sign off with everyone. So I want to thank everyone that’s either watching this live or end up watching this on, during the next four days as we boost this out. And that may find this either on YouTube or as a podcast on iHeartRadio, Spotify, wherever you find this, just rate us on this podcast. If you want to share this, go to the Facebook page Peachtree Corners Life. If you’re not all in there now, and you can share this video out to your friends and let them know about this podcast and about the interview that we’ve done today. So thank you very much and we’ll see you next time.

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Elections and Politics

How will State Senate Candidate Matt Reeves Help Peachtree Corners



Matt Reeves for State Senate

Republican State Senate District 48 candidate Matt Reeves joins host Rico Figliolini on Peachtree Corners Life podcast to discuss COVID-19, the Governor’s response, mask-wearing, social justice, police reforms, Black Lives Matters, kids going back to school, education funding, state ethics and why he’s running for the State Senate.


[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:16] – About Matt
[00:07:01] – Thoughts on COVID
[00:13:26] – Education Issues
[00:16:31] – Budget Cuts
[00:18:55] – Black Lives Matter, Immigrants, and Minorities
[00:26:55] – Police Force
[00:32:47] – Term Limits
[00:34:55] – Ethics in Government
[00:38:38] – Closing

Related Links:

Website: https://mattreevesforsenate.com
Social Media: @MattReevesGA

“We all chose this area because of the strong schools, jobs, safe communities, good health care. And I want to make sure that all those quality of life pillars of our community are strong going forward.”

Matt Reeves

Recorded socially safe online and in the City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia

Podcast Transcript

Rico: [00:00:30] Hi everyone. This is Rico Figliolini host of Peachtree Corners Life. And, I appreciate you coming to the show. We’re doing this socially safe in the city of Peachtree Corners. And before we get to our guest, who’s on screen. Matt Reeves. Hey Matt, how are you?

Matt: [00:00:45] Hello.

Rico: [00:00:46] I’ll introduce him and go in to introduce himself. But first, before we get into that, I want to just talk about our lead sponsor, Hargray Fiber. They’re a Southeastern company that does fiber optics for the business community and for consumers. But the fiber side of it is delivering the type of speed and services necessary for small businesses and large businesses, enterprise businesses, to do their work in this teleworking environment, during the COVID-19. And hopefully, and providing services, unlike the cable companies. Really they’re right there community and they’re providing a lot of things in the community. They are very involved in every community they’re in, whether it’s Savannah, Peachtree Corners, Macon Georgia all over the Southeast, Tallahassee, Florida, they are there. So visit HargrayFiber.com or Hargray.com/business to find out how you can work your smart office and work with them. So now that we’ve done that, I want to tell you that we’re going to be discussing a lot of issues over the next 30 to 40 minutes with Republican State Senate candidate, Matt Reeves. We’re going to be discussing issues of the day; COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, state ethics, term limits, all sorts of things. We’re going to be going back and forth on this, but before we get into all that, I’d like to have Matt introduce himself and tell us why we should be listening to him as a candidate for State Senate.

Matt: [00:02:16] Thanks Rico and great to connect with folks in the audience from Peachtree Corners. Definitely want to be a great advocate for Peachtree Corners in Gwinnett County, in North Bolton, in the States Senate. My name is Matt Reeves. I’m a resident of Duluth for the last 17 years. So I live right next door in Gwinnett County. I have practiced law business and real estate litigation at Anderson St. Cornwall firm for about 17 years. I went to university of Georgia law school before that, and then Mercer undergrad to college before that. My wife Suzette and I, and our three kids who are eleventh grade, eighth grade and fifth grade. Live in the Duluth, we’re active in the community. And I just want to serve our community and keep the quality of life strong in Peachtree Corners, Duluth, Swanee, Lawrenceville, Johns Creek, part of Alpharetta, part of Norcross, for the next generation. We all chose this area because of the strong schools, jobs, safe communities, good health care. And I want to make sure that all those quality of life pillars of our community are strong going forward. The State Senate has 35 Republicans and 21 Democrats. I’m reaching out to independents, to centrist Democrats as well as Republicans, to be a good advocate for our community, because I believe I can get more done for Peachtree Corners in the State Senate on the Republican side of the aisle. I know there are a couple of issues, Rico that you’ve selected, but just, you know, one thing to know is, I spent some time at the Capitol years ago, was a lawyer for the house judiciary committee in 2008. I worked with Wendell Willer, who was the, one of the leaders on the new cities movement, which Peachtree corners benefited greatly from. Chairman Tom Rice was laying the
groundwork for the work in the legislature for Peachtree Corners as was Senator David Schaefer in 2008, when I was down there. Dunwoody was the city that was spearheaded during the session that I was down there. But, I got to see the early stages of Peachtree Corners. And over the last eight years, Peachtree Corners definitely has been a leader in our region, as a new city and I look forward to being an effective advocate and a bipartisan problem-solver on behalf of Peachtree Corners in the state Senate. And I hope to earn people’s support, in the community for this, competitive State Senate seat.

