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Michael Corbin: A Personal Calling to Run for Congress



Why is Michael Corbin running for the U.S. Congress (GA District 7)? Who is he, why is he passionate about his community, and what issues are his top priorities. Rico Figliolini talks with Michael about his run as a Republican, term limits, inflation, immigration, and COVID-19.

Website: https://www.corbin4congress.com
Twitter: @Corbin4Congress
Term Limits Amendment: https://www.termlimits.com

[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:01:42] – Why Michael is Running
[00:06:11] – Term Limits
[00:10:35] – Countering Inflation Rates
[00:21:59] – Immigration Issues
[00:29:05] – Moving Forward from COVID
[00:36:30] – COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
[00:38:48] – Quick Questions
[00:42:49] – Closing

“The biggest thing for me is that I just have a lot of pride and passion in our city, our state, and even more so locally in this community. I’ve spent my entire life here pretty much, since 1992. I was 14 years old. And I don’t plan on going anywhere. My purpose to get into politics is to just make change… I’m doing this because I really, truly care about our country. I truly care about this district and want to make change.”

Michael Corbin

Podcast Transcript:

[00:00:30] Rico: Hi everyone this is Rico Figliolini, host of Peachtree Corners Life and publisher of Peachtree Corners Magazine. Which I hope you’re getting in the mail. We mail every single household in the city of Peachtree Corners, so certainly if you’re not getting it, let me know. But this show is a special show that we’re doing this evening, depending on when you’re listening to this. We’re recording it live and the candidate that I’m speaking to is a candidate that’s running for Congress, for Georgia House Seat Number Seven. He attended Duluth High School, UGA. He’s a member of Peachtree Corners Baptist Church. He’s lived here in Peachtree Corners for a while as well. Hailing originally I guess, from Ohio, if I’m not mistaken. But we’ll introduce him, we’ll talk to him. Tonight is about the issues, is about his passion for running, why he’s choosing to run and what issues are dear to him. So let’s bring on Michael. How are you?

[00:01:20] Michael: Doing good Rico. I appreciate the time and being on here and I do get the magazine and read it. I like it. It’s usually very nice content and pertinent to Peachtree Corners. So, really good publication.

[00:01:32] Rico: I appreciate that. Trying to keep everything relevant to the city of Peachtree Corners, as much as we can. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of stories to tell about this city.

[00:01:40] Michael: Yeah, we’ll keep growing.

[00:01:42] Rico: Yeah, for sure. So let’s get right into it. You want to run for Congress. Not State House, not Mayor of the city, but for Congress. A national platform. Tell us why you’re choosing to do that? And you’re going to be running obviously well, not obvious, but for those that don’t know, in the Republican Primary that happens next year. So we’re early on in the process, but not for a candidate that wants to run for office. You’re going to have to start now to be able to get that headwind going into May of next year for the primary. So tell us why you are choosing to run and tell us why you’re passionate about it.

[00:02:19] Michael: You know, it was really kind of a personal calling that came upon me. And one of the things, and we’ll get into this a little bit later, is something that I see is a disease in our political establishment. And that’s what I would call a career politician. Everybody’s always complaining, we never really get anything done. And the reason why is because of career politicians. And it leads to a lot of divisiveness. It leads to what people call the establishment, on both sides. And it’s a lot of just party bickering. And, you know, I say you’ve got to cut the cancer out and then treat it. Our forefathers never intended it to really be this way. It was for citizens to represent their constituencies. Take a moment out of time of their private life to do so, and then go back. Unfortunately there was nothing put into writing to limit that. And people now use that as, really kind of a power grab. And it’s becoming a problem where we can’t get anything done and everything is really revolving around pride and not really pushing our country forward. I’m obviously a first time candidate going into this and not starting at the small level, at the city council level or anything like that, you know. Kind of going at it and whether win or lose, I always say you either win or you learn something in the process here. But I’m passionate about trying to make a change. It’s not something I need to do in life, but I’m passionate about this community. I’ve lived here since 1992. Did move here from Ohio. And went to Duluth high school, went to University of Georgia. After that, moved back here. I’ve lived my entire professional career in the Atlanta Metro market area. And specifically within this district. I care a lot about the district. I’ve seen it grow. I’ve seen it change over the years in a lot of good ways. And I think that our leadership should represent that change. That’s why I’m running. I really just want to see change and people that want to get into government to make change and then get out.

[00:04:18] Rico: Do you find that there is, politics is very different from what it was before. There was a bit more willingness to compromise on issues versus being the extreme on issues. And we find that in our media too, between CNN and Fox news, they’re both two extreme. I could be looking at both of them, which I do on occasion, and I’ll be looking at one and the other will be like, is today the right day? Why is one covering one thing and the other one covering something totally different, maybe. So do you find that on both sides of the aisle, do you find that issue that people are not doing what they should be doing on both sides of the aisle. We’re a two-party system at this point, so there is the two sides. Do you find that in both parties?

[00:04:58] Michael: Absolutely. I mean I think, when it comes to media, it’s about ratings and getting that viewership and the money. When it comes to the different sides of the house, whether it’s Democrat or Republican, they’re both always constantly interviewing for their job. They’re always trying to get as much money as they can for the next election. They’re always trying to push their agenda because they can. And a lot of times those agendas are going to be completely polarizing from the other side of the house. You’re always going to get that both ends of the spectrum. And it seems like that gap is getting wider and wider when you look at the people that represent America. But when we’re living our daily life, I don’t see that in the citizens of this country. I see that in the government. And I see the government and the media really fueling that polarization of our country. Just walking around, talking to people, living in the world, you see less of that polarization than you do actually in our government. Who are supposed to be our leaders and our media who are supposed to be reporting accurate news. You know, it’s a little bit, I would say disappointing, because those are the people that are supposed to be looking out for the best interest. And I almost think that the citizens actually have a better idea of how things should actually go.

[00:06:11] Rico: Yeah, it sad to see that. That the news, Fox news, CNN, those are the two major cable news now. People don’t digest the news the way I do maybe, or the way you do. I might have it on in the background even for like hours versus people might see it for 10, 15 minutes. There’s no such thing as what there used to be, you know, anchor news. Now they’re just talking heads, opinions. Bringing on other people that might have opinions. So yeah, a variety of positions and sometimes like anything, facts can be construed into any which way you want to use it, right? Statistics are the same way. You can look at one stat versus another stat and what’s more important and how you interpret it. Those are the things I come across. Now, I know you want to change things. I know one of your biggest issues is term limits. I believe you want three terms for Congress and two terms for the Senate.

[00:07:04] Michael: Yeah. And there’s a group out there, www.termlimits.com. I’ve signed the pledge. There’s been a lot of other current representatives in Senate and House. Ted Cruz, a lot of other people that have signed it which is promising, to really put guardrails around it. You know, right now there are no term limits. It’s almost, I wouldn’t say impossible, but unless there’s a vacancy, someone says I’m just done. Nobody really runs. Because the incumbent wins, I want to say 94% of the time. The statistics are pretty overwhelming when it comes to that and it’s just tough, right? It’s tough to unseat people that are incumbents. They’ve got the name recognition. They’ve got the political backing, the financial backing. And they don’t have to leave until they want to leave.

[00:07:50] Rico: And they bring home the bacon, if you will. If they can take care of the constituents, whether the companies or organizations or non-profits, if they can bring those grants and that money to the congressional district, who’s going to argue that to a degree, right?

[00:08:06] Michael: Yeah, exactly. And a lot of them along the way, I wouldn’t say all representatives whether it’s Congress or Senate. They’re cut from a certain cloth and they get out of being a lawyer or doctor and they get into politics and a lot of times it’s to stay there as long as they can to make connections so they can improve their personal wealth. It’s more pride and power over really virtue and doing the right things. That’s why, I just constantly see that nothing gets done, right? It’s all about winning, like we’re playing a football game. Hey, who’s going to have the majority who’s going to get, and it’s not really ever about like, well, what’s going to be the best thing for our country? And I think it all stems back to the people that just don’t want to get out of Congress. They don’t want to get out of the Senate. I mean, look at, Joe Biden. You know what, 40 plus years in government? So you know, that there’s a problem when it gets to that point, it’s time to step down. So, and Joe Biden not pick on there’s lots of people that are like that.

[00:09:04] Rico: No for sure. And you have, even when you have term limits sometimes, I think it was Mayor Bloomberg was supposed to have in New York city, I think three terms was supposed to be his max, but he had the city council change the rules. So this way can run for another term. Because I guess he felt he didn’t have enough time to do what he wanted to do, his agenda. And he got a lot of things done. And maybe that was good, but at some point, if you had three terms in Congress, but you weren’t able to accomplish everything you wanted, but you’d have to leave. Would that be a good thing?

[00:09:37] Michael: I think some of that you have to put the onus on yourself, right? How motivated were you to try to get the things accomplished for your constituency first and then your country. Because there’s some people that just aren’t that motivated, they just want to get in there, to be able to solidify their name recognitions when they get out, they’re making more money. So if you really want to get things done and you’ve got a shorter time span, you’re going to be a lot more motivated to get it done. And the ones that aren’t, there’ll be weeded out pretty quickly. But yeah, if you don’t get everything accomplished, anytime there’s unfinished business, I think it pulls at your heart strings. But sometimes, your will is going to be trumped by God’s will. And I believe that. And you just have to have patience and understanding. But yeah, I think anybody that serves that term and doesn’t finish everything that they want, not to use a Mark Richt euphemism, but finish the drill. If you don’t finish the drill, you may feel something or some way, but I still think it’s better that way. I think people are going to be more motivated to get things done based on serving the people than serving themselves.

