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MEET THE CANDIDATES

Election 2022: State House District 48

Election 2022: State House District 48

1. How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?

Scott Hilton: As a commercial banker with a graduate degree in finance and a passion for public service, I would be honored to serve as your next state representative. My personal and professional background will help Georgia families navigate these uncertain economic times. As a former state representative, member of Gov. Brian Kemp's staff and a board member of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, I am intimately familiar with the legislative process and have a proven track record of getting things done for our community. My leadership skills have been cultivated through leading numerous organizations, including the Fowler Family YMCA board, Amberfield homeowners association and the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association. I am a graduate of Leadership Georgia, Georgetown University and Emory University.

Mary Robichaux: Over 40 years of experience in healthcare management equips me to ensure everyone in our community has access to the resources they need to flourish. Working across six southern states with healthcare providers, insurance providers, governments and communities, I have had a part in creating viable and sustainable systems of care. My role included managing multimillion dollar budgets and working with various parties to come to solutions. Healthcare, education, and a safe community will give everyone the opportunity to live the best life possible.

2. What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?

Scott Hilton: Government should play a limited role in the lives of its citizens. In doing so, government can focus on serving those who are most in need of support. As the parent of a child with special needs, I recognize the importance of government programs such as Medicaid and early intervention. These programs will enable our child to be a vibrant, tax-paying citizen as an adult. Unfortunately, during the coronavirus pandemic, we witnessed the extensive overreach of government. This overreach resulted in lost jobs, closed businesses and children set behind in school. As a state representative, I will limit government power and empower our families, while offering essential programs and investments that are crucial to the lives Georgians.

Mary Robichaux: The government should protect and provide. This means ensuring our community has the resources they deserve and protecting our community from violence. However, this does not mean the state government needs to be needlessly involved in local decisions. Local governments and state governments need to work together and separately for the benefit of Georgians.

3. If you are elected (or reelected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?

Scott Hilton: The number one issue impacting Georgians is an economy suffering from inflation and now on the brink of recession. I will focus my time on returning tax-dollars back to my constituents so they have more money in their pockets to fight rising costs, lower wages and lost savings.

Mary Robichaux: My top priority should I be re-elected is ensuring quality and affordable healthcare for ALL of our citizens. Everyone deserves to live a healthy life without significant financial debt. Healthcare should be considered as part of the infrastructure of a thriving economy and community.

4. Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?

Scott Hilton: Courage and intellectual curiosity are paramount to representing Georgians of differing political viewpoints. I will have the courage to meet with those who hold beliefs that are opposite of mine. I will have the intellectual curiosity to seek to understand their position and openness to find a common ground. My constituents will always have access to my personal cellphone, email and ability to join town halls in our district.

Mary Robichaux: Since the beginning of my political career, I have based my work on the ability to have "adult conversations" with everyone to foster open communication and problem solving and I will continue to live by this principle. Bipartisan work involves multiple aspects: - working across political parties to improve proposed legislation and increase chances of passage - leading in one’s political party to convert needed votes to pass bills - voting for legislation that one believes will be good for all Georgians regardless of political party stance. In addition to actual votes on legislation, a significant portion of ‘bipartisan’ efforts occur in committee settings. It is in these committees where I have worked with both Republican and Democratic legislators to craft and improve legislation that will work for the benefit of Georgians and constituents in District 48. Examples of this in the most recent session was in the crafting of proposed legislation for online gaming, nursing home staffing requirements, and expansion of broadband access for economic development.

5. Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?

Scott Hilton: As a former member of the Gov. Brian Kemp's staff, I witnessed firsthand as the governor successfully navigated our state through the coronavirus pandemic. I learned the importance of listening to Georgians and leading with courage. The governor would always do what he thought was best and right for Georgia, even while pundits and some in his own party disagreed. The governor is humble and one of the hardest-working individuals I've ever met. All of these attributes have influenced my own leadership style and are characteristics I take to my role in public service.

Mary Robichaux: While there have been many people who have had an influence on me including Rep. Calvin Smyre (Dean of the House), I believe that the person (or persons) who have been most influential have been the many constituents that I have had the honor of serving and speaking with through by years of service. I have learned that everyone has great ideas and that working together and listening can result in some amazing and creative solutions to common problems.

6. Georgia has a lot to offer current and potential residents, but many parts of the state are becoming increasingly unaffordable. Please explain your proposed approach to address housing affordability through legislation and executive actions?

Scott Hilton: With thoughtless spending from Washington, D.C., and now rising interest rates, the dream of home ownership is becoming out of reach for so many Georgians. One of the best tools for growing our middle class is equity built through home ownership. A high-paying job is one of the best ways to afford a home. As a state representative, I will focus on economic development and bringing high-paying jobs to our state. I will also focus on workforce development and equipping individuals with the skills they need to navigate changing employer needs.