Rico: [00:04:32] Yeah, I’m glad you, you came on with me. I remember doing this from home. I think about two, two and a half years ago during the campaign in 2018, when you ran the first time. And that was, you know, during the, was it the blue wave, we shall say. Democrats coming into, house seats in positions. 2020 is a little different. You know, I don’t know if that, if that still will go on. So this is a proven, this is going to be a test, right. To some degree to see what the voters want. And so this is good way to be able to talk to you and, and see if, if your points of view is what the voters here want in 2020.

Matt: [00:05:12] And I, politics, and partisan politics, changes like the weather. I think what, folks in Peachtree Corners and Gwinnett County, what they ask is who can do the best job for them in this particular office. And, that’s what I’m focusing on in the States Senate race. Who can do the best job for Peachtree Corners in the State Senate seat for the benefit of our schools. The safety of our communities, transportation solutions, health care, the things that are important to us and make our communities strong. Who can be a better advocate in the State Senate. And, you know, David Shaffer was the president pro-tem of the Senate. He was number one out of 50 senators. The, the Democrat who won in 2018 got put on the agriculture committee, which is not exactly the kind of position Peachtree Corners wants to have down there in the Senate and then wait for higher office. And it’s an open seat again. So we get to make a choice about for the next two years, who can serve Peachtree Corners and tackle the issues that face our homeowners and, and, voters, families, and small businesses in Peachtree Corners and be a good advocate in this turbulent time where you’ve got, you know, COVID-19, you’ve got civil unrest. Who can lead the way and make sure Georgia remains number one in jobs, has increasing number of jobs with health insurance coverage. You know, there’s no government program any better for an adult then a job is. There’s no government program, any better for a child than a family is. I think state government ought to do a few things and do them well and keep a climate where we have, where we continue to be, attractive for employers and jobs so that, families can meet their, their needs and have their kids, getting educated and going to college and have a bright future in the job market. That’s my goal, in the State Senate.

Rico: [00:07:01] Yeah. And it’s interesting cause it’s, it is certainly a different look at it. More conservative, look at it. I do believe in personal responsibilities, but I also believe government is there to do certain things. Certainly I believe the federal government you’re spearheaded more than they have during the COVID-19 time. But you know, different points of views. And this is what this is about. An election in 2020, different than any other election in our history for a simple matter that lot of people may not be going to the polls in person, right? They’re going to
be mailed ballots. I mean, Georgia put out over 6 million absentee ballot requests forms, and over a million responded, more than any, you know, I think it was 10 to 12 times more than any other year in fact. So that may still happen November third. We may still end up doing that, seeing that happen because of COVID-19. So staying on the issue of COVID-19, do you think Governor Kemp has done the right job in, in, in the approach that he has done? Would you do anything different? Do you see the State Senate providing any other leadership in this from your point of view?

Matt: [00:08:09] Going forward, what, what I would do, as a State Senator is to make sure that the 95% or more of the population that has not directly encountered COVID, that they have their healthcare needs attended to without disruption. This has been an unexpected, invisible enemy that has attacked us. We’ve handled things on an urgent basis, but, it troubles me to see that a hundred percent of the resources in health care and in, you know, the government part of the government that deals with healthcare is devoted to COVID, when we got folks with diabetes, heart conditions, cancer, many other elective surgery. I talked to somebody this week who has had a thyroid procedure delayed since March, due to COVID issues. And I want to make sure that we definitely attack COVID to preserve lives and livelihoods, but also, make sure that healthcare needs for the other 95% of the population are attended to. And, you know, part of that is, making sure that we’re smart about how we open back up. You know, it sounds like right now, the thing that has gotten us up at the top in Gwinnett County, and then you look in Texas and Houston, we have a very, strong young population and, people like my mother-in-law and people, my age and older have heeded, the warnings. I’ve got my, I’ve got my UGA mask and you know, if I’m out in doors in public, I’ve got that mask on. My office has adopted a protocol from a local engineering firm that is working well here. We get the memo and the middle age and up here in Gwinnett County, but young people have, I think, too rapidly, disregarded social distancing and other health cautions for COVID. And also translating into multigenerational families, who, with English as a second language, I think that we need to do a better job of reaching out. Because both in Atlanta, as well as Houston and some other major Metro areas. Those are two areas, I heard Dr. Arona, the Gwinnett County and Rockdale and Newton health director, this, this week, mentioned that. That Wilburn and Norcross, the testing centers there, you see a lot of multigenerational families, with English as second language, getting hit hard by COVID. So we need to literally communicate in a credible and strong way, that’s easy to understand for our diverse population. I think that will turn the curve. You know, back in March and April the focus nationally and in Georgia was bending the curve. And we did that for a large portion of the population, but we are now a top 15 Metro area in the country. And Gwinnett County is leading Atlanta in cases because I think in large part of young people, as well as they…

