Candidate Q&A – House District 80Betty and Joel Nealy enter Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 2, Election Day. Photo by Dean Hesse.
Decaturish and Tucker Observer sent candidate Q&As to all candidates in our readership area running for state and federal office. The Q&As were sent to House District 80 candidates Long Tran (D) and Brian Anderson (R). Tran responded to our Q&A. Anderson did not. Here are Tran’s responses. The answers have not been edited.
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Candidate name and party affiliation:
Long Tran – Democrat
What is your occupation?
Owner of two cafés.
What neighborhood do you call home?
Why are you running for this position?
As a small business owner, father. I see the issues facing our state through my experiences. This compelled me to run for State Representative of House District 80. As a good citizen, I want to focus on 3 issues.
1. You can’t look at the chaos in DeKalb School District over the past decade and think to themselves that we are doing a good job educating our children. Reforms are desperately needed to the Quality Basic Education (QBE) 20-2-161 O.C.G.A funding formula written 40 years ago. I will work to with a bipartisan group that includes lawmakers and educators to modernize our funding system and eliminate self-dealing and fraud.
2. Georgia has a public safety crisis. 6 hospitals closed in the last four years. When the pandemic hit, we had needless delays in care, causing deaths. We are unprepared for the next crisis. I will offer legislation that to increase our first responders, and incentivize recruiting in these fields along with increasing the number of nurses and doctors.
3. I’ve created jobs and improved our community by starting a small business. I will work to remove regulations that slow economic growth. We can work directly with companies to help mentor and foster the growth of small businesses.
What are your top three priorities if you are elected?
1. Addressing our education system and the inequities that permeate through the state, and making schools safe for our students. This also includes making sure college is affordable and accessible.
2. We have a public health crisis with six6 hospitals closing in four4 years and the reduction of five5 level one1 trauma centers to four4. We’ve lost a total of 14 hospitals in the past 10-15 years. We have over 7000 families seeking help through disability waivers. Mental health challenges continue to grow and our law enforcement need’s experts to work with them to respond to mental health situations appropriately.
3. Labor and immigration go hand in hand. We have a labor shortage in Georgia. This is a result of the cuts in funding education funding that has (taken place)happened over the last four years. We must make technical colleges and trade school apprenticeships accessible. We must become an immigrant-friendly state so that we (strengthen our labor force and local economy) can get a labor force to move to Georgia.
If elected, how will you work with members of the opposite party to accomplish your goals?
First, let me address the elephant in the room. (Bad pun, sorry.) But, although I’m a proud Democrat, I am also a moderate, who sees the main work of lawmakers as finding common ground, without thinking of ourselves in terms of “opposite parties.” Are the offense and defense on a football team “opposite” players? We must all work together to facilitate improvements in our common issues, like creating a great educational system for our children, welcoming legal immigration, expanding the labor force, and creating opportunities for small businesses. I have been finding and growing consensuses in these areas for many years now, far longer than I have been a candidate. That work will only continue when I’m elected.
How will you work with the leadership of DeKalb County to accomplish their legislative goals?
I have already reached out and continue to develop friendships with elected leaders at all levels of the state. I believe by having an existing friendship, we will be able to address issues together as Democratic Party leaders.
What is your reaction to the closure of Atlanta Medical Center and how would you work to improve healthcare access for all Georgians?
The closing of Wellstar AMC is a definite blow to Metro Atlanta and even to us here in North Dekalb. I have been talking to non profits and chambers to see if there is a private-public partnership that could save AMC like Grady was saved years ago. It doesn’t look good for saving AMC. The circumstances are vastly different from Grady. I will be discussing with local leaders how this will add to an already stressed and at max capacity hospital system in my district. We can expect less hospital beds and longer ambulance response times as a result of this. As a state legislature we have the ability to pass policy that could have prevented this. We’ve seen short sighted leadership from the legislature for the past 4 years and this is the consequence.
If you are elected, would you support creating new cities in DeKalb County and Georgia?
Living in Dunwoody and having a business in Peachtree Corners, I supported and continue to support the creation of those and other new cities in DeKalb County, so long as the community in informed and fully understands the issues. There are deeper challenges, including the hidden costs of police services and the question of independent school districts outside of the DCSD. We must also, when examing new boundaries, remain inclusive of everyone in the community, rather than use cityhood as a means to exclude poorer neighborhoods from realizing the collective benefits.
Should the General Assembly pass a law that guarantees a right to have an abortion in the state?
Yes. Without question or hestitation. I fully support a woman’s right to make choices about her reproductive health and would support rescinding Georgia’s backward-looking Heartbeat Law, which is costing the lives of Georgia’s women. Further, with the prospects of seeing this law passed by the current General Assembly, I support, and will lead an effort to get an unambiguous ballot initiative before the people of the state that does what the conservative movement demands: to let the people of state, not the federal government, decide the issue once and for all.
What should the state do with any revenue surplus it receives?
I would take a portion and continue to invest in areas that will continue to generate revenue and give us a surplus next year. I would boost programs addressing mental health. I would fund scholarships to train more nurses and paramedics and apprenticeships for trade.
If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner? How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government?
Yes, I do promise to conduct myself in an ethical and transparent manner. I would promote ethics and transparency by through informing the public through newsletters, monthly town halls and open communication with voters in my district.
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