[00:10:35] Rico: It’s too bad that I don’t see that passing anytime soon. And so it’s not the same level playing field, unfortunately. People will leave because they want to keep to that term limit, but then there’ll be others there that will stay there 20, 30 years. And no doubt, like you said, once you’re an incumbent, the odd’s are actually north of about 87% remaining in their incumbency because they not only control the process if you will, to a degree, but because most people are not motivated to vote them out. You really have to have a really diehard reason to get those voters out, sometimes in certain districts. Especially the way the lines are drawn sometimes. A Republican will stay a Republican seat. The Democratic will stay a Democratic seat. This district, Georgia Seven, is changing. The demographics have changed over the last decade. Which is why I believe, Carolyn Bourdeaux was able to win along with some other aspects to it. But the demographics are changing a bit, the politics are changing. Do you find that this might be an uphill battle to get there? Or do you think you have that chance to be able to get that seat?

[00:11:44] Michael: I would say it’s definitely an uphill battle for Republicans. I mean, a lot of times, you know, the ebbs and flows come with what’s going on at large with the country. Some people might just be so upset because they’re looking at okay, Atlanta, for instance, we lead all metro markets in the country and inflation rate about almost 8% right now. So there may be some people that are just so fed up they’re just like, Carolyn, I don’t care. You’re done. I need something new. But a lot of times people just go to the ballot and they’re okay, Carolyn Bourdeaux, I know that name, incumbent, they just check the box. So you have to be able to find some of those swing voters, which I think are getting more and more narrow. If you look at the district map, since 1990, it has gone from red to just blue, blue, blue, blue. But the demographics of our county have changed and that’s just the way it is. You know, you have to be able to change with that. It was a Rich McCormick who ran last time. I don’t know if he’s even going to try to run this time because there’s not an open seat. It’s one of those things where if you’re not really appealing to some of those people that are independents, maybe swing votes, you’re just going to lose. In this district, at least. You’re going to lose.

[00:12:48] Rico: For sure. I think moderate versus extreme is probably the best place to be. So let’s talk a little bit more directly on the issues. You touched on inflation, so let’s talk a little bit about that. What that means to residents of this district. Inflation is topping over 8%. And it’s been steady. I think the last five months has shown a steady increase in inflation rate. Some people say that’s the supply chain. Some people are saying that’s the wage that’s pressuring up prices. And that it’s short term. And then some companies are saying, no, this is the new norm. We’re going to be seeing this. Not enough employment, the rate’s going to be going higher. Inflation is going to be going on. Where do you see that? And what do you see as a good way to counter that?

[00:13:33] Michael: I think a lot of the damage has been done, unfortunately. And I think it’s a perfect storm. You had COVID. And there was a relief that needed to happen, there were people out of jobs. I do volunteer at a organization here in the Norcross area and saw firsthand how many people were in the food line and needed help. And I think that relief was really needed, but you know, over time it’s kind of weaned off a little bit. But I think, as the political machine goes, that’s how you buy votes, right? Let’s continue pumping that money back into, the economy artificially. And that was just passed again. There’s a lot of that going on, with new entitlement programs and the new Build Back Better plan. Trillion dollar infrastructure plan that was passed. So I don’t see a whole, I mean, I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. If right now we’re at, 8% here in Atlanta. Workforces still stagnant in terms of, new jobs are out there, but people just aren’t taking them. And it’s, it’s in, specific sectors. Mostly the service industry. But you know, at a certain point, people have to work. If you’re just pumping money into the economy and people are spending, but not working, you’re raising the wage. When eventually people go back to work and they’re making more money. And you’ve already put more money into the, into the economy. The cost of goods are just going to go up. That’s just simple math. Personally in my corporate life, I see it firsthand. And the lack of workforce when it comes to labor, raw material there’s major shortages. 20, 30% in some material that, in at least in my industry. Telecoms, copper, fiber, all the electronic chips. We’re looking at, from what I’ve been seeing from a lot of our large distributors, two years till we get back to where we were. That’s just in industry. On top of that, just, you know, labor. The actual engineers and technicians that, were maybe not high end engineers that got furloughed are now not going back to work. Cause they’re making just as much money on assistance. A lot of that’s gone away, so that may change. It’s been kind of a perfect storm. It’s been a tough year because a lot of businesses want to get back to business, but they can’t get anything and they can’t get a workforce going. So, you know, it all kind of ties into inflation and just really making a tough, I would say, economy and workforce.

[00:15:48] Rico: Isn’t that interesting? I mean, people were furloughed or people were working remotely. And they want to still work remotely. So maybe the company wants them to come back. Maybe they don’t want to go back. I’m seeing more companies doing hybrid type jobs where it’s, you know, where, when you can. Certain jobs, you can’t. Obviously restaurants and other areas. Manufacturing, you can’t do it that way. But service jobs as far as like, IT work and marketing and graphic design work and other things can be done remotely. So I’m seeing companies doing two days in the office, three days out. I don’t know if that’s going to change anytime soon. That might. That’s affecting commercial buildings, rentals and all that. You know, people are still, I mean, you look in this area, it’s almost a hundred percent occupied, the apartment buildings. So those are doing well. People are paying their rent at this point. And unemployment subsidies has been gone for what, two months now? Three months?

[00:16:43] Michael: Yes. I think it was like end of August.

[00:16:45] Rico: So it’s been gone already. And if you look at the national statistics of what a typical household income or savings where people are only month to month, with their savings. I don’t understand how they’re paying the bills, then without that subsidy, without taking a job. And there’s plenty of jobs out there it seems. Certainly in certain sectors anyway, and even the high end, even in your sector, do you find that you’re not able to fill the jobs within your company, within your sector of the business?

[00:17:15] Michael: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s become, you know, really just a job market for anybody seeking a job. It’s a playground, right? There’s so many jobs out there, they call it the great resignation right now. You know, there’re just people just leaving jobs because they can to get a higher salary because people are desperate to hire them. Now it’s not as dire is the service industry. And people are still working. But yeah, with the amount of jobs posted versus how to get them filled is very difficult. There’s demands. I want to work at home a hundred percent. Full-time right. When you had never even been part of the industry, it’s like, how do you get trained? You know? So there are a lot of factors that go into it. But it’s a tough time when it comes to that. I think eventually it’s going to turn back around. I just don’t know when that’s going to happen. I think, passing that spending bill is going to keep people waiting around to see, okay what’s next? What is going to be given out which is just going to prolong the cycle. And unfortunately, when it ties back into inflation, when you’re working let’s just look at 8% and in the Atlanta market, how many people’s income is going up 8%? It’s not. You’re having to cut back in some areas. You’re not able to save if you’ve got kids for college. And that 8%, year over year of it keeps going up higher, you have to make sacrifices. And you know, for middle-class Americans that may not be major sacrifices, but you’re making sacrifices for your family, in terms of being able to save for the future, do some of the things that you wanted to do. Hopefully there becomes a time where that does end, but the passing of that bill I feel may have thrown some fuel on the fire. We’ll see.

[00:18:52] Rico: Yeah. There was a lot of stuff in that bill. I mean, a lot of good stuff, I thought.

[00:18:55] Michael: Yeah.

[00:18:56] Rico: And it dealt with broadband expansion of that. Helping with EV, the EV market, the electric vehicle market, to a degree. There was a lot of good stuff in there. You know, obviously this type of bill when you’re talking a trillion dollars, which no one could get really their head wrapped around. Saying what a trillion dollars is, right? Nevermind a million dollars and how you spend that. So supply chain, jobs, inflation. What would you have done different in a bill like that? And in a trillion dollar bill, if you were able to put it together, what would you have done different there? What would you have taken out? What would you have added that may not be there?

[00:19:35] Michael: Yeah, I mean, it’s still, and I feel like it’s kind of a mystery, cause it seems like there’s a lot of Republicans, even Democrats that don’t know exactly what’s in it. There’s a lot of things that are earmarked. When it comes to things like rural broadband, I think that’s something that needs to happen. Being in the telecommunication industry, it’s very expensive. A lot of telecom companies get a lot of heat saying, why are you not building out fiber? Well, nobody really knows how much that costs to trench, dig, pull fiber past 10 houses over 50 miles. Like you’re never going to get your return on investment. So why do you think they’re not doing it? So the money’s got to come from somewhere to help those companies build out that fiber and not just take a massive loss. You know, things like that are very important. Roads, bridges. But I think when you start filling it with these other programs, and there’s probably too many to name, but there was just a lot of other government assistance type programs that are in there that are new. That we don’t know how long they’re going to run when they’ll end and what their purpose is in the long run. So I think those questions were a lot of, there just weren’t enough answers to those questions where I think anybody felt comfortable signing off on it. Obviously it ended up passing, they got enough support, but.

[00:20:53] Rico: Passing by I think 62, to something. I forget how many Republicans were on board with it as well.

[00:20:59] Michael: Yeah, I only think there was like seven, something like that in Congress that kind of flipped. It’s something that, I think it was just, without knowing all the details of it and reading it thoroughly, which, you know, would probably put you to sleep, you don’t really know the long term effects of some of the stuff that’s hidden in there. There’s a lot of good stuff in there, but there’s a lot of stuff that’s hidden in there. That we’ll see what those effects have. The timing is just bad. When you’ve got that kind of spending and the debt that we have and the inflation issues that we have spending that kind of money is, at this time, not a good time. We’re not in a depression. Biden tried to sell it as like The New Deal. And it’s not, right? We were coming out of, you know, a depression, were in a depression when FDR passed that. And we’re not in a depression right now, you know, we’re, we have inflation and we have enough people to work and we have enough jobs, but people aren’t working. So the need to spend that amount of money was in my mind unnecessary. There was a need to spend money, but probably not that much.

[00:21:54] Rico: And certainly they wanted more than what they got, by far.