Rico: [00:11:02] We’re a larger population. We’re a larger population too, right? The biggest County in the state. I mean, when I drive by CVS that’s right near here on certain days, there will be 15 cars wrapped around that building. So people doing the testing. We’re still some of the, some of the testing. It has to be referred testing it seems. So you have to be symptomatic to a degree. The doctor has to send you there. In some places you don’t have to be symptomatic.
Like Georgia Tech, Walgreens, I think will accept and do testing for you if you’re asymptomatic. You know, there’s that, but for a long time too, I know some of the cities that, it’s difficult to mandate a mask, I guess, right to some degree? Cause if you’ve mandated, you have to penalize it. If you’re not wearing it, right? Cause otherwise does that work or not? Now I’ve had the discussion with my son about this and he brings up a good point. He says, well, Yes. Sure. Do you cite people $50 or $75 for that ticket? Or does the governor mandate it and even if no one gets cited for it, right? There’s a different feel about being, saying that the mask is mandated and people will understand then maybe that they really do need to wear that mask. You know, so sometimes it’s perception, right? It’s the, the lens that you look through it. But we need to do something because it’s just not, I mean, I go out with the mask all the time, I guess I’m part of that demo.

Matt: [00:12:28] Well, and also COVID is an international crisis. And so not only do we have 50 States that we can learn healthcare and medical lessons from, but we have literally hundreds of countries who have approached the situation differently. And there are some success stories in Asia and other countries, South Korea, Japan. Also the US is one of the few countries that takes the summer off of school. And so, hitting in January and, and, ramping up and really reaching us in mass and March, now, and having six and seven months of experience internationally with COVID. I, you know, 95% of the parents locally want to get their kids back in school in person, but I think we can look around the world and see best practices on, getting kids and teachers safely returned to school.

Rico: [00:13:26] So what would, what would you do to do that? I know there’s a, you know, I have a 16 year old that wants, he wants to go back to school. He’s, he wants to be able to do an AP Calculus in person versus online, right? So there are kids that want to go back for social reasons also. How can we keep them safe then? Is there anything, how would your leadership change on that? You know, how do we put them back to school?

Matt: [00:13:51] Number one, I trust the locals. I think the local school boards and local school superintendents, can make decisions for the best interest of their teachers and students better than somebody in downtown Atlanta or Washington, DC can. And I think that North Fulton, which their biggest schools in North Fulton are, you know, 1,500 to 2,000 students. Where in Gwinnett we have the jumbo size high schools with closer to 3,000 or more students a lot of times. So every school system is different. I think that, we all listen closely to parents and, and in large numbers of students also, saying they want to get back in person. But there are some outliers where people want to do digital learning for health reasons or other reasons, or personal precaution reasons. So I think that we ought to give people choices whenever possible in this uncharted waters of COVID. But I think we need to do everything we can to get kids back to school safely, as well as teachers. And we need to look around the country. We need to look around the world about how other countries and other States have safely, had had, students returned to school. The toll on these young people’s education is high. And, we need to make sure that, the ground that was lost in March and April and May, that we make up for that and the kids don’t get behind. Because you know, there’s a digital divide in Gwinnett it’s discernible. A
lot of kids didn’t have the technology readily available when they got sent home, kids never logged in. Some of that is, support at home priority on education. Other, other, situation is it’s resources. But getting those kids’ attention back on their education is critical.

Rico: [00:15:33] So, so let me ask you this and then we’ll, and then I want to move on to another subject. But just to close this out a little bit, the budget, the state budget cut education. They cut a lot of things across the board, but it did cut education as part of it. Gwinnett County’s remaining, with its budget, I believe they’re not going to furlough people. They are mandating masks, so obviously they need to buy PPE stuff to be able to do that. Because some people may not have masks and some kids and families and stuff. They’re going to need those masks, right? So they’re mandating that for the Fall, if they actually open up. And they’re giving two choices, either you do online learning or you do in person learning. So it depends on how people want to choose that, or where they want to go. And if they can afford to do that. Like you said, people are going back to work to some degree, unless things get rolled back. So where do they send their kids while they working, right? Because the school works almost as a daycare in a way.

