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Candidate Q&A – House District 89

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Candidate Q&A – House District 89

Signage in front of the Decatur Recreation Center directs voters 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 89 candidates Becky Evans (D, incumbent) and Rick Sheppard (R). Evans responded to our Q&A. Sheppard did not. Here are Evans’ responses. The answers have not been edited.

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Becky Evans

Candidate name and party affiliation:

Becky Evans, Democrat

Candidate website:


What is your occupation?

Community Volunteer

What neighborhood do you call home?

Druid Hills

Why are you running for this position?

Public service is in my blood. My father was a well known pastor and civil rights proponent, and in my last year at Emory I was lucky enough to intern at The Carter Center.

I also spent 18 years as a volunteer in our DeKalb County public schools, raising my kids, and there’s some super important principles I believe are worth fighting for:

Protecting our democracy and voting rights
Building healthier and safer neighborhoods
Building the strongest and best possible schools for our kids
Fighting for access to high quality, affordable healthcare
Ensuring women have autonomy over their bodies and reproductive decisions
Decreasing gun violence and easy access to guns
Fighting for economic equality for every DeKalb resident
Striving for more ethical and transparent government
Expanding and updating public transit
Treating people fairly, with dignity and respect, and meaningfully involving people in the development of laws
In the midst of challenging and changing times, I will always hold strong to these community principles. And these are the reasons I am running for State House.

What are your top three priorities if you are elected?

1. Safer Neighborhoods For Our Families

2. Better Schools For our Kids

And 3. More Affordable Housing

While we have many challenges ahead of us, Dekalb County remains the single best place to live, work and raise a family, and together we can keep building an even better Georgia!

If elected, how will you work with members of the opposite party to accomplish your goals?

I have tried to get to know my R colleagues as fellow human beings, being friendly and looking for common interests. I believe in listening and learning, asking questions, being respectful and building relationships. In 2019, I worked with a non-profit to bring a bi-partisan group to meet with detainees in the ICE facility in Ocilla. In 2021, I organized a bipartisan group of legislators and state building and finance leaders to tour the Kendeda Building at Georgia Tech. Doing these things together helps build relationships which has led to some of those colleagues being helpful to me with legislation.
In order for a bill to be passed, it must have R co-sponsors, and likely have an R as a primary sponsor. I also try to set realistic goals per session – to get one bill out of committee, to get one bill out of Rules, to get one bill to pass the House, and of course to get a bill to pass both chambers and signed by the governor! I also know that in order to get things done, I have to take initiative and be persistent and gently nudge R colleagues to follow through, as my goals are not necessarily their goals.

How will you work with the leadership of DeKalb County to accomplish their legislative goals?

I will continue to work with the leadership of DeKalb by getting to know them as fellow human beings, being friendly, and look for common interests. Listening and learning, asking questions, being respectful and building relationships. I will continue to be helpful to them, to elevate and highlight their work and events in my communications. When they come to me with their legislative goals, I will ask questions, and if my questions are satisfied, I will work with my DeKalb Delegation colleagues to reach a consensus to be supportive of their legislation. If a majority is not supportive, I work to resolve the contentious issues. If the county commission, and/or city leaders, and/or school board leaders are united behind legislation, and if they have offered a robust public input process, I will be highly likely to support their legislation. I highly value the work of the leadership of DeKalb County.

What is your reaction to the closure of Atlanta Medical Center and how would you work to improve healthcare access for all Georgians?

I think the closure of the Atlanta Medical Center is tragic. It leaves a huge gap in access to health care, especially in level one trauma care, in Atlanta. And it is an economic loss to this area in Atlanta, with all of the healthcare jobs being displaced. I thank God for Grady Hospital, and am fully supportive of whatever we need to do to provide the resources they need. I have also heard there are conversations about bringing another metro area hospital in as a level one Trauma center, such as Emory Decatur (the former N DeKalb hospital), a cause I fully support.
To improve healthcare access for all Georgians, I will continue to fight for – 1 – the expansion of Medicaid, as 500,000 low-income working Georgians do not have insurance and thus are not getting the healthcare they need, and our tax dollars are going to other states that have implemented Medicaid expansion. and 2 – for abortion rights and reproductive freedom for women, and to repeal the six week abortion ban we have here in Georgia.
I will continue to work for the state to incentivize people to become doctors and nurses, and to broaden the scope of practice for many medical licensed personnel, like nurse practitioners, to expand healthcare access.

If you are elected, would you support creating new cities in DeKalb County and Georgia?

It depends on the legislation, and the process behind the legislation. This past session I voted against several new cities Georgia – 3 in Cobb – as the process was rushed, asking for a May primary vote and several local legislators were opposed for different reasons, such as there was no historical sense of community in the proposed city, or the form of government proposed in the legislation was not democratically representative, or the tax loss would have been punitive for the county. These 3 cities were all defeated in their referendum.
However, I voted for the city of Mableton because all the local legislators were united in support, the process was on a reasonable timeline, asking for a November referendum, not a May referendum, Mableton is a historic community with an identity, we did not hear from any opposition groups, and it was not a punitive loss of taxes for Cobb County.
I would follow the same principles with a proposed new city in DeKalb. In addition, I would want to know the strength of citizen support. Cityhood movements can be divisive, time-consuming and take a lot of energy. I would want to work with my fellow legislators to come up with how we would measure a base of support before allowing a vote.

Should the General Assembly pass a law that guarantees a right to have an abortion in the state?


What should the state do with any revenue surplus it receives?

in 2022, Georgia is flush with cash. The state closed its budget year in June with a roughly $5 billion surplus, atop $2.3 billion in surplus from the year before, and a legally protected $4.3 billion rainy-day fund. I agree with Stacey Abrams that it is time to invest in Georgians. We can invest $1Billion to expand Medicaid and give raises to teachers, state police, and prison guards. We can provide capital access programs, which encourage banks to underwrite loans by subsidizing the risk. We can fund the Affordable Housing Trust fund at 10x the current level (increase from $3million to $32 million). We can provide tax incentives for safety and energy efficient based rental improvements. There is more that we can invest, obviously, but we will start with these!
If we give tax refunds back, I think they should be income capped. If you make over $400K, a $250 refund is not going to mean much to you.

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 promise to continue to conduct myself in an ethical and transparent manner. I worked diligently with my DeKalb delegation colleagues to re-constitute the DeKalb Ethics board to be strong and independent. I an the convener of the group, including the Tax Commissioner and Clerk of the Court, to appoint new members to the Ethics board, which we have done several times over the past year. I worked with our DeKalb Chair to offer 3 public input town halls into redistricting.
We offered all of our virtual DeKalb delegation meetings over Facebook live, to provide access to the public.
For transparency, I also strive to communicate regularly with my constituents. I send out 12 to 16 newsletters each year, more frequently during session, to keep them informed, and I am active on social media.

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