[00:21:58] Michael: Yeah, exactly.

[00:21:59] Rico: And like you said, in a bit like this there’s always amendments. There’s always things put in that certain congressmen wants or senators wants. So it’s gets to be a bit of a pork barrel of stuff too. So that’s, I wouldn’t be surprised there are things in there that probably we would never know about. Let’s get on to immigration. There has been a crisis at the border. There’s been a crisis at the border since Trump, and even before Trump. Hasn’t gotten worse, hasn’t gotten better. I mean, ebb and flows. Sometimes I think that Biden’s immigration problem is roughly no different than what Trump had at the border also. But should we be creating, spending time to create a comprehensive immigration bill? Should people be waiting five years before they are allowed to come into this country? Should people be paying certain visas because they can put a hundred thousand dollars into a new business to be able to come to this country? Is it broken? How do we fix it?

[00:22:57] Michael: Yeah, it’s definitely broken. I think the optics just depend on who’s president, right? You had kids in cages when Trump was president, you had kids in cages when Biden was president It’s no better now. It’s no worse. It’s just how the media spins it. You know, for me, I just think that, yeah, there needs to be an easier path. Our country was built upon immigrants. I’m here from, descendants from Europe, and wouldn’t be here if immigration wasn’t. None of us would be right? Unless you’re a hundred percent Native American. So, there needs to be a way. People come here to find a better life for the most part. There are a minority of people that come here for the wrong reasons. And I think there can be taskforces, which already exist to make sure you crack down on that and narcotics, human trafficking. I think if you have more money pumped into those programs to make sure that we’re really kind of honing in on, okay, who’s coming across the border to really make a life for themselves and their family versus those that are just really trying to do the wrong things. And putting efforts around that, then we’ll see progress. But nobody wants to work together on that. It’s all about, your plan is bad, my plan’s good. Vote for me, vote for him. So, immigration is an important topic for me. A lot of that just comes back to my religious beliefs and, you know, Christ said, you should welcome widows, orphans and foreigners. And treat them with that kind of respect and to see how we treat people that come into this country, it’s disheartening. It’s emotional times to see kids, trying to get over here, families broken apart. So there’s just gotta be a better way to do it. I think there can be. But it’s always about, who’s right, who’s wrong. And how do I make the situation look worse for that guy? So I can get voted in house. Rather than actually worrying about and being an advocate for the people that are trying to come here to make a better life for themselves.

[00:24:45] Rico: Do you think DACA should be made permanent? The whole idea of DACA is to accept the immigrants that are here, which depending on who you talk to, it could be 10 million, 11 million, 15 million that are illegal. To come here illegally, but have made permanent homes here. Kids have gone to college here. They may have been here for 10, 15 years. They may have been here since they were two. All of a sudden, one administration wants to deport a two year old that was here that’s 18 years old now, to a country they know nothing about. Do you think that we should create a path for citizenship, at least for the children of those that came here illegally? Do you have any idea of what you’d like to see in that?

[00:25:26] Michael: I would like to see that and, you know, I would challenge people that are Republicans to actually get out and get exposed to people that have come here illegally and understand what they’re going through, right? And try to put yourself in their shoes. Until I really started doing that, I didn’t really understand. But you really see what they go through, the conditions they live in and how much pride they take in just being in this country. And I think if you actually gave them status as an American citizen, they would be red, white, and blue all over for the rest of their lives. The vast majority of them. There are some people that come here legally to do the wrong things. But I think that, you can’t paint with broad strokes. I think most of the people come here to make a life for themselves. Just like people did at the beginning of our country, throughout the early 19 hundreds. I mean, there’s always been waves of immigration. And when people get over here, they pound their chest, red, white, and blue. And I think that’s what does need to happen. And then moving forward, there needs to be a better way to allow people in, in a responsible and humane way, so they’re not clamoring and rushing to the border. But they know that, Hey, if you get here, there’s going to be a path and it’s not going to be ridiculous. You’re not going to have to the smuggle yourself in.

[00:26:40] Rico: So would you think that, I mean, we’re at the point where we’re an aging society. It’s an aging economy. We’re not expanding as much as we were. The white birth rate is lower than it used to be, by far. It’s actually below the level, that would be expanding the population. The expanding populations right now are Asian populations, Latino community. Within about 20, 30 years, or less maybe, we’ll be a majority, minority country. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not saying there is. There’s nothing wrong with that. Blended families. There’s just nothing wrong with that, but we need to maybe make the immigration process shortened. There’s no reason why someone needs to wait five years, four years, even three or two years before they get an answer, whether they can come into this country or not. Should we be putting more money towards that budget? Because right now there’s not enough people to even, you could wait 10 years before you get accepted into this country.

[00:27:42] Michael: That’s the only way to, I would say. Prevent what’s happening now. When you start to have these mad rushes, because people will say, alright well, this is my time let’s get in. And you start to see, smuggling of people and babies coming unaccompanied. And that’s a problem. It’s systemic because we don’t have a good way of getting people that want to be here legally in. And yeah, it’s, lack of funding, lack of oversight. And there needs to be work done there. Hopefully it gets that way. You know, my wife’s a teacher, she’s got a heavy Hispanic population. And the parents that she talks about there are just so invested in their kids and wanting them to have a better life. And so invested in what they’re doing and how they’re performing. And they want to be here. They want to do the right things, the vast majority of them. They just need the support. I take a little different view probably than a lot of Republicans do when it comes to that, just because of some of the things I’ve been exposed to. Just volunteering and being alongside of some of these people that I know are illegal, but are providing assistance to. Because it’s, to me, the right and the Christian thing to do is to help them out. They’re human beings. So yeah, there’s gotta be a better way. I don’t know what that way is, but it’s going to be money and it’s going to be building or fortifying organizations that already exist to make sure that there’s a path and it’s not chaos at the border.

[00:29:05] Rico: What do you think about, COVID is going on two years now, almost. When it first started in the month of February or March, when it got really bad and things shut down in lots of parts of the country, it almost felt like not the walking dead, but it almost felt like apocalyptic. The way it was going, like things had to be shut down because the contagion was spreading. And you think about these movies, Outbreak and stuff like that. But we’ve come out of it. Things have changed. Lots of things have changed. The way we work, the way we eat, how we order our food, how we talk to our employers, how we work remotely. But now we have vaccines. We have boosters. Hopefully COVID, doesn’t come back again. Hopefully there’s not another resurgence of it. But what do you see moving forward that we should be doing? Looking back in the past, we can’t change anything, but moving forward, what should we be doing?

[00:29:58] Michael: When it comes to vaccines, I mean, I got vaccinated. You know, it’s just one of those things. I was a little bit hesitant at first, I think there were a lot of people. But chose to get vaccinated. The science is showing that obviously, even if you get it you’re going to be a lot less likely to have to get serious medical attention. It’s a good thing that the vaccine is out here. It’s letting us get back to normal lives. When it first hit us, yeah it was very weird. I mean, I remember, I do a lot of running around here and just running in and around the forum. And there’s just nobody there. It just, it was like a ghost town. It was creepy. And nobody knew what was going on, and where it came from or how it happened. I think we learned a lot from it, in terms of, we were not really that well prepared for a pandemic. And I think it was well documented that there’s been, even in Obama’s administration, I think when it was SARS that was going around. And they said they dodged a bullet that there was no outbreak in the US because there was nothing, right? It would have been almost the same. So I think, moving forward, there’s gotta be a better plan. You can’t plan for every virus that’s out there, but you’ve got to have a better plan with the infrastructure. Like we didn’t have enough ventilators. We didn’t have a lot of the right advice at the beginning wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. There was just a lot of chaos and misinformation. I think, you know, if it happens again, maybe we’ll have a better plan. But I think there should be some type of group that’s going to be. Okay, here’s what happens if this type of virus gets out or this type of virus. It may not be a certain strand or whatever it is, but how did we prepare? What type of infrastructure is going to be needed? And how do we scale it? Because we didn’t know how to do that. Testing, yeah, we couldn’t test. We couldn’t, we didn’t have ventilators. We didn’t have facilities. So nobody thought about that or just nobody put enough thought into it to actually put a plan in place. So, you know, we’ve got to think about that, cause it could happen again. And another thing, I still want to know what happened. A lot of people do. I still think, China needs to be held accountable. I don’t think the US, as a global society, the world has really pressed on them hard enough. I don’t know if it was intentional. I don’t know if it was accidental. But if it was intentional, who’s to say it’s not going to happen again?

[00:32:15] Rico: But what, how would you hold them accountable? Whenever I hear that, like the draw that line in the sand thing that Obama did, and then someone steps over it and they look at you and you don’t do anything. If there are consequences, what would those consequences be? And then where would that stop?

[00:32:32] Michael: The consequences in my mind, just from an abstract view is number one, you have to start pulling away resources and money. Which is what they care about the most. And it has to be done from a coalition perspective. If the United States goes out alone, they’re just going to be, whatever. So you’re going to have to get other countries on board. And really press them, and stop trade. Stop a lot of things. poor companies out of China.

[00:32:59] Rico: How do you do that? Talk about supply chain issues. We buy, I didn’t know this until COVID happened, that 80% of the active ingredients in most of our pharmaceuticals come from China. And almost the entire supply of masks, 90% or something of those M95’s. Everyone else is wearing cloth, so am I, they’re not going to work on most viruses like that. M95 s is what you have to have. Almost all of them come from the Asian Pacific. All that we buy. Our iPhones, our iPads, our foods, even some of it comes from Asia. How could we do that? It would just go bad.