Matt: [00:16:31] Yeah.

Rico: [00:16:31] Kids in school during the time that adults are working and stuff. So, you know, the State cut that budget. I mean, would you have voted for that cut? Would you, what would you have done? How would you have affected that? How would you want to help school systems throughout the state because Gwinnett County is one that probably can afford to do some of this stuff, but there are other counties and other parts that might not be to do that same thing. So how would you, how would a Matt Reeves position be on some or something like that?

Matt: [00:17:02] Rico when times are tough and the revenue decreases in state government, it becomes all the more critical to have a strong advocate for your area down in the State Senate, because I was there in 2008 when revenue started to decline, as the great recession hit. And I saw what happens when you have limited resources, the ones who were effective advocates for their districts, or the areas of Georgia that are looked after well, at that point, that was towards the tail end of Governor Perdue’s time in office. So folks in middle Georgia, were well looked after. That’s where, Larry O’Neil was chairman of ways and means. He was literally Governor Perdue’s lawyer back, back home on personal matters. And so, in a competitive political landscape where we have, very strongly held feelings on national issues. I would ask folks in Peachtree Corners in Gwinnett County and North Fulton for this critical State Senate seat ask who can help our area the best in the State Senate, where it’s 35 Republicans, 21 Democrats. I want education money at a time when times are tough financially to go to Gwinnett County schools. If we have somebody who’s on the short end of a 35 to 21 vote, you’re going to have funds go to Cobb County, Forsyth County, Cherokee County, where folks are in the majority. I want to be a strong and effective advocate for North Fulton schools and Gwinnett schools in the State Senate. When, you know, there’s a saying, if you’re not at the table, you’re on the table. And, you know, we’re talking a lot about healthcare and, and, I want to be in the position of
getting resources and decisions and public policy made in favor of our Gwinnett and North Fulton schools, rather than having others make those decisions for the benefit of their own districts elsewhere.

Rico: [00:18:55] How do you, so, so let’s, and I appreciate that. And I think that the citizens of Peachtree Corners appreciates that point of view. They want their representatives to, you know, think big, broad, but they’re also local, right? Because we all, that’s why we have a representative there to be able to talk local and be able to help a city like ours or the area that you represent, Swanee and the other areas as well. But let’s change directions a little bit. Let’s talk about the other news because 2020 is just unusual for all sorts of reasons. So COVID-19 is one, but also the social unrest. Black lives matter, the, whole social justice, police violence against black community, people of black and brown color. It’s just been a tough situation, it’s been also a tough situation to speak honestly, a little bit about these things, because sometimes people can get shut down on both sides of it. Rather than being, allowed to be transparent and talk about issues, because it’s a sensitive issue. And, so I know people are out there saying, well, some people shouldn’t even talk about this issue because maybe they don’t have a, an experience in it. But I think we all need to talk about it right, culturally and for a variety of reasons. How do you feel about this issue? Where would, you know, what do you think the state Senate should do? What do you think your position on, on this should be? And where are you on the speed?

Matt: [00:20:24] Well, I learned a lot and I listened in the peaceful protest in Duluth. My wife Suzette and I went to that along with friends from a group of, city ministry team friends that we had through Perimeter church. There’s a group of pastors in Duluth called the Unite Churches, which is a culturally diverse group of pastors, African American, Asian, Latino, perimeter church, which is, you know, a growingly diverse church, but a lot of Caucasian people, there. But, we went to that peaceful protest, listened and learned a lot, and cared and expressed attention and concern, with this issue. Obviously what happened with George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, and others, it’s wrong. It’s tragic. It showed us that sometimes you can have a fatal and, and murder, actions by folks who wear a uniform. You know, the bill of rights, going back to our founding documents, half of the bill of rights dealt with the criminal justice and keeping government in check and serving the people. 99% of folks with a badge and law enforcement are good people who are serving the public. But there’s always a danger of disastrous consequences of folks in, in, with government power abusing that, particularly, with minorities and other people who are, you know, are helpless, and in custody and, you know, can’t breathe. And so, that hurts my heart. It’s something I want to do something about, but I would like to acknowledge the fact that Georgia has been a leader in what people are asking for now, criminal justice reform. Over the last decade, Georgia has been a leader in the nation in that area. We have, put a priority on getting people rehabilitated and back into the workforce and not having a Scarlet letter for life if you make a mistake. We’ve, we’ve said in Georgia, we want to get people off of drugs and out of a life of crime, and we want to get people educated and employed. I think that’s a good thing. And, you know, we don’t want to warehouse people in jail and throw away the key. We want to get people rehabilitated. Now, folks, who’ve made a decision to live a life of armed robbery and
home invasion, and rape and murder and gun crimes. Yeah, they need to be locked up . But yeah, there are many, first time offenders, sadly people who’ve come, back and are young veterans who, you know, were suffering from a disruption in their life. We have a veterans court in Gwinnett, as a result of that criminal justice reform that we’re helping young veterans who’ve come back and kind of lost their way in addiction and, and other pain, and made some bad choices. So DUI court, veterans court, mental health court, intervention in a way that turns around, people. That’s been, something that’s been good, you know Georgia started as a debtor’s colony. We’ve always believed in a second chance and I think we need to realize our…

