1.9 million Georgians are living in poverty. Daniel belief is simple, hard working families should not be living at or below the poverty line, especially when they are working a 40 hour work week. We must end the vicious cycle poverty by creating more bridges to opportunity. Our brothers and sisters in poverty need access, hope, education, and a hand up rather than a hand out. If we are not willing to be considerate and compassionate, then we are not willing to achieve progress. My approach to solving the issues poverty will be: ending the criminalization of poverty, advocating for access to affordable health care, promoting access to quality education where skills are developed and innovation is applied, and being a champion for affordable housing and childcare so that everyone willing to work can make the most of their lives.
In order to achieve these ambitious goals, the following priorities should be set:
- We must reward hard-workers and those seeking to re-enter the workforce by incentivizing active participation within the labor force. This includes raising the minimum wage, using our technical colleges to reduce the poverty rate through education, and making it easier for those returning from prison to reestablish themselves as hard-working citizens.
- We have to recognize that there is no “one size fits all” approach to eradicate poverty. I believe in an “all hands on deck” approach where local governments and communities work in tandem to restore the friends and families that make up the population. These types of partnerships will allow benefits and programs to be crafted towards the diverse economic and social challenges within those communities.
- Access to quality and affordable education will improve skills of our men and women in the workforce while opening the door for their children to have a more attainable pathway to success. When we restore dignity to our labor force, we have increased productivity. When we have greater productivity, we inherit economic stability and hope for future generations.
- While our compassion drives our support to people who are vulnerable or in need, we must focus on giving people a “hand up, not a handout”. This includes mitigation and preparedness. Once anyone makes it out of poverty, our goal should be for them to navigate through life as prepared as possible to continue on a pathway towards prosperity.
Atlanta Journal Constitution Q/A
The current minimum wage in Georgia is $7.25 an hour. A person working 40 hours makes $290 a week, approximately $1160 a month. Do you support raising the minimum wage, why or why not?
Far too many Georgians are working for inadequate wages and under harsh conditions. I get angry every time I see a hard-working family struggle or a child in poverty, and I will fight every day to ensure that no full-time worker lives in poverty.
I support a living wage, because it is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs. What every American needs in 2016 is their dignity in a time of poverty, I will be a champion for fair wages and economic security.
Foreign-born Georgians own 31% of the businesses in our state. Legal Permanent Residents and naturalized citizens contribute approximately 1.8 billion dollars in state and local taxes each year. How will you help ensure Georgia is a welcoming place for foreign born entrepreneurs and their families?
There is no doubt that Foreign-born Georgians are a critical part of Georgia’s course towards prosperity. In 2010 when the last census took place, new immigrant business owners generated $2.9 billion, 64,000 immigrants became new business owners, and 15.5% of Georgia business owners were immigrants. When we support Foreign-born Georgians, we support their culture, when we support their culture, foreign born entrepreneurs and their families feel welcomed.
I will promote immigrant entrepreneurs by highlighting their contributions to large innovative companies as well as small business formation in local communities throughout Georgia. We ought to support immigrant family-owned small businesses that contribute to the vitality of their local communities.
I will reward Immigrant entrepreneurs which bring in additional revenue, create jobs, and contribute significantly to the state’s economy, especially in our rural areas. Highly skilled immigrants are vital to the state’s innovation industries and to the metropolitan areas within the state, helping to boost local economies. Furthermore, local government, business, and non-profit leaders must recognize the importance of immigrants in their communities and support immigration through local “welcoming” and integration initiatives.
What experience do you bring to the job and what is your motivation to serve the people of Georgia?
Daniel has over 10 years of public and intergovernmental affairs and experience and has worked with elected officials, community leaders, and the business community to help shape foreign and domestic policies including (1) climate mitigation strategies which include reducing emissions through improved energy efficiency, (2) advocating for accurate food labeling of genetically modified foods, (3) supporting drug control policies that target high intensity drug trafficking areas, especially heroin trafficking and support prevention efforts, (4) working with members of the U.S. Congress to address renewable energy and public health issues in communities throughout America, and (5) being appointed by retired Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears to the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Children, Marriage and Family Law.
I am highly motivated to serve the people of Georgia because very few elected officials are willing to work across the aisle and put differences aside to find common ground. I want to be a thoughtful and considerate statesman that put Georgians first and politics second.
If elected, what would be your top three priorities and how would you work to achieve results?
- Education – We have already seen billions in funding cut from education, and in November, voters will have to consider a proposed amendment to the constitution that would establish an Opportunity School District of “chronically failing schools.” The Opportunity School District would be managed by a Governor-appointed Superintendent who would be given vast new powers over the use of local funding and local educational decision-making, yet be unaccountable to local taxpayers. Instead, I support focusing on better teaching, stronger lessons, stable school leadership and more funding for local schools.
- Energy – I will focus on instituting sustainability best practices that protect consumers, invests in renewable energy, and push for more transparency between government and the community so that every energy program or policy is screened and evaluated according to its economic and social impact.
- Income Inequality -According to a study, income inequality is wider in Atlanta than in San Francisco, Boston, or Miami. To put this in perspective, the top 5% of households earn nearly 20 times the income in our capital than the bottom 20%, . That spread makes Atlanta the city with the highest degree of income inequality; and the numbers get even worse when you factor in our rural communities. Here is what I would propose: (1) Raise the minimum wage, (2) Provide stronger incentives for inner-city job creation, and (3) Strengthen laws on nondiscriminatory hiring.
At least five rural hospitals have closed their doors since 2013 and Georgia has the worst maternal mortality rate in the nation, with 35 maternal deaths for every 10,000 live births. How would you address the lack of healthcare access in rural areas?
What it comes down to is this, if we are going to have an overall healthy Georgia, EVERYONE needs to have access. We are sending $9 million of Georgia taxpayer money to Washington every single day, and getting nothing back. We need to find common-ground solutions that keep that money here to improve our economy, create jobs and improve health care for people across Georgia.
The challenges of access to healthcare will be solved when we consider high poverty rates and medical access problems seriously. Unfortunately, state legislators have failed to work together in an effective way. We have to carefully consider health behavior, clinical care, physical environment, and social and economic factors, including the percentage of children in poverty, unemployment and education rates.
I would support every effort to put money into rural health care, including increased funding for federally qualified health centers.