[00:33:38] Michael: It would. We have the ability. It’s, are we willing to pay more for what we’re getting today for less? That’s the whole reason why a lot of companies moved over there. A lot of productions moved over there. Even my four and seven year old daughter know that everything’s made in China. So you can’t do it overnight. I think you have to apply pressure over time. And why you’re applying that pressure over time, starting to build a contingency plan. If you don’t, the world is always going to be at the mercy of China. And let’s say this was something nefarious that they did. And they just said, Hey, let’s test this out and see what they can actually even do. I don’t know if that’s what they’re doing.

[00:34:19] Rico: Do you think really that, that would be the case? I mean, something like that it’s like Israel’s, what was it, the Stutnik virus that got into Iran’s system then went wild and went across other countries besides Iran. A virus is worse, right? Because you can’t just direct where it’s going to go. It’s going to go where it wants to go.

[00:34:39] Michael: I don’t think anybody can say with certainty that it ‘was planned or not planned, but there’s just, no, there’s no transparency in what actually happened. And they could have. I mean, they could have. And China’s such a closed off society and very secret to the point of, you say the wrong thing, you sometimes don’t get heard from again. Nobody really knows. It could have been an honest mistake, a bat bit somebody, or somebody ate some.

[00:35:04] Rico: Or it could have came out of a lab accidentally. I’m not saying it didn’t come from a lab, but accidentally I wouldn’t be surprised. Things happen.

[00:35:12] Michael: I definitely don’t believe it came from an animal because expert immunologists have said, there’s no way a virus could become that lethal that quickly in nature from animal to human transmission. So I think it was produced. Was it leaked accidentally or on purpose? I think that’s the question. If it was on purpose then yeah while, China’s definitely a pretty evil society. If, If they said, okay, we’re going to pick this one city. And let you know, those citizens probably suffer. Let some people fly out of there and spread it amongst the world and see what happens. That’s the farfetched theory that the, you know, the probably more problematic or more likely scenario is it leaked out somehow. Somebody left that lab and got infected by it. And China just doesn’t want to admit that it happened. And, yeah.

[00:36:03] Rico: I agree. That’s likely the scenario. I mean, I’ve seen CDC reports where sometimes they’ve lost virus vials that they’ve been working on. They can’t track down anymore. So it’s just how do you do that then? How does that walk out of what is a level four lab or something?

[00:36:21] Michael: But I mean, yeah the most likely scenario out of all those is, you know, in a lab accidentally got out and nobody just wants to take accountability for it.

[00:36:30] Rico: Let’s do some quick questions. COVID-19 vaccine mandates. For it? Against it? Private companies, government, your opinion?

[00:36:40] Michael: Personally, if I’m working for a company that is mandating it, then just go ahead and do it. I think it’s become such a political issue now. You have to get vaccinated to go to school. In the military, you’ve got to get something like 17 vaccines. To go overseas you’ve got to get vaccines. So I think a lot of people would just are like, I’m not going to do it because it’s my right. And I respect their right. But I also respect the right of companies to say, hey, we don’t want to have to deal with this long term. So get vaccinated or you can’t be here.

[00:37:13] Rico: Do you think that schools should do the same thing? I mean, right now, my kids have to have, your kids likely when they enter school, I have to have certain vaccines done. Do you believe schools should mandate vaccines for this?

[00:37:24] Michael: I would say if COVID is still here, let’s say in the next year, two years, not a bad idea. If it starts to wean off, then probably not. To me that’s more like the flu shot. Like we just have to live with the flu. The flu is going to be around. It used to be very deadly. Now it’s not, but my hope is that COVID, we’re always in, it’s going to be part of our lives, but it would just won’t be as effective as it has been. So I would say let’s wait that out a little bit, not rush to judgment, just because kids bodies are growing. They respond in different ways. And the studies have shown when kids get it, it’s not very bad. There’s not that many deaths like it is in older people or people that are immunocompromised. So I personally, my opinion would be, let’s give it a little bit more time. Adults, I personally have had family members that decided not to get vaccinated and then got COVID afterwards and went to the hospital. And it’s kinda like, you know why, right? Everybody was crying for a vaccine like, a year ago. Where’s this vaccine, where’s this vaccine? And then it comes out and they’re like, ah, I don’t know about that.

[00:38:29] Rico: Yeah. It’s amazing how humans can be.

[00:38:32] Michael: I say all that to say this, if somebody says, Hey, I don’t want to take it. That’s their choice. Everybody’s got free will in their life. So I’m not going to bash people for not taking it. But I also do believe that, Hey, if it’s out there and it’s proven to be helpful, then it’s not a bad idea to get it.

[00:38:48] Rico: Cool. We spent more time than we were going to, but there was a lot of good topics to talk about. So I appreciate your hanging in there with me like that.

[00:38:55] Michael: Yeah, for sure.

[00:38:56] Rico: Let me just do some quick, easy stuff. What’s your favorite food?

[00:39:00] Michael: What favorite food? Definitely pizza.

[00:39:04] Rico: Okay. You like to run, it sounds like. Do you listen to music while you’re running or podcasts?

[00:39:09] Michael: I listen to typically music, yeah.

[00:39:12] Rico: Okay. Any particular type of music or?

[00:39:16] Michael: Believe it or not, yeah. I grew up listening, to kind of like, the southern rap sort of scenes. So like OutKast and stuff like that, yeah. So I’m usually listening to that cause it’s getting me pumped up. I can’t listen to anything real slow and easy.

[00:39:31] Rico: Do you have any app games or board games that you like best?

[00:39:35] Michael: I play jeopardy on my phone all the time. Yeah. And I play kids monopoly with my daughters, so yeah, those are the two things. I don’t play video games anymore. I used to love that. High school, college, but yeah, don’t have that anymore.

[00:39:47] Rico: Which ones did you play? What was your favorite?

[00:39:49] Michael: Mostly sports games. Like a NCAA 2001 or 1999 or whatever it was back then, yeah.

[00:39:56] Rico: Oh, that’s funny. I moved here in 95, but before that, when my wife and I got married, not a sports person. So we were playing Zelda, Mario Brothers, all sorts of games like that.

[00:40:07] Michael: I love Zelda and Mario Brothers too, yeah. I was a big Nintendo guy, not Sega.

[00:40:12] Rico: Yeah, okay. There you go. That’s between that and espressos, we’d be up eight hours playing. Before kids.

[00:40:20] Michael: Yeah, yeah. Now have you always lived in Peachtree Corners?

[00:40:23] Rico: I moved down from Brooklyn, New York. And we’ve always lived in Peachtree Corners. We moved straight here in 95 and haven’t moved anywhere else since then, so.

[00:40:32] Michael: That’s fantastic.

[00:40:34] Rico: Kids grew up here. Kids went through the public school system, through the IB system, they all cried as they were going through the IB system. But the two older ones, loved it after that, because college was easy. They were the only ones that knew how to write, it seemed, in their study groups. And so they would have to take over, but the IB program and this school system here was phenomenal for them.

[00:40:57] Michael: That’s awesome, yeah.

[00:40:58] Rico: Yeah. I wish we could’ve talked about education, but we are at 50 minutes and we’re at the end of our time together. So what I’d like to ask you to do, and what I ask most candidates to do, is give us that one minute, what you would do out at the door when you knock. Why should people be voting for you and where they can find out more information about you? So ask for the vote, if you will.

[00:41:18] Michael: Yeah, you know, in some of my email campaigns, I’m not shy about that. I’ve been in sales my entire life. And I’m going to ask for the business, right? So, I ask for your vote. The biggest thing for me is that I just have a lot of pride and passion in our city, our state, and even more so locally in this community. I’ve spent my entire life here pretty much, since 1992. I was 14 years old. And I don’t plan on going anywhere. I’m not cut from the cloth of the rich or elite. My purpose to get into politics is to just make change. And, as Rico was talking about, if I can’t get it all done in the term limit that I’m there, I will try my hardest. And that’s the biggest thing. I’ve got nothing to lose. I’m doing this because I really, truly care about our country. Truly care about this district and want to make change. I don’t want to just say things and have it be hollow, empty promises. And I think a lot of people are just starting to see that and you can kind see it on their faces. You go to the polls and you have two choices and both of those choices don’t look like you. They don’t talk like you, they don’t act like you. And they’re not going to support you. Well, I will. You can find more information on me at, www.Corbin four, that’s the number four, congress.com. That’s www.corbin4congress.com. So a lot of information on there as well as @Corbin4Congress on my Twitter handle as well.

[00:42:49] Rico: Great. So we’ve been talking to Michael Corbin, congressional candidate, US house, Georgia District Seven. Running as a Republican in the Republican primary. That’ll be coming up in May of 2022, next year. Sounds like it’s far away, but it’s not. It’ll be here soon. More issues will probably develop before then that we are not even thinking about yet. So you never know what God brings to you. Doors close, doors open. So be safe out there. I appreciate Michael, you hanging in there with me and being on this podcast. Thank you. Everyone else, visit LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com and find out a little bit more about what’s going on in your community. If you have any questions for Michael, post them in the comments below. Even though this is a live simulcast stream, we’ll be able to answer back some of these questions later. So thank you for being with us. And if you listening to this on an audio podcast, please rate us and share it with your friends. Let them know where you’re hearing news about Peachtree Corners and the things that go on in the city. Thank you all.

[00:43:50] Michael: Thank you Rico for having me. Appreciate it.

[00:43:52] Rico: Thank you.

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City Government

Why Vote in the Upcoming Gwinnett County Elections? [May 21]



On Tuesday, May 21, there will be county-wide elections to choose new judges, school board representatives and party primaries.

On Tuesday, May 21, there will be county-wide elections to choose new judges, school board representatives and party primaries.

For the first time since 1996, the school board District 3 seat (which includes most of Peachtree Corners) is open as Dr. Mary Kay Murphy is not seeking re-election after serving seven terms. Five candidates are running to succeed Dr. Murphy.