Rico: [00:23:19] Also Georgia has a lot of history and other things as well.

Matt: [00:23:24] Well, Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King is from here, the black community and the Christian community in Georgia produced Martin Luther King. And so Georgia has some very special things. We’re now a leader in population and economy. We need to step up to the plate and lead the way in the country on criminal justice reform and other things.

Rico: [00:23:44] So what would you? So then Matt I, listen, I come from New York. So moving down here in ’95, South of the Mason Dixon line, if you will. It’s an old term right, now most people won’t know that I guess. But you know, it is different. If I go out into, and good people, I’m not saying bad people, good people, good ways. But there’s certainly different points of views depending where you go in the state. So not everything is, as good as, as it needs to be, right? That’s all be honest about that.

Matt: [00:24:13] Right, and Rico, let me say on that, my metric, whether you’re in Americus Georgia, or Albany Georgia, or Macon, or here in Gwinnett County. I think every black parent and grandparent, they want their young people to have a diploma, to have career opportunities, to have money in the bank, to be treated fairly. Those are things I think that we can agree on across racial lines, and make sure that the American dream is alive and well in Georgia. But my metric is those. Let’s get our young people educated, have bright employment opportunity, and make sure that they have access to the American dream and they’re not barriers there. Look around Atlanta, we even have more community banks with black entrepreneurs leading the way and, and, if you look at Metro city bank at Verse Intercontinental bank you have some Asian and Indian banks, we even got a Chinese, a new bank and John’s Creek. We need to have a black…

Rico: [00:25:11] There’s Loyal Trust Bank, yeah.

Matt: [00:25:12] That’s right.

Rico: [00:25:13] Yeah. And I, and I agree with you. I mean, I think economically anyone that moves up into the middle class is always better. Because any, any group group of people that do that. I mean, it goes back, I could go back to, you know, we could do the history lesson or go back to the Irish, to Germany, the Italian. Go back to the Asians that came to this country from a
variety of countries, whether it was Laos, Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam. And how a lot of them moved up the ladder. The Latinos that came here that, hard workers, all of them. It seems to be immigrants are always hard workers. There’s a reason why they took the danger and the things to be able to come here because they want to succeed. So there’s a lot to be said about that, right?

Matt: [00:25:58] Here’s, here’s a good example about immigrants. The pharmacy in the neighborhood where that Wendy’s was where the shooting and then the ensuing civil unrest happened, the pharmacy in that neighborhood was started by an immigrant gentlemen from Swanee who invested his life work and life savings down there in that neighborhood, which is near where the brave stadium was where Georgia state has taken over. He had some confidence on that neighborhood, but there are a lot of senior citizens there who are homebound, they deliver a lot of those prescriptions, those senior citizens in need. There are schools there. It is tragic to have all hell breaking loose in that neighborhood that was on the upswing and revitalizing. That has a lot of people who’ve lived there their whole life, and now they’re senior citizens. You’ve got kids in school, George Washington Carver is the high school there. We need to restore safety to communities, ASAP.

Rico: [00:26:55] So then what would you do, Matt? As far as, and then let’s, let’s move on to some other issues too, but just to, because it’s, it’s the thing that’s out there. What would you do to reform police? What would be legislation that would be out there? You know, there’s the, there’s several proposals out there as far as, stopping choke holds and, and, limiting liability so that people can sue the police and stuff like that. What would you do? What would be the specific reforms that you’d like to see go in?