Mary Robichaux: As is done in the private sector in regards to think tank incubators, I would like to see the state fund "innovation incubators" across the state to devise viable and sustainable solutions to address housing availability and affordability so that local communities can develop and implement solutions that fit each area's unique characteristics. Affordable workforce housing would be one of the driving principles.

7. Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?

Scott Hilton: A veteran state senator once told me that our work at the state Capitol was about relentless incrementalism. This approach — a constant striving toward improvement in Georgia — can be a good one. In the private sector, compromise is used frequently to build consensus and complete a shared task. With that said, I will never compromise on my core values of faith, family and limited government. Oftentimes, these can be tested as a legislator. The sign of a good representative is someone who stands firm in their beliefs. I believe constituents ultimately respect and trust someone they know will consistently stand up for them.

Mary Robichaux: Throughout my career in healthcare, I lead teams in the art of compromise to reach solutions to complex problems in delivering high quality, affordable care. The political world also requires this same type of team effort to accomplish positive goals. One of the ways I believe that I have been able to be successful in this career is to focus on the results not on who gets credit. As with everyone, there are certain principles that I will hold true to and can be summed up this way -- equal opportunity for every Georgian in all area of life including economic success, excellent education access, quality healthcare availability, and ability to live in a safe community.

8. There were politicians who questioned the outcomes of Georgia elections in 2018 and 2020. Do you think Georgia's elections are secure and will you stand by the results?

Scott Hilton: Yes, Georgia's elections are secure, and I will stand by the final results.

Mary Robichaux: Yes, I believe that Georgia elections are secure and I will stand by the results.

9. In light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on abortion, state law and local enforcement authority will determine access to abortion.

Scott Hilton: As a state representative, I will support life from conception until natural death. We must step up to support working families, foster children and access to adoption. We need to ensure that women have access to the medical care they need, including access to contraceptives and OB-GYNs in every county. We need to make it easier for children to find loving homes. The subject of abortion can be incredibly divisive. We need leaders who will take the time to listen and bring people together on this sensitive subject. You can trust that I will take the time to listen every single constituent on this issue and foster healthy dialogue.

Mary Robichaux: Abortion access is healthcare and I will use my authority to ensure that choice is between a woman and her doctor, not the government. I trust women to make these important decisions.

10. Are there any programs/legislation you’ve sponsored or created to help people with disabilities?

Scott Hilton: As the father of a child with a disability, I am incredibly passionate about serving individuals with disabilities in our state. As a former state representative, my very first bill removed derogatory language defining people with disabilities from Georgia's statute. When reelected, I will champion programs to give parents more choice in their child's education and fight to expand Medicaid access for the thousands of qualified families on our waiting list.

Mary Robichaux: Legislation that I have had a hand in drafting increased the availability of care providers at all levels which allows better access to care.

11. Georgia closed out its budget year with a "likely record surplus, billions of dollars in federal aid and a growing economy." Georgia spends more than half of this money on education and health care. What would you want to see in the budget in terms of spending or taxes?

Scott Hilton: Thanks to conservative leadership, Georgia is in the enviable position of having surplus tax dollars to both serve our communities and return excess to our constituents. States shut down their economies while growing government, including California, Illinois and New York, are now suffering the painful consequences. Residents are flocking from those states to Georgia due to fiscal conservatism. One of the clearest distinctions between the two parties in our state is how each would spend your money. As a conservative, I believe government shouldn't be in the business of making a profit and any excess should be returned to the taxpayer. At the same time, we should prudently invest in infrastructure, education, health care and public safety.

Mary Robichaux: 1. Improving infrastructure (such as transportation, broadband access, healthcare, logistics, education, mental health services) 2. Tax cuts to medium/low income Georgians as funds allow and for senior citizens 3. Funding for workforce affordable housing across the state

12. The Legislature often votes along party lines. When would you seek bipartisan action and what issues merit such consensus?

Scott Hilton: For my very first bill, I walked across the aisle and asked my Democratic colleague if he had a good idea. He had an excellent idea to solve a problem that was plaguing our state. We subsequently worked together to author and pass a bill that benefited all Georgians. Many politicians, including my opponent, talk about being bipartisan but few have the record to back it up. I believe we're at our best when we work together. That's the approach I will take to my work at the Georgia Capitol.

Mary Robichaux: Expanding economic opportunities for ALL Georgians would be a major area for bipartisan action. This includes improving infrastructure (such as transportation, broadband access, healthcare, logistics, education) to allow Georgia to continue to compete at both a national and international level.