There are several open county judicial seats with multiple candidates running. There are also seats open for the Georgia Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Since no Republican candidates qualified for the Gwinnett District Attorney race, the winner of the Democratic Primary on May 21, will become the next District Attorney (DA). If the incumbent Patsy Austin-Gatson wins, she will continue as DA for the next four years.

If one of the other two Democratic candidates wins, they will be unopposed in November and will replace Ms. Austin-Gatson in January 2025. Any voter wishing to participate in the Gwinnett DA race would have to vote in the May 21 primary and request a Democratic ballot. If you’re ready for a new DA, waiting until November will be too late.

Where and when to vote

Voting precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21. Confirm your registration status and voting location at mvp.sos.ga.gov. You must go to your assigned home precinct to vote on Election Day.

Gwinnett offers in-person early voting every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Friday, May 17 at 11 locations around the county. The closest location to Peachtree Corners is at the Pinckneyville Community Recreation Center.

The full list of locations is here. Voters can go to any early voting location, regardless of their home precinct.

Absentee ballots can be requested here and must arrive at the Board of Elections office by 7 p.m. on May 21 to be counted. The ballots can be mailed or put in an official drop box.

Due to changes by the State Legislature, counties are now limited to one drop box per 100,000 registered voters. Consequently, Gwinnett has only six drop boxes for the 2024 elections (as opposed to 23 boxes in 2020). Also drop boxes are not available 24/7, but only during early voting hours. The closest drop box to Peachtree Corners is at the Pinckneyville Community Recreation Center. The full list of drop box locations is here.

Primary Voting is a bit different from voting in the general election in November. You must select one of three ballots:

  • Non-Partisan Ballot: only includes the property tax referenda,  judicial candidates and the District 3 school board candidates.
  • Democratic Party Ballot: includes Democratic candidates for federal, state, and county positions, and the property tax referenda, judicial and school board candidates.
  • Republican Party Ballot: includes Republican candidates for federal, state, and county positions, property tax referenda, and the judicial and school board candidates.

Georgia has open primaries and voters do not register by party. You can select either the Democratic or Republican ballot for this primary election, regardless of how you voted in 2022 or prior years. For some races, like Gwinnett District Attorney there are only candidates from one party, so the winner of the primary will be unopposed in November.

View a sample ballot at My Voter Page.

Here are some of the local contested races on which voters in Peachtree Corners can weigh in by voting in the primary. (Many races on both sides of the aisle have only one person running, and are not listed here).


Both of the referenda on the May 21 ballot relate to the Homestead Exemption, the reduction in assessed value on a property that serves as the primary residence for the taxpayer. For example, if the assessed value on a residential property in Gwinnett is $200,000 and you claim it as your primary residence, the assessed value is currently reduced by $4,000 to $196,000 for the purposes of calculating your property taxes. The lower assessed value is then multiplied by the millage rate to determine the amount of tax owed.

  • Referendum 1: Increase the existing Homestead Exemption from Gwinnett School Taxes from $4,000 to $8,000
    • If approved, residential property owners in Gwinnett would see a reduction in school taxes charged on their primary residence of $76.80 per year (based on the current school tax millage rate).
    • If rejected, the exemption would remain at $4,000.
  • Referendum 2: Create an additional Homestead Exemption from Gwinnett School Taxes of $2,000 just for Public Service Employees
    • If approved, “public service employees” (defined as firefighters, paramedics, police officers, teachers and staff of Gwinnett Public Schools, staff of Gwinnett hospitals, and members of the Armed Forces) who reside in Gwinnett would see a reduction in school taxes charged on their primary residence of $38.40 per year (based on the current school tax millage rate).
    • If rejected, public service employees would not receive an additional exemption but would continue to receive the same exemption as all other residential property owners.

Note: neither referenda, if passed, would affect county government property taxes or city property taxes. The new exemptions would only apply to school taxes and only to the regular school taxes, not any school taxes related to the repayment of bonds issued by the school system.

Judicial races

  • For Superior Court, Kimberly Gallant has received bi-partisan support to succeed retiring Judge Batchelor. Gallant has served on the Municipal Court, Juvenile Court, and State Court.
  • Also for Superior Court, Regina Mathews and Tuwanda Rush Willams have received strong recommendations and bi-partisan endorsements to succeed Judge Beyers.
  • Incumbent State Court Judge Shawn Bratton has also received similar bi-partisan support in his re-election campaign.

School board

For School Board District 3 (to succeed retiring Dr. Mary Kay Murphy), there are five candidates. This almost guarantees that no one will get a majority in the first round and the top two will advance to a run-off.

The first of the two leading candidates are Yanin Cortes, a graduate of Georgia State, a former teacher at Shiloh High School and a successful entrepreneur for the past 15 years.

The second, is Shana White, a graduate of Wake Forest, Winthrop University and Kennesaw State. White is a third-generation teacher (Summerour MS, Peachtree Ridge HS, Sweetwater MS, Creekland MS, and Pace Academy) and a computer science instruction consultant.

White has earned the endorsement of the Gwinnett County Association of Educators, while Cortes has been endorsed by Dr. Mary Kay Murphy and Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason.

Key Republican primary races

  • For District Attorney, there are no Republicans running. The winner of the Democratic primary will be the next DA.
  • For County Commission Chair, there are two Republicans running, John Sabic and Justice Nwaigwe. Sabic ran in 2022 for Commission District 2, losing to incumbent Ben Ku. Sabic has been very visible in the community and is now running for Commission Chair. Nwaigwe is a first time candidate, but is also running a strong race.
  • For State Senate District 7 (which covers central and eastern Peachtree Corners), four Republican candidates are running: Fred Clayton, Gregory Howard, Louis Ligon, and Clara Richardson-Olguin.

    With four candidates, this race will likely go to a run-off between the top two contenders. Richardson-Olguin is running as a small business champion and has received several endorsements from state and local Republicans while Howard has focused his campaign on public safety and education.

The other local Republican races like Congressional District 4, State House Districts 48 and 97, State Senate District 40, and County Commission District 1 only have one Republican candidate each. Those candidates will automatically advance to the November general election.

Key Democratic primary races

  • For District Attorney (which prosecutes felony crimes in Gwinnett), career prosecutor Andrea Alabi has received bipartisan support as she seeks to oust Patsy Austin-Gatson. Alabi worked under former DA Danny Porter, has tried over 1,000 cases, and has never lost a single murder case. Alabi has been endorsed by eight mayors in Gwinnett, including Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason. The third candidate is Daryl Manns, a former Assistant District Attorney who worked for Ms. Austin-Gatson until resigning in 2023. With no Republican candidates in this race, the primary winner will be the next District Attorney.
  • For County Commission Chair, incumbent Nicole Love Hendrickson faces former state representative Donna McLeod. Hendrickson, first elected in 2020, has been endorsed by 12 Gwinnett mayors including Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason, Norcross Mayor Craig Newton, and Buford Mayor Phillip Beard. Dozens of state legislators have also endorsed Hendrickson.
  • For State Senate District 40 (which covers the western edge of Peachtree Corners), incumbent Senator Sally Harrell is opposed by David Lubin. Harrell has served in the Senate since 2018 and has been a strong supporter of the cities in her district, including Peachtree Corners.

The other local Democratic races like Congressional District 4, State House Districts 48 and 97, State Senate District 7, and County Commission District 1, only have one Democratic candidate each. Those candidates will automatically advance to the November general election.

This information was sourced from Peachtree Corners Councilman Eric Christ’s monthly digital newsletter. Sign up for his email list here.

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Elections and Politics

What to know about voter registration and municipal elections in Peachtree Corners



On this episode of Peachtree Corners Life, Diane Fisher, a representative from the League of Women Voters Gwinnett chapter, delves into the world of voter registration and municipal elections in Georgia. With the implementation of automatic voter registration and the upcoming municipal elections in Peachtree Corners, Fisher sheds light on the importance of informed voting and active participation. From understanding address updates to exploring the power of thoughtful voting, listeners will gain valuable insights on enhancing voter engagement in their community. This podcast serves as a guide for residents to make their voices heard and shape the future of Peachtree Corners, Georgia.

Diane’s Email: Fisher@lwvga.org League of Women Voters
Website: https://www.lwv.org/local-leagues/lwv-gwinnett-county
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/lwvgwinnettcounty/

“Being a prepared voter means being an informed voter. It’s not just about the presidential election, but about all the congressional seats, the House and Senate seats, and county positions. So, there will be an awful lot on that ballot. Knowing when and who is on the ballot is crucial for an informed vote.”

Diane Fisher

Time Stamp

0:00:00 – Introduction
0:01:54 – Voter registration process and information for new residents in Georgia
0:05:13 – Voter maintenance and the importance of updating voter registration
0:08:34 – Absentee voting process and how to request an absentee ballot
0:10:52 – Municipal elections in Peachtree Corners, Georgia
0:17:18 – Being a prepared voter for the 2024 elections
0:20:37 – The need to know who’s on the ballot
0:21:31 – Sharing personal experience about involvement in politics
0:23:02 – Misleading information and the importance of understanding the ballot
0:23:45 – Lesser-known positions on the ballot and the impact of voters’ knowledge
0:25:42 – Thoughtful voting and participation in local elections
0:28:04 – Encouraging voters to engage with candidates and attend events
0:29:39 – The process for third-party and write-in candidates in Georgia for the 2024 elections
0:31:25 – Seeking additional information that Georgia voters should know
0:33:28 – Advising voters to verify their voting location due to possible changes
0:34:17 – Closing

Podcast Transcript

Rico Figliolini 0:00:00

Hi, everyone. This is Rico Figliolini, host of Peachtree Corners Life. Appreciate everyone joining us. We have a special guest today from the League of Women Voters, Diane Fisher. Hey, Diane, thanks for joining me.