Matt: [00:27:24] Well, I would get to the basics first. I think that the, examining police training and make sure that the new officers who are coming in the Police Academy are getting best management practices of being effective law enforcement and also not having unnecessary escalation. I think that, community policing works. So I think having a recruitment effort of letting middle school and high school students in Clayton County and Dekalb County and Fulton County inside the perimeter know that you have a bright future, both on your, your education as well as employment. If you want to devote your career to being in law enforcement in your own community and making things better in your own community, everybody wants free college. You can go to technical school, do criminal justice there, or get a two year degree for a very low cost and then go to a four year college in Georgia for criminal justice, again at very low costs. And then graduate and be a community police officer in Atlanta and have a bright future. And I think letting kids know that in Georgia, we respect law enforcement and that we support law enforcement and young people in our diverse, young generation have a bright future in law enforcement and we ought to be on the same side. So I think the police training, recruitment. Also little things like, Bruce Lavelle reminded me of the CIB community improvement district. They had an idea about cops, cops in the neighborhood program where housing is an issue. You mentioned the salary of police officers, as we were talking earlier is low. And that pushes a lot of police officers to go moonlight in second or third jobs, which stresses them out when
they’re back on the job as a police officer. Housing, if we can get some affordable housing for law enforcement officers to live in the communities that they police and, be integral parts of the community. Many are already, but housing costs in Atlanta has really sort of disrupted. I, as I’m out in neighborhoods across the 48 Senate District, I see police cars for multiple jurisdictions. And if we could, make sure that, the law enforcement officers are in the community and visible and tied in with their own community where they’re policing. I think that’ll help a lot. But more than anything else, I think we need to have the message that America is a republic and a democracy. Things don’t work in America for people to be out of work and out of school. We need to get things back where our kids are learning and our businesses are functioning fully because bad things are happening. Some of them we needed to address. But when I, you mentioned, your background in New York, I was very disturbed to see what’s happening in New York this week, in terms of violence, gratuitous violence. That is not helping anything for people to be hitting police officers over the head with bats. And, and it raises the question, who’s giving out those bats? I’ve seen some pictures of people dropping pallets off of bricks during a protest.

Rico: [00:30:23] I don’t know about that part of it. Yeah, I mean, there’s all sorts of things on the web and stuff and social media that, are they real are they not. I mean, it’s just, it’s a variety of things. And I’m not saying, you know, violence, even if, if, if a group is angry because of what’s going on, there is no reason in the world. I don’t care. There’s no reason to throw a Molotov cocktail into an empty police car. There’s no reason to be burning a Wendy’s down. There’s just no reason for any of that violence. It’s just, it, it doesn’t help the cause. And it changes, it does change the narrative and to a bad way, right? Because everyone says, Oh, that changes the narrative when you discuss that. You don’t what, it has to be discussed because it’s wrong. How do we teach our kids? I teach my kids right and wrong. Now, you know, I don’t know about other people, but if it’s wrong to throw a Molotov cocktail into a car, it’s wrong. You just don’t drive by and throw one in there. Even if it’s empty. It’s just like, I can never understand that. But, I agree with you. I mean, we have to, it’s a cultural thing too, and we have to really observe all of that and really come, at least move down the road a little bit right? Everything you’ve said, it makes sense to, you know, to that. And we do need to way change the way some of the police are trained I guess. Let’s move on to some other issues we are getting towards the end of our time together. So I do want to make sure we hit a few things.

Matt: [00:31:52] Sure. And Rico, let me just say, Gwinnett schools. Gwinnett police that’s who polices Peachtree Corners? Gwinnett Police, Gwinnett Police, I’ve done ride alongs through leadership Gwinnett and pay attention to what’s going on in my local. Who’s gonna fight for the budget gaps that are needed when, we need funding as well as public policy changes, for Gwinnett Police and, and for our local police departments. I want to be an effective advocate. That’s the stakes in the State Senate race. Who can go down there and get things done for our local law enforcement, our local schools, transportation solutions, healthcare. Washington is not going to solve our healthcare. We can’t just punt and say Medicaid is going to take it over. We need to make sure that we have jobs and insurance and good health care networks here in Georgia. No one’s gonna do it for us. We’ve got to go, send an advocate from our community down there to get good things done on those basic needs.

Rico: [00:32:47] Okay. Good to hear. The other issues you’ve been talking about, I think on the campaign trail has been, nonpartisan, County officer’s nonpartisan term limits. Do you think State Senate should be term limited?

