Two candidates are running for the late John Lewis’s 5th Congressional District seat: Republican Angela Stanton-King and Democrat Nikema Williams. We sent the same 13 questions to both candidates. Stanton-King’s responses are below. As of publication time, Williams has not yet provided responses to our questions.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
If you’re elected, what does your first day in office look like?
If I’m elected, I want to meet with community leaders the first day in office and start the process of us working together to bring progressive change to Georgia’s 5th District.
How would you rate the local and national response to the COVID-19 crisis? What should public officials have done differently, what have they done well, and what responses do you want to see in the future?
My focus is on moving forward. We need to listen to our experts and make data-driven decisions. I believe we are moving in a positive direction, but I’d like to see us work even harder to practice safety and get our children back in schools and our small businesses back up and running.
What has the pandemic taught you about yourself?
This pandemic has taught me that life is fragile and very short. We need to find a way to focus on love and not hate. We’re all in this together.
Before a vaccine becomes widely available, should Americans be afforded another stimulus check? If so, for how much and who should be eligible to receive it?
I believe an additional stimulus check is needed by many struggling Americans. The amount should be determined by the current budget. The checks should be for those struggling with their expenses and basic needs, etc.
Hundreds of thousands of Georgians could face eviction due to the economic hardships spurred by the pandemic, and many of those residents are relying on government-imposed eviction moratoriums to keep them at home for now. But once those protections expire, people will still owe rent. What recourse do they have? And what protections should landlords have for cases of delinquent renters? Should landlord and tenant laws be changed to adapt to the COVID-19 era?
Yes, landlord and tenant laws need to be changed. I would like to see block grants available to states for landlords and tenants to help people get back on their feet. We should do everything in our power to help our fellow citizens rebound from this pandemic that ultimately has affected all of us in some way.
Do you think America and Georgia still struggle with systemic racism? What safeguards, if any, should be enacted to ensure people of color are not disproportionately afflicted by law enforcement, the criminal justice system, income inequality, and other factors?
I do believe systemic racism is real. It’s one of the main reasons I’m running for Congress. I want to help change the laws to protect all people—not just Republicans, not just Democrats, not just Black people, all people.
As public protests have broken out in Georgia and around the nation—especially over conflicts between police and people of color—do you believe the federal government should play a role in quelling local tensions? If so, when do you believe it is appropriate to dispatch federal law enforcement or military personnel, and why?
Yes, if the local government is not doing what’s necessary to protect the people and businesses. What happened with Secoriea Turner could’ve been avoided if local leadership had acted. People should all come first.
What are the most pressing issues facing the state/nation on the healthcare front? Should Medicaid be expanded? What are your thoughts on the push for Medicare for All? What steps should be taken to help Georgia’s maternal mortality crisis?
We have a lot of issues with healthcare that we still need to work on. Everyone doesn’t need Medicare. The people who can afford to pay for their healthcare should pay. We need Medicare for those who have a true financial need. We need to have coverage that doesn’t penalize those with pre-existing conditions. That healthcare is needed now more than ever with us facing the impact of COVID. In response to Georgia’s maternal mortality crisis, we need to spread more awareness; education is a preventative measure that we should always use to our benefit.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed many weaknesses in Georgia’s healthcare system, particularly in rural Georgia. What can be done to fix the problems?
Again, we need to make sure that we are protecting the vulnerable and those in-need. My priorities are always the children and the elderly when it comes to our healthcare system, as both groups are unable to help themselves.
What role should Congress play in protecting our environment? What measures (regulations, funding, initiatives) should be imposed to help curb the dangerous effects of climate change?
I believe we can be environmentally responsible while not hampering our economic growth. That being said, [the country is] are energy independent for the first time in my lifetime, and we cannot let overregulation take us back to the days of depending on countries that hate us for our fuel.
The City of Atlanta has for years shouldered the dubious title of income inequality capital of the nation. What can be done to bridge the gap between the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor across the entire metro region?
To me, it’s obvious we need a shift in leadership. We need to dismantle the buddy system. We need to pay attention to the ones that have been forgotten. This can’t be Atlanta’s legacy. We know this is a great city with a rich history. The civil rights movement for the betterment of all people was birthed here; we are better than this. Economic empowerment is crucial to the progression of our city.
What role should Congress play in solving the affordable housing crisis the 5th District faces, especially considering the already mounting crisis is exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic?
It’s unfortunate that this couldn’t be handled on the local level. It’s necessary to make sure the constituents of 5th District have fair and equal housing by any means necessary.
The late Rep. John Lewis had long been fighting to reinforce voting rights by way of an updated Voting Rights Act. Where do you stand on this proposal, and what can be done to ensure that all eligible voters are afforded the chance to cast a ballot and have it counted?
I am in support of the Voting Rights Act. We have work to do, especially when it comes to voter suppression. I’m against people having to wait five hours to cast a vote. But we must make sure we are protecting our votes, showing up with our IDs so that our votes are protected. I don’t believe mail-in ballots are as secure, but we need a more efficient [system].