Diane Fisher 0:00:11

Nice to be here.

Rico Figliolini 0:00:13

Yeah, this is going to be a good educational podcast. We’re going to be discussing how to be a prepared voter and everything that comes with that for 2024 and municipal elections. But before we get to that, I just want to thank our sponsors, Clearwave Fiber, our corporate sponsor. They’re an internet providing business here in Peachtree Corners, serving over a thousand businesses. Peachtree Corners Life, they’re actually based in the Southeast, and they provide better than what you would expect from a cable provider. Fast Internet connection, great support, especially to businesses and residents. So check them out. Clearwave Fiber also check out EV Remodeling, Inc. Eli, who is the owner of the company. Him and his family live here in Peachtree Corners. It’s a great business. They do design to build renovation work. Lots of good activity out there, lots of good references for them. So check them out, Evremodelinginc.com, and you’ll be able to find out a little bit more about our two supporters that way. So let’s get right into the show. Diane, I appreciate you joining us. League of Women Voters, it’s been around for quite a while. You are the Gwinnett chapter of the organization, correct?

Diane Fisher 0:01:28

We are the Gwinnett chapter. The national organization has been around since 1920, founded out of the movement for women’s suffrage. And we in Gwinnett in this iteration, have been around since 2019. Comes and goes. And so it is relatively new coming back. And so that’s where we are now.

Rico Figliolini 0:01:54

Excellent. So I saw you, I met you at the Peachtree Corners Festival, which is part of what you all do, outreach to the community. And you were out there, I think, at the time when I passed, you were registering a new voter that came on and she was asking questions so similar to what we’re going to do here. We want to know a little bit about how if you’re a new voter and you haven’t voted yet, or if you just moved to the state of Georgia and you have to register here to vote. Because obviously, from where someone comes from, you have to register in the state that you’re going to be voting in at the residence that you’re going to be voting in. So tell us a little bit about what would be needed for someone to register new here in the state of Georgia and Gwinnett County.

Diane Fisher 0:02:40

Sure. So in Georgia, we have automatic voter registration through the DDS, through driver services. And so when anyone gets a new license or changes an address on a license or does anything with DDS, they actually are automatically registered to vote. So we actually have very high voter registration in Georgia because of that. What doesn’t happen, though, is sometimes people you know move down the street, sometimes they move across town, sometimes they move within a county, sometimes they move out of the county. And you do, as you mentioned, need to be registered to vote at your current address. And so it’s important for everyone to make sure that they take care of making sure that that happens. Because sometimes people don’t always update a license in a timely fashion, but they actually move. And the reason why it’s linked to where you live is because who you vote for is determined by where you live, what precincts, and so it is important that you are registered your current address so you can always check. One of the best resources for checking the status of your registration is the Secretary of State has their website which is MVP, SOS ga gov and if you put in your name and birth date and county you can find out where you’re registered to, if you’re registered, where you’re registered, what precincts you vote for, where you vote. All of that information is available on that site. And so we encourage every voter before every election to check the status of their registration, to make sure that everything is above board, that it’s where you need it to be and that nothing happened. Because there is a list maintenance that happens as a regular part of the process and sometimes people are put moved to inactive status if they miss a notice or something like that. So we just always want to make sure that everybody checks their status, which makes sense.

Rico Figliolini 0:04:55

I just did that for two of my kids, I showed them how to do it because they hadn’t voted since they hadn’t voted. So I think one of them, in a decade maybe voted once and I said there’s maintenance, they could purge you from the list and they were still on the list, right?

Diane Fisher 0:05:13

So if you don’t vote in two federal election cycles, then you are moved to inactive status and that starts a process of eventually dropping you off the roll. So you’re not obligated to vote in elections. But obviously we encourage everyone to vote, but it is important to respond to those kinds of requests that you get because they probably did get some kind of notice in the mail indicating that, questioning if they are still at address, that they live, that they were registered, right, no doubt.

Rico Figliolini 0:05:48

And I think younger people have a bit more of a problem following that up because it’s not on their to do list, obviously. I think the demographics show that older people more regularly, younger people less regularly, unless it’s a presidential race and even still sometimes it just depends. And COVID hasn’t helped either, people moving back home with their parents, whether they moved in from out of state, maybe they still wanted to vote for if they were living in New York, maybe they still wanted to do an absentee ballot back up there, and that’s possible, but they wouldn’t be able to vote down, right, right.

Diane Fisher 0:06:26

You can only be registered to vote in one location. And quite honestly, one thing that people don’t know is that if you register so say you move I’ll use your example from New York and you move to Georgia and you register to vote in Georgia. There is not a process like an automatic unregistering. You from New York, you actually have to request that. My daughter, when she moved out of state, it took us a long time to get her off of the voter rolls, know, because you actually have to request that to happen. Most people do not think that that’s something that they have to do. And that’s why sometimes the roles are not updated or updated. You might show up on a place where you have no intention of voting and never voted because you’ve moved and you just didn’t think that you need to do anything about it.

Rico Figliolini 0:07:17

Sure, I think you’re right. Most of my friends would not even think about, oh, I need to know if someone know. Technically, you could end up doing a mail in ballot to New York, let’s say, and vote here, and no one would know the difference, apparently. Obviously we don’t want that happening.

Diane Fisher 0:07:39

There have been cases before the state election board that come, people being caught doing that, and it is not situation. So yes, that is illegal.

Rico Figliolini 0:07:50

It’s a federal offense.

Diane Fisher 0:07:51

It is a federal offense. That is certainly not something that we encourage. And most people who register, they move someplace, they register, they have no intention of voting elsewhere. But young people particularly, or people who are transient, it does mean that you have to pay a little bit more attention and make a plan to vote. I think it’s also important to think about not just being registered, it’s then knowing when elections are, knowing what your plan will be. Will you vote absentee, will you vote early advanced voting, will you vote on election day? What’s that plan? To make sure that you’re actually being able to vote.

Rico Figliolini 0:08:34

So in the state of Georgia, if I’m going on vacation or even an absentee, you don’t need an excuse for an absentee ballot. You can ask for that.

Diane Fisher 0:08:44


Rico Figliolini 0:08:45

So you could go online to one of the sites or which site to go to to get an absentee ballot.

Diane Fisher 0:08:51

Yes. So that depends on the election. And I will say, and I only raise that because we’re coming up on municipal elections here in Gwinnett County, actually statewide, but also specifically here in Peachtree Corners and in Gwinnett, the county does not run the municipal elections. Every city runs their own municipal election. So the answer for coming up for the November 7 election, which will be the municipal election here in Peachtree Corners, is that you need to request the absentee ballot from the county clerk in Peachtree Corners. And if you go to the website, you can get that information. There’s a form there that you can request the absentee ballot for the Peachtree Corners election. Typically for every other election, you would go to the county. Well, actually either the Secretary of state’s website or the county Board of elections office, and you can get the form there. One of the changes that happened in election forms is that you can’t register just on an online portal anymore. You have to print out the application because it has to have a wet signature. It has to actually have an actual signature on it. So you have to print off the form, fill it out, sign it, and then you can send it back digitally. But you can’t just I think there was a time when there was a portal where you could just go on and put in your information and request it. So now you have to print out the form and then return it to the county election office.

Rico Figliolini 0:10:29

But you can scan that form, return.

Diane Fisher 0:10:31

It digitally, scan it, or take a photo of it, and then email it back to the elections office and do it.

Rico Figliolini 0:10:40

So they’re just forcing you to print it out to do that website, which.

Diane Fisher 0:10:45

Means that you now have to have access to a printer, right?

Rico Figliolini 0:10:49

How many people do know?

Diane Fisher 0:10:52

And so that is the process now and where you go. And again, because Gwinnett is unusual, Gwinnett’s one of the few counties in Georgia that the municipalities run their own elections. Most other counties in the area, Fulton, Jacab, the counties run the municipal elections as well. And so what that means for us here in Gwinnett and in Peachtree Corners is that when you go to vote on election day for the municipal elections, you will not go to your regular location where you normally would are used to voting. So at Simpson elementary or at Peachtree Corners Baptist Church or any of the different locations where you always go to your regular precinct location, everybody in Peachtree Corners for the municipal election will vote at City Hall, down around in the room, around the bottom, the community trust room, around the left side of the building. That’s where elections are held for the county, for the city, I’m sorry, for the city.

Rico Figliolini 0:12:02

And there’s one open seat, one open contested seat, I should say.

Diane Fisher 0:12:09

Every other election cycle we would have. So in this case, on the ballot is the mayor, post one, post three, and post five. So the only contested seat is the post five. And post five is an at large seat. And so that means that everybody, Peachtree Corners will vote for that seat. Post one and three are geographically defined, so the first three posts are based on geography. So post one, I think, is the southern section. And then three is the sort of the northern part of Peachtree Corners. So Alex Wright, Is and Phil Sod are in those seats, and those are uncontested seats. And then, of course, the mayor’s race is also citywide, and that is uncontested as well.

Rico Figliolini 0:13:07

So people understand this, come November, you’re going to have to go to two different places to do this.

Diane Fisher 0:13:15

No, the only election in 2020, right. The only election in 2023 is the municipal election.

Rico Figliolini 0:13:23

That’s right.

Diane Fisher 0:13:23

There have been times when you’ve had to go to two places because there were simultaneous elections, but that is not the case now. So November 7 and actually early voting and early voting does start for the municipal election on Monday, October 16. So Monday through Friday from October 16 through November 3 and then October 21 and October 20 Eighth, which are Saturdays from nine to five, is early voting. So you can go for three weeks early voting, including two Saturdays. And then, of course, on Election Day is seven to 07:00 a.m. To 07:00 P.m., election Day, November 7, and that will be just at the City Hall. If you go to your regular polling location, there won’t be anything going on there other than school or church or whatever might be happening.