Matt: [00:33:02] Yes. I think if you can’t go get good things done in eight years, pass the baton to somebody else who could do it. Now, when you get elected, I think you oughta serve out your term, and, you know, not be looking at some other higher office. You need to be focused on doing a good job in a short amount of time and then go live under the laws that you make. That’s the principle of having nonpartisan and term limited elections. All of the cities in the 48 Senate district have nonpartisan municipal elections and it works great. Gwinnett County, we now have a multi billion dollar County budget, a multibillion dollar school budget, and of course in Fulton County, they have an equally large school and County budget. Their population is over a million we’re right at a million in Gwinnett. I think having more people having a seat at the table with this high population and budget is a good thing. I think, having citizen legislators and not partisan career politicians, I think that would be a good improvement. Our cities are already doing it and let’s pass it on to our counties. Now this is not a new issue for me. I’ve been an advocate for this in the past, I was the Republican party lawyer, as well as, the Gwinnett County bar association president. And I got called upon, from having served in those two roles to advocate for the master court and the probate court, in Gwinnett to go nonpartisan, six or seven years ago, representative Chuck F Thracian, was a leader in that initiative. Those offices went nonpartisan years ago. I got to go to the bill signing. I’ve got the, the bill signing pen from Governor Deal and those nonpartisan offices have worked well since then, as well as our cities being nonpartisan. And listen, I’m a bipartisan problem solver. I’m a fiscal conservative and, and proud to be a Republican, but I want to reach out to Democrats and Independents and get some good public policy that will serve our community in our state. That’s what I’m all about.

Rico: [00:34:55] Cool. The, let’s get back, okay. And by the way, if anyone notices, there has been some interruption of our Facebook live stream, so you’ll get this full version, after, after the show. So what, you know, let’s. Let’s talk a bit about, you know, term limits is one thing. Yes, we want to make sure that, we have new, new, fresh people in place instead of someone in there 20 years, let’s say. Cause that’s having people in a position too long. There’s something to be said about experience, but there’s also something to be said about, the power structure. When you have people in place for 20 or 30 years in the same seat, right. It becomes a bit of a, contrary to growth if you will. But ethics, ethics is the other issue, that you discuss. Ethics is very tough issue. It’s tough to be self regulated. It’s tough for a body, a State Senator, a state house to have their own ethics committee. And they’re going to self regulate themselves. That’s a bit of an issue. I don’t know how well that can be done. And it seems like it almost never can be done well, I’ve never seen it yet that way. How, how do you think you can do it differently?

Matt: [00:36:06] Sure. And I put this in there just to let folks know in the Senate district, that I think that, state government and the State Senate ought to serve the people and that ought to be the focus and we ought to have transparency in government. And, we need to have, you
know, a vibrant system where everybody knows what’s going on at the Capitol. Now, the state ethics commissioner is across the street from the Capitol, the house and Senate have their own ethics committees. But what I’m talking about is the state ethics commission, I want to make sure they have the resources and the infrastructure to handle their matters promptly. There was just so much, so much turnover over the course of a decade in that office. So we’ve now got a good former prosecutor in there. We’ve got some great lawyers and personnel in the office, and I want to make sure that they can process their cases efficiently. Just like a good district attorney’s office would. You look at Danny Porter and how well he runs things in Gwinnett. And I, I, I don’t think that their focus should be prosecuting people, but I think that they, they should have a good efficient system where they process their cases from beginning to end a lot more quickly and efficiently. And there’s a procedure to weed out the overtly political matters that get opened up versus ones where there’s an actual problem with disclosure and transparency. I’ve raised my money locally from people primarily in the Senate district, or sometimes at the Senate district. I look at races around Metro Atlanta, and you have this flood of outside money coming in and you don’t really know where it’s coming from or why it’s, you know, being spent here in Georgia. But I want to make sure that the State Senate has its focus on serving the people in their districts and there’s transparency and ethics in government public service and citizen, legislators. That’s what we need down there at the Capitol and transparency and I believe strongly in that. My dad retired a couple years ago from being a DA in the Southwestern circuit. I worked at the DA’s office in law school. I drove up to Madison County every Friday in my last year in law school and did prosecution there so I’m familiar with that whole process of how a prosecutor’s office works. And although they’re not, I don’t want them to be criminal, I do want them to have the resources, the personnel, the procedures in place to be efficient and effective and make sure that we match up with our population. Georgia is going to be almost a top five state after the census. We’ve been number one in jobs. We’re almost the top five state. We need to overhaul everything in state government and make sure that we’re delivering that kind of excellence to our citizens.

Rico: [00:38:38] Excellent. We are at the end of our time together. So usually what I do, Matt and we’ve done this before, is that I’ll have the candidate ask for the vote. So you have about two minutes. Give us why Matt Reeves should be the State Senate rep for district 48.

