159 Georgia Together
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Senate Races

Senate District 46

A look at the candidates running for Senate District 46. All statements, answers, and information found within the 159 Georgia Together voter guide were collected via an electronic survey. Due to the sheer volume of information collected and the number of candidates that submitted survey data, all of the information presented in the guide is verbatim per the input from the survey participants (including any spelling or grammatical errors).

Bill Cowsert (R, Incumbent)

Top 3 Priorities If Elected

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Do you support legislation that would prevent business owners and employers from denying services to LGBTQ people and others based on their religious beliefs?

Explain your position.

Do you support ending cash bail for low-level offenses?

 

Explain your position.

Do you support the creation of a non-partisan independent redistricting commission?

Explain your position.

Would you support an English-only Constitutional Amendment if it were on the ballot?

Explain your position.

Do you support the right of workers to form a union and bargain collectively?

Explain your position.

Did you/do you support guns on campus?

Explain your position.

Do you support electricity rate increases to complete two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle?

Explain your position.

Do you support changing Georgia's voting system to a voter-marked (pen or pencil) paper ballot with optical scanners?

Explain your position.

Do you support the expansion of early voting?

Explain your position.

Do you support public vouchers being used for private and/or charter schools?

Explain your position.

Do you support Medicaid expansion or another Georgia-specific plan to extend health insurance to low-income Georgians?

Explain your position.

Will you support policies and legislation that increase access to reproductive health care, including abortion, and oppose policies and legislation that limit or reduce access to reproductive health care, including abortion?

Explain your position.

Would you support efforts to strengthen Social Security for current and future retirees and put the program on a more stable fiscal path?

Explain your position.

Do you support a livable wage of a minimum of $15 per hour?

Marisue Hilliard (D)

Top 3 Priorities If Elected

  • Repeal HB 280 (Guns on Campus) and strengthen gun laws. This is a dangerous and very unpopular law that was only passed and signed by the Governor due to undue influence of the NRA.
  • Expand Medicaid so an additional 600,000 Georgians can be covered. Georgia is only one of 13 states that have not elected to expand Medicaid under the ACA.
  • Ensure our voting machines are updated to prevent vote tampering using cost-effective means that include a paper copy that can be independently audited.

Do you support legislation that would prevent business owners and employers from denying services to LGBTQ people and others based on their religious beliefs?

Yes. Denying service based on someone's sexual orientation is a violation of a person's civil rights. Courts have ruled that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which bans gender discrimination also bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Do you support ending cash bail for low-level offenses?

Yes. My platform statement for criminal justice reform addresses this issue- "Poverty and inability to pay bail should not be criminalized so I support giving judges the authority to waive cash bail for non-violent crimes."

Do you support the creation of a non-partisan independent redistricting commission?

Yes. My platform statement on voting rights states the following in part: "Gerrymandering has created a system of political redistricting that takes away the right of voters to choose their legislators. Instead legislators choose their voters. I support the creation of an independent redistricting commission to take the politics out of redistricting." It should definitely be nonpartisan- gerrymandering is wrong and undemocratic regardless of who's drawing the lines.

Would you support an English-only Constitutional Amendment if it were on the ballot?

No. This is absurd. We are a nation of immigrants and should be celebrating language diversity, not outlawing it.

Do you support the right of workers to form a union and bargain collectively?

Yes. The loss of our blue-collar middle class can be directly linked to the decades-long war on unions by corporate America. They need unions to work on their behalf to protect wages and benefits.

Did you/do you support guns on campus?

No. As noted above, repealing guns on campus will be one of my top priorities when I'm elected. In 2017, I co-founded the Athens chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. We worked actively to convince the Governor to veto this very unpopular bill.

Do you support electricity rate increases to complete two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle?

Yes. I would give a qualified yes. I fully support the expansion of nuclear power since it is much better for the environment compared to coal and oil. However, I would need to study the impact of rate increases before I would fully support this.

Do you support changing Georgia's voting system to a voter-marked (pen or pencil) paper ballot with optical scanners?

Yes. Paper ballots provide the needed check for electronic voting machines. The paper ballots can be audited randomly to ensure the machines have not been tampered with. The Russian hacking of the 2016 elections should be a wake-up call that our electronic systems are vulnerable.

Do you support the expansion of early voting?

Yes. I do support the expansion of early voting. However, very small municipalities should be offered additional state resources so they can afford to pay for the additional costs they will incur.

Do you support public vouchers being used for private and/or charter schools?

No. Tax payers' money should be used to support our public schools.

Do you support Medicaid expansion or another Georgia-specific plan to extend health insurance to low-income Georgians?

Yes. As I state above, this will be one of my top three priorities when I'm elected. Not only has this partisan decision by our legislature left 600,000 low-income Georgians without insurance. It has contributed to the closure of hospitals in many of our rural counties.

Will you support policies and legislation that increase access to reproductive health care, including abortion, and oppose policies and legislation that limit or reduce access to reproductive health care, including abortion?

Yes. I support reproductive freedom and I am willing to pledge support for laws and public policies which protect reproductive freedom and opposition to laws and public policies which curtail or restrict reproductive freedom.

Three recent Georgia laws restrict women’s reproductive rights. I would have opposed all of these laws. Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in 1973 and these laws represent unnecessary restrictions of the right of a woman to obtain an abortion. The decision when to terminate a pregnancy should be decided by the woman in consultation with her doctor. Restricting insurance coverage for abortions is clearly impeding a woman’s right to a legal procedure. Using public funds to only support pregnancy support centers that do not provide counseling for the legitimate provision of abortions discriminates against centers such as Planned Parenthood that provide very valuable health information to women.

Would you support efforts to strengthen Social Security for current and future retirees and put the program on a more stable fiscal path?

Yes. People have paid into the system their entire lives and for a growing number of citizens this is their primary or only source of income after they retire. So many private companies have done away with pensions that ensuring the fiscal integrity of the Social Security system is essential.

Do you support a livable wage of a minimum of $15 per hour?

Yes. As I state in my platform, "I support a phased-increase to a $15 per hour minimum wage which is favored by a majority of Georgians... Minimum wage in Georgia needs to be indexed to inflation and the cost of living, and increases should be implemented at a pace that will allow businesses to adjust."