Rico Figliolini 0:14:19

So people should also be aware, I think, when they send in the absentee ballot, how long do they have? How does it get date stamped if it arrives three days later? I mean, how is that process explain?

Diane Fisher 0:14:32

So, legally, your absentee ballot needs to arrive, in this case, City Hall by 07:00 P.m. On Election day. If it gets there the next day, it’s not going to count. It has to arrive. So if you’re going to be voting with an absentee ballot, you need to make sure that you’ve planned ahead to request it. And I would say request it like today. When you hear this, make sure you request it, and then as soon as it comes, fill it out. And you can actually I mean, if you are local and you’re just going to be out of town, you can actually just bring it down to City Hall. Worry about the postal service. Obviously, if you’re a student who lives out of the area, needs to mail it again, do all of that life ASAP, because the time is a very limited window.

Rico Figliolini 0:15:31

Okay. And just because I’m thinking along this line, if someone was going to drop it off, like if I was going to drop off my son’s ballot, I could drop that off at City Hall. That’s okay.

Diane Fisher 0:15:42

Yes, you can drop off a ballot for immediate family, relatives, so your wife, your kids, a parent. You can’t, though, start collecting from people in your neighborhood and bringing those in, but for close family.

Rico Figliolini 0:16:00

Okay. All right, that sounds good. So the League of Women Voters is known for providing good nonpartisan information to get people to do to vote, to fulfill their civic responsibilities and all. And we talked a little bit about what it means to be a prepared voter before we started. So tell us a little bit, Diane, what does it mean to be a prepared voter going to 2024 into the presidential race, election year, where there’s going to be a lot on the ballot, I’m sure in a variety of states, but even here in Georgia, sure, because.

Diane Fisher 0:17:59

It’s not just about the presidential election. There will be all the congressional seats, there will be all of the House, the Georgia House seats and the Georgia Senate seats. There will be county positions, all of the county constitutional positions will be on the ballot. So there will be an awful lot on that ballot. And so being prepared voter means being an informed voter. So obviously, the first is to know when you need to be voting. And there are lots of elections in 2024, starting in March. The presidential preferential primary will be in March. Then we’ve got the regular primaries in May, and then we’ve got November elections and then any runoffs that may need to happen as well. So there will be a lot of elections. So it’s not just go in and vote once and be done with it. So that’s one thing knowing when all those different elections are. The second is knowing who’s on the ballot. And through that MVP site that I mentioned earlier, the MVP. SOS Ga gov, you can pull up it’s not available right now, but it will be available for 2024. All of who is on your ballot, you can pull up sample ballots. And so that will be really helpful to know ahead of time because I hear people all the time saying, like, I got into the polling booth and I had no idea that there were all of those things on the ballot. I wasn’t prepared. And so you can be prepared by pulling up the sample ballot and actually marking, doing your research. And there are lots of different ways to get information. There are candidate forums. Certainly the candidates themselves are out there putting information out. Will. The league is known for doing candidate information forums as well, and we likely will be doing particularly for our county races. The state may be doing some larger scale ones, but here in Gwinnett, the Gwinnett League focuses very much on what’s happening here in so, you know, doing your research in terms of getting information about not only what’s on the ballot, but then being able to check out the candidates so that you know who aligns with your values and with the things that are important to you. And so that becomes part of the conversation it’s important to have.

Rico Figliolini 0:20:37

Yeah. Coming from New York, I was involved quite a bit in political politics when I was younger, 1820. You see the things that go on, the amount of so doing it for such a long period of time to hear people say, I’m not prepared, or I don’t know who’s on the ballot. It gets really frustrating when there is a lot of information out there between news outlets. Granted, there’s a variety of news outlets, so some agendas on some of these outlets, but for the most part, you’ll be able to get the information out there. Candidates are especially local candidates are doing more door to door campaigning. You will get it inundated with mail, right? I mean, last year or the year before was just ridiculous. The amount of mail that was going out, literally three or four postcards a day coming in.

Diane Fisher 0:21:31

And you have to be careful about that mail because it’s not just the candidates who are sending out mail now. It’s all kinds of organizations, and some of the information is not always accurate or it’s political spin. And so I think if you’re looking to find out candidates positions on things, that’s where it’s important to look at various sorts. So the league does run nationally, a website called Vote Four One One, where we reach out to candidates to get their input so that you can hear from them what they believe about certain things. So we ask questions. There are other sort of neutral, if you will, sites. Alopecia has sort of a candidate profile site. So there are ways that you can get sort of just factual information candidates, as opposed to sort of the political spin that can sometimes make noise. And so we do encourage, but at the very least, pull up that ballot to say, this is what’s going to be on there. So you don’t get in and say, I didn’t know county, the clerk of the court, I don’t even know what that is. Those are the things that sort of sneak up on people.

Rico Figliolini 0:23:02

I mean, they’re lesser known positions. They get less exposure. People either tend to skip over them or they tend to, depending on the politics, tend to either vote for the incumbent because there’s an eye next to it, because that seems safer, or if they want to stir the pot, they’re voting for the other candidate to come in. It’s a variety of reasons, right, that people vote.

Diane Fisher 0:23:24


Rico Figliolini 0:23:24

And then there’s referendums on the ballot, and because they’re written in such legalese, sometimes you may be reading it in that moment at the ballot box and not realize really what it’s saying, because some of it’s written in such a way, you would think, oh, that’s easy, that’s what that means. And then you find out later, no, that’s not what that meant.

Diane Fisher 0:23:45

Right. If I vote yes, it’s actually voting against. That’s right, because of the way that it’s written. Right. And so I think that those referendum and those also those are available, you’ll be able to pull those up on your sample ballot at the MVP site so that you can actually see it and read it and do your research. I mean, I know that I sit down when my kids were first voting, we would sit down and literally go through the ballot and research candidates together. And the referendum questions, even life, talk about what they mean and what the pros and cons, and if we didn’t have an answer, we disagreed or whatever, we talk about it. Sometimes we disagreed and they would vote one way and I would vote a different way. But point being that having that conversation and being informed because that is how we citizens are being able to make sure that what we want is actually happening. I mean, you hear so often people saying like, it doesn’t really matter who I vote for if I vote, because it just doesn’t matter, my voice doesn’t matter. Well, it matters if you do it thoughtfully. And if everybody were to participate, then we’re all in a better place. Here in Peachtree Corners, just going back, we have 27,000 registered voters, and in the last six municipal elections, the most we’ve ever had is a 10% turnout. So like 2700 voters. So when people complaining about whatever they might be complaining about, about the city, you need to actually vote to have your perspective put forward.

Rico Figliolini 0:25:42

It’s the frustrating part. Yeah. When I read things on nextdoor and people say, these people, they have an agenda, this is what they want to do, and it’s like it doesn’t take much. You’re right. Sometimes there’s more than 2700 votes. Right. There’s more than that, depending on the year now, really.

Diane Fisher 0:26:05

More than 10% of the voting. I think that when we first became a city that was a higher turnout, but since then, yeah, it’s a very small and we know there are elections that have been won by 15 votes, there are elections that have been won by one vote. And so especially in these smaller elections, makes it more important to get out there and have your voice heard.

Rico Figliolini 0:26:39

Yeah, especially because, I mean, in small elections like this, it depends on how many friends you have. You’re right. There was one election, I think was the last election that we had, where it was a 14 vote difference or something along those lines. If you want to make change. You have to be involved. You have to knock doors. You can’t just send postcards. You have to meet your neighbors, your voters, and figure it out.

Diane Fisher 0:27:10

I will say, I think candidates these days are very open to certainly the local candidates, the county positions, the state House representatives, and so mean you can go onto their websites, know, ask for a meeting. They will meet with you. And I think that that is important. And it’s important to meet with not just the people who you think you might agree with, but also the other side to hear what they stand for and what they plan on doing. And I think that we are in a time when it is easy to access your candidates, particularly at the more local levels, and go to events that they’re having or send an email and say, I’d love to talk to you. Will you have coffee with me?

Rico Figliolini 0:28:04

Right. Yeah. Some of them will put out their cell phone numbers, and you can literally call them and talk to them because how many people in their district, how many people actually can actually call their representatives? And I think people should be aware that their representative is they’re there to be able to expedite things. The constituent service, if they have a problem with government that rep, that represents you, is there to help make things easier or to at least guide you into what you need to do. They’re there for a reason. They work for you. I know that’s, like everyone says, they work for me. But they do work for you, and you’re the one that votes them in, and you should be able to they’re there to represent you. So to fill a purpose that way.

Diane Fisher 0:28:52

Yeah. You have resources and access that we don’t have, and they’re happy to facilitate things for us. Yes.

Rico Figliolini 0:29:00

So let me ask you. I’m a bit of a political junkie, but you don’t know about Georgia politics as much as I probably should after being here since 95. But now that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. For example, decides he’s going to run as an independent candidate because the Democratic Party, according to him, has not given him the right for a debate or to run properly, they’ve changed the rules a bit, I guess. What happens with a third party candidate in 2024 when you live in the state of Georgia? Can you do a write in on a candidate like that?