Matt: [00:38:58] Peachtree Corners, you are blessed to have some great elected officials. Mayor Mason, the city council, first lady mrs. Mayor, Debbie Mason, Mary Kay Murphy school board representative, Ben Coux, formally, Linette Howard. You’ve got a great bunch of local elected officials. I want to, augment that excellence down at the State Capitol and effectively be an advocate for Peachtree Corners down there. Bi-partisan problem solving, you look at the Simpsonwood matter where I represented the church. I worked closely with UPCCA that’s how I met Scott Hilton years ago. I worked with the elected officials at the city and the County went to probate court, superior court, appellate court. But problem solved along the way in a way that, that property is now a park rather than not a controversy that worries everybody. So, that’s a good example of what I’ve done out here and the history of the last 17 years as a business and real estate litigation lawyer. And I’ve also cared about the community. I’ve been actively involved
in things like the Duluth parks board, the Gwinnett County education, SPLOST renewal campaign, rotary and other civic matters. I care about the future of our community, just like you do. I want to be an effective advocate for Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Duluth, and other communities down in the State Senate. I’d be honored to earn your support. Matt Reeves for Senate is my website. Matt Reeves for State Senate on Facebook and, @MattReevesGA on Twitter. Let me hear from you (770) 236-9768 is my number. Call me anytime. I’d love to get to hear about you and your perspective on how Peachtree Corners can be an excellent community through advocacy in the state Senate over the next two years. Thank you.

Rico: [00:40:40] Excellent, Matt. Thank you. I appreciate you coming on. Stay with me while we log off, but everyone, thank you for listening in. Matt Reeves candidate, Republican candidate for State Senate district 48. That represents, that represent Peachtree corners among other cities within that State Senate district. So that’s coming up, November 3rd is the election. There’s early voting. That’s going to be happening obviously for that, I believe

Matt: [00:41:03] October 12th

Rico: [00:41:05] October 12th.

Matt: [00:41:06] That’s early voting

Rico: [00:41:08] Well, okay. Right. The election if you deemed to go in the, November third is, is the it’s but yeah. October 12th. So check out the, go to, you know, make sure you, you’re actually, can people register to vote yet?

Matt: [00:41:23] Absolutely. Gwinnett County board of elections, as well as secretary of state, if you’ve moved or you’re new, get registered now. Make sure there’s no surprises as you get close to the election and be prepared to either absentee vote, early vote, starting October 12th or vote in person November the third.

Rico: [00:41:43] Excellent. Thanks, Matt. I appreciate you being with us. Thank you everyone

Matt: [00:41:46] Thank you for your time.

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Elections and Politics

Official drop boxes available for absentee/advance by mail ballots



official ballot drop boxes

Eight official ballot drop boxes are now in place across Gwinnett County to provide eligible voters with a new way to return absentee/advance by mail ballots for the June 9 Presidential Preference Primary, General Primary, and Nonpartisan Election. No postage is necessary on ballots placed in the drop boxes. The secure drop boxes are monitored by video and available 24/7 at these locations:

Voter Registrations and Elections Beauty P. Baldwin Building, 455 Grayson Highway, Suite 200 Lawrenceville

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Multiple options to cast your ballot for the June 9 elections



early voting Peachtree Corners

Voters are not limited to Election Day to cast their ballot in the June 9 Presidential Preference Primary, General Primary, and Nonpartisan Election.

Eligible voters may vote advance in person every day, including weekends, through June 5 at the Gwinnett Voter Registrations and Elections Beauty P. Baldwin Building, located at 455 Grayson Highway in Lawrenceville. The office is open for advance voting Monday through Saturday from 8:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday from noon to 7:00pm.

Voters can also cast their ballots advance in person every day, including weekends, through June 5 at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds, located at 2405 Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville (use the Davis Road entrance) Monday through Saturday from 7:00am to 7:00pm and Sunday from noon to 7:00pm.

Satellite voting will be offered daily from Saturday, May 30 through Friday, June 5 from 7:00am to 7:00pm at four satellite locations.

  • Bogan Park Community Recreation Center, 2723 North Bogan Road, Buford
  • George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center, 55 Buford Highway, Suwanee
  • Lenora Park Gym, 4515 Lenora Church Road, Snellville
  • Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center, 4651 Britt Road, Norcross

To check the status of your voter registration and see a sample ballot, visit My Voter Page at mvp.sos.ga.gov. For more information or to stay up-to-date with elections in Gwinnett, follow @GwinnettGov on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram or visit GwinnettElections.com.

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