Elections 2020: Meet Georgia Rep. District 52 Candidates

Kathleen Sturgeon
·9 min read

SANDY SPRINGS, GA — In addition to voting for president and vice president of the United States in the Nov. 3 general election, voters in North Fulton, will choose other candidates to represent them, including the seat for Georgia Representative District 52.

Incumbent Deborah Silcox will be running against Shea Roberts to represent District 52, which encompasses Sandy Springs.

As part of its coverage of the 2020 election, Patch has invited the candidates in contested races to participate in our election profile series. We will continue to update the profiles with links to responses to our questionnaire.

Candidate

Shea Roberts

Age (as of Election Day)

50

Party Affiliation

Democrat

Family

Husband, Brian Daughdrill; Son, Spenser; Daughter, Kat; Daughter, Brigid

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?

My son is a first lieutenant in the Air Force.

Education

California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo: BS Journalism
Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law: Juris Doctorate

Occupation

Attorney 24 years; Small business owner of my law firm 18 years

Campaign website

sheaforgeorgia.com

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office

None

The single most pressing issue facing our (board, district, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.

Recovery from COVID-19 is the most pressing issue facing House District 52 and all of Georgia. First and foremost, recovery from this pandemic requires healthy Georgians. I will fight to fully expand Medicaid because it makes fiscal sense, and I’ll look for additional affordable, quality solutions for all our families. As a small business owner, I also know we must protect our jobs, support small businesses, and make sure that a strong economic recovery includes everyone. Strong economies also require strong public schools. While our current leadership always cuts the education budget first, I will prioritize investing in our schools so that kids and educators alike can return safely, and parents can get back to work.

Do you support Black Lives Matter and what are your thoughts on the demonstrations held since the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake?

Georgians are harnessing the power of protesting and social media to demand justice -- especially for our communities of color. While our legislators passed a Hate Crimes bill this year, there is still much work to be done. I will fight to support the Justice for All policy platform, which includes such reforms as repeal of the “stand your ground” law that promotes vigilantism and the creation of a database that tracks use of lethal force by law enforcement.

What are your thoughts on the campaign to "defund" the police?

I support investing in both de-escalation training and community policing models for our law enforcement. Community safety is a must, and that includes safeguarding the lives of people of color.

What are your thoughts on the state and national response to the coronavirus pandemic? Do you favor such measures as limiting operation of non-essential businesses or restricting indoor/outdoor dining? And do you favor a nationwide mask mandate?

I believe our current Republican leadership both nationally and in this state has failed the public. They have ignored scientists and experts and not even followed the recommendations of their own public health officials. In Georgia, we shut down too late, opened too early, and should have had safety protocols such as mandatory masks, testing, and contract tracing in place. If we had done that, less families would be without loved ones, our kids would be safely returning to school, and their parents would be back to work. I am in favor of following science and the recommendations of our public health experts.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

The critical differences between me and my opponent are that I share uncompromisable values with our community, as opposed to party loyalty, and I am willing to fight for them. I won't be silent when our leaders are politicizing masks and ignoring science and medical experts at the expense of thousands of Georgians' lives and small businesses. I won't be silent when I see our leaders trying to destroy the rule of law in this country and in this state. I will fight to protect the foundation of our democracy - the right to vote safely and securely and the right to fairly-drawn maps. And I will work to ensure that all Georgians are treated equally under the law regardless of race, gender, gender identity, religion, where they came from or who they love. Finally, I will prioritize the safety and health of our children and families over corporate interests.

If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)

My opponent’s vote record demonstrates that she votes with Governor Kemp and her party more often than not, and those votes are not reflective of our community’s shared values or priorities. She is a member of the Deputy Whip Team responsible for ensuring Republicans honor their oath to the Party and vote in unison. Specifically, my opponent opposes full expansion of Medicaid despite all evidence that it is fiscally responsible and would save thousands of lives. She has said she supports waivers that studies show will cost Georgia taxpayers more than Medicaid expansion while covering fewer Georgians. When it comes to how Georgia's tax revenue is spent, she voted to give tax breaks to wealthy yacht owners and voted along partisan lines to gut the 2020 K-12 public education budget by $950 million and the public university system by $250 million. Except for 2019, Republicans have not fully funded public education for at least a decade, and when faced with potential economic trouble from Covid-19, our children’s education is the first place they cut. In 2019, she voted to make it harder for rape victims on college campuses to come forward even after many victims pleaded that she vote no. She has been silent at a pivotal time in our history where the foundations of our democracy are on the line. Our community deserves someone who will fight against regressive legislation and who will work to ensure that all Georgians recover and have an opportunity to thrive.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

Being an attorney has taught me how to fight for what’s right. For the last 25 years, I have been successful in forging resolutions between opposing parties in what can be complex emotional issues involving people’s homes and neighborhoods. This experience will be critical in working across the aisle for progress here in Georgia. I have lobbied local legislators for years on behalf of individuals, families, neighborhood groups, and small builders in Sandy Springs, so I am deeply familiar with the nature of politics. Lastly, I have successfully managed my boutique law firm since 2002 and helped us stay afloat even during the recession that cost us nearly everything. Facing tough decisions has been a daily responsibility of mine for years, and I will put that to the test when balancing our budget next year.

If you win this position, what accomplishment would make your term in office as a success?

For the first term in office, and considering Democrats will not have the majority in both chambers or the governor’s office, success would be: (1) we adopt fair voting maps as they will dictate our federal and state elections for the next decade; (2) we fully expand Medicaid and find other ways to expand affordable, quality healthcare to all Georgians; and (3) we fully fund public schools.

Why should voters trust you?

I have been fighting for 3 years for the honor to represent our community because our citizens do not want regressive legislation and are tired of partisan politics. We need a leader who will prioritize healthcare, our economy, our children’s education, fair government and elections, social justice, women’s rights and equality, common sense gun reform, and fighting climate change. I have testified at just about every State Election Board and Fulton County Board of Registration and Election Board meeting for the last 18 months advocating for secure and fair elections in Georgia. I have stood up for our community at Sandy Springs City Council meetings when text amendments would have diminished the public’s input on certain land use matters. I believe our leaders should tell the truth, that the government process should be transparent and participatory, and that elected officials should serve the public and be accountable.

What are your views on fiscal policy, government spending and the use of taxpayer dollars in the office you are seeking?

Having the experience of managing my firm, its budget, and its employees for the past two decades, I consider myself to be fiscally responsible. I believe the current leadership is spending dollars in ways that taxpayers would not prefer and that money could be reprioritized to help working Georgians and their children. Republican leadership is currently spending millions of our tax dollars on unnecessary and politically charged litigation to overturn Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act, which would leave millions without coverage of their pre-existing conditions during a pandemic. When we are facing historical budget cuts next year, I will put my experience to bat, balancing the budget while fighting for the expansion of Medicaid, protecting our public school system, and putting working families first.

Is there any reason you would not serve your full term of office, other than those of health or family?

No, I cannot think of any other reason that would prompt me not to serve my full term of office. I have fought for three years to represent my community and I will be honored to do so.

The best advice ever shared with me was:

While Justice Ginsberg didn’t share this advice only with me, her wise words inspired a nation. As I continue my journey to represent the citizens of Georgia, these are two of her quotes that guide me: “I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.” and “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

*Deborah Silcox did not reply to Patch's email with the questionnaire.

This article originally appeared on the Sandy Springs Patch