Diane Fisher 0:29:39

So, two different things. There is a process for being put on the ballot as a third party candidate. And my presumption, I mean, we’ll often find a Green Party candidate on the ballot or things. So there is a process for that. Write ins are a whole nother story in Georgia. So I know a lot of people know, I’m going to write it in my husband, I’m going to write my neighbor, or I’m going to write in whatever you actually have to register to be a write in candidate. So only, the only write in votes that will count are people who have gone through the process of actually registering to be a writing candidate. If you don’t write in one of those people, it’s not going to count. So they don’t do a tally of all of those. Rico you couldn’t get 100 votes as a write in because unless you obviously go, yeah, so that notion of sort, I’m just going to write somebody in, in Georgia, it’s not possible. The different part, you do not have to be just a Republican or a Democrat to show up on ballot. There are processes for being a registered candidate from whatever party it happens to be.

Rico Figliolini 0:31:11

What should a Georgia voter know that we haven’t covered that may be trivial or not trivial, but detail that most people know that we should mean? Is there anything gone over?

Diane Fisher 0:31:25

So I will say that one of the things that I always say about voters is voters are creatures of habit. So if the last election I showed up and voted in this location, and I voted in that location for the past three elections or ten elections or 20 elections, don’t always presume that things stay the same. We know that we just had so, for example, we know that we just had redistricting with the census and numbers have shifted. And so there is a shifting of precincts and so on. And most of the time you’re going to stay in the same place, but always, again, check to make sure that you know where you’re voting. And just because you always voted at Simpson or New Age building or wherever it might be, don’t presume that that’s where you voted last time, that’s where you’re going to vote this time. Because sometimes because of the ways that the numbers have shifted, they shift. So again, I think it’s really important to always check, even if you think I’m pretty involved, and I check my voter page periodically and certainly before every election, just to make sure that, first of all, my precincts, not just the precinct is the same, but that I know who I’m voting for. Because we know that there were changes in congressional seats and House and Senate races and even County Commission seats. We have a new County Commission situation now from a couple of years ago. And so just knowing where the lines are, because the lines do sometimes change. So I think that that’s something that particularly coming right off of the redistricting situation that we had. If you haven’t voted recently since the last election, you may find that things have changed a little bit.

Rico Figliolini 0:33:28

Makes sense. I know that state House and Senate seats have changed. People have disappeared, or they’ve been drawn out of a district that they were in.

Diane Fisher 0:33:40

They may be running, and the lines have just changed. The numbers have changed. The lines have changed. Yeah, it’s.

Rico Figliolini 0:33:46

Amazing. So it really should go to that website that they have mentioned, MVP.

Diane Fisher 0:33:50

SOS ga gov, if you just remember MVP, if you start typing in MVP and in Georgia it’ll show up. And that really is if you remember one thing from this conversation, I would say remember that. And then the other piece is remember that for the upcoming election in Peachtree Corners, you’re going to be voting at City Hall right.

Rico Figliolini 0:34:17

For 2023. All right, cool. I think we covered quite a bit. We’ve given places that people can go. Is there anything else that you want to share, Diane?

Diane Fisher 0:34:31

I don’t think just I think if we want our government and our society to work for us and we need to be actively engaged with the process and the League of Women Voters is always happy to give information. I get calls all the time, emails from friends, neighbors, people across the county asking questions. So you can always call the county election office. But if you I’m a local Peachtree Corners gal, people are welcome to reach out to me. It’s Fisher@lwvga.org and I’m happy to answer any questions that you have.

Rico Figliolini 0:35:13

Cool. If anyone wants to volunteer for the League of Women Voters, they can reach out to you.

Diane Fisher 0:35:18

Absolutely. We are always looking for new members. As I said, we are relatively new in this iteration and we started right in 2019 and just as we got our feet wet and going COVID happened. And so we are eager to engage people who want to do voter education, voter registration work, helping people. We are nonpartisan. We do not support candidates or parties. So we really are just wanting to make sure that people have the information that they need to be able to exercise their rights.

Rico Figliolini 0:35:54

Excellent. Doing great work. I mean, that’s the biggest battle, getting people educated because walking into that booth, not knowing three quarters of that ballot would be the worst thing to be doing. So I appreciate, Diane, your time with us. We had a little power outage before so this recording took a little later than it was and there was not even a storm cloud in the sky and yet we had a power outage. So go figure. But appreciate you helping with educating our listeners on this. Thank you everyone for being with us. All these links will be in the show notes as well. But do remember MVP, I think if you put MVP elections, it’ll probably pop right up as the first thing on that page. But thanks again, Diane, and appreciate your time.

Diane Fisher 0:36:41

Thanks for having me.

Rico Figliolini 0:36:42


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City Government

Advocating in a Different Way



Lorri Christopher

Lorri Christopher will remain active in the community but wants to pave the way for the next generation of local leadership.

When it comes to Peachtree Corners City Post 5 Councilmember Lorri Christopher, her actions speak for her. Not one to raise a ruckus, her four decades as a resident of the area before it became a city had been chock full of leadership in business, education, and community service.

With all she has accomplished, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this 80-year-old woman with the stamina of the Energizer Bunny has decided she won’t be running for re-election when her term expires in 2024.

“I’m not going to stop advocating for the city,” she said. “I’ll still be Lorri Christopher. I just won’t be a city council member.”

Lorri Christopher in 2021 received the “Rotarian of The Year Award” and within days she was one of seven winners (out of 90 finalists) named in Gwinnett Chamber’s annual Moxie Awards. Lorri received the “Greater Good Award” from the chamber in August 2021. (Top photo by George Hunter.)

A life filled with achievements and successes

Christopher’s bio on the Peachtree Corners website points to a career brimming with numerous titles. Here are a few:

  • Principal in CAP Associates, a human resources consulting firm
  • Computer Information Systems (CIS) Faculty Program and IA Director at Gwinnett Technical College
  • Trustee of the Gwinnett Senior Leadership program
  • Former IT Project Manager for the 1996 Olympics
  • High school Math and Science teacher,
  • Management Information System (MIS) Director and CIS Program Chair at Trident College
  • COO of Atlanta Desktop
  • Co-president of United Mortgage Company
  • Marketing Director of Right Associates
  • Vice President at Midland Associates
  • Vice President of Finance and Management Information System (MIS) for Edwards, Inc.
  • Marketing and technical leadership positions at DCA and Burroughs/Unisys, and
  • Founding Director of Paces Bank & Trust.

Christopher has been well-recognized through the years. She is a recipient of the 21st Century Award from The International Alliance, Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) award, and the Triumph Inspiration 21st Century Woman Award. Christopher is also a member of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Academy of Women Achievers.

Her accomplishments include service to the community, business, and charity organizations. Christopher served on the leadership committee for the Center for the Study of the Presidency, chaired the Gwinnett County March of Dimes, and served on the Georgia Alliance for Children Board.

She is a member of several chambers of commerce, including the Gwinnett, Hispanic, Southwest Gwinnett, and Atlanta chambers, as well as the Gwinnett Village Alliance Board. Christopher is a past officer of Fox Hill homeowners’ association and a member-volunteer for United Peachtree Corners Civic Association (UPCCA), Peachtree Corners Business Association (PCBA), and the Peachtree Corners Festival.

Then there’s her education. Currently a Ph.D. candidate in Information Systems at Nova Southeastern University, Christopher holds an MBA in Business and Finance from Emory University, an MBA in Global Ecommerce from Georgia State University, and a BA in Mathematics and Chemistry from the State University of New York. She has additional graduate studies in CIS at Georgia Tech and Education at Hofstra University — and she holds a number of professional certifications.

“I worked in Peachtree Corners in the 70s and 80s in the Summit Building. Our technology firm, Burroughs/Unisys, was located there where we developed financial applications for the world …we had over 400 people in that facility,” she told Peachtree Corners Magazine in a 2019 podcast. “So, I’ve seen Tech Park when it was in its heyday. I’ve seen it since, and it is so exciting with what’s happening now.”

She added that seeing the vision that she and several others had for the area during the cityhood movement more than a decade ago now coming to fruition makes the hard work worth it.

A vision that’s blossoming

Besides the business growth and economic development, Christopher said she is proud that the city has remained one of the few that doesn’t collect property taxes from its homeowners. And instead of building a city hall right off the bat, Peachtree Corners officials chose to turn the Town Center property into a place for people to gather and be together. 

“We’ve worked really hard at keeping the millage zero and being fiscally responsible,” she said.

Christopher is a pioneer in her own right, blazing a path in Information Technology when women were often relegated to administrative support roles instead of heading departments.

After college, she’d gone back home to Charleston, S.C., and was offered a position as Chief Financial Officer and IT Director for a chain of stores where she’d worked as a cashier in her youth. Even back then, Christopher realized that she didn’t have to tell anyone what she could do — she just had to show them.

That’s what she hopes for the future of Peachtree Corners. She doesn’t want future leaders judged by anything more than their credentials.

It’s that kind of stewardship that Christopher said she’s looking for in her successor. She has someone in mind but insists that she’ll back anyone who has the knowledge, passion, and energy to continue the work that was begun more than a decade ago.

Christopher hopes someone will bring Peachtree Corners into its next phase with diversity and inclusion. “I’d like there to be more people who don’t look like me involved in city government,” she said. “I think it’s important that we do everything we can to make sure that we’re an inclusive city.”

Passing the baton

From the outside looking in, many people may not see the pockets of need in this seemingly affluent area.

Christopher would like the city to start receiving federal funds to pay for things like a homeless shelter. “We don’t have a plan for people that are indigent,” she said recalling a section of Spring Drive that had no streetlights for seven years. “It took too long to get lights there and that subdivision has over 200 homes,” she said.

Even though it’s impressive to gather a list of titles, Christopher stressed she does what she does because it’s the right thing to do — and she wants to see the city continue doing what’s right.

“I don’t want to be one of those people who die in office,” she said. “The City of Peachtree Corners is going to go on long, long after I’m gone. I see my decision as making room for another person.”

Photos by George Hunter

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