APN Candidate Q&A: Rafer Johnson, House District 62
(APN) ATLANTA — In Atlanta Progressive News’s continuing coverage of the Georgia State House District 62 race, to replace State Rep. LaDawn Blackett Jones (D-Atlanta), this article contains the responses of candidate Rafer Johnson to the Atlanta Progressive News candidate questionnaire.
Johnson is one of six Democratic candidates eying the seat. He is a flight attendant and former Fulton County Housing Authority chair from Atlanta. In addition, he has been a vocal advocate for incorporating a new City of South Fulton.
The other five candidates are: Aaron V. Johnson, the senior assistant for policy and external affairs for Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves (District 1); Joshua B. Butler IV, an entrepreneur and community volunteer from Atlanta; Larry “LPJ” Perkins Jr., a businessman; Valerie V. Vie, an attorney from Douglasville; and William K. Boddie Jr., an attorney from Atlanta.
APN is in the process of reaching out to each of the candidates with questionnaires. APN spoke with Aaron Johnson a few days ago, and Johnson said he would follow-up by phone. APN also spoke with Boddie and Vie; and has sent questionnaires to them. APN has reached out to Mr. Butler and to the Perkins campaign on Facebook.
Johnson’s responses to the APN questionnaire are as follows:
DO YOU BELIEVE ALL HOUSE AND SENATE COMMITTEES SHOULD KEEP MINUTES INCLUDING A RECORD OF ALL VOTES, YEAS, NAYS, AND ABSTENTIONS; AND THAT THOSE MINUTES SHOULD BE MADE PUBLIC? DO YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL IDEAS FOR TRANSPARENCY AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS?
Yes, those are accountable items that should be public. With modern technology, we should be able to stream and archive the Legislative sessions and Committee Hearings.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON NUCLEAR POWER?
I support Nuclear Power as a relatively safe source of power. It also helps to reduce greenhouse gases that are currently impacting the earth’s atmospheric temperature leading to rising waters, disruptive weather patterns, etc.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS, IF ANY, TO EXPAND WIND AND SOLAR IN GEORGIA?
With the abundance of sun in Georgia, we should be offering incentives for every home and business to install solar panels and we should consider temporary tax credits for providers as we deal with a growing population, leading to a larger demand on our power sources. In addition, we face a new threat of cyber warfare leaving us vulnerable to power grid disruptions. Adding solar, wind and other green energy sources to our toolkit to increase our economic and general security.
WOULD YOU SUPPORT REDUCING PETITION REQUIREMENTS FOR INDEPENDENT AND POLITICAL BODY (MINOR PARTY) CANDIDATES FROM THE CURRENT ONE PERCENT STATEWIDE, FIVE PERCENT NON-STATEWIDE REQUIREMENT? IF SO, WHAT SHOULD THE NEW REQUIREMENT BE, IF ANY?
I do not currently support reducing the requirement. Obtaining the required signatures is relatively low cost and still offers the opportunity for all economic levels to get on the ballot. I do however support exploring ways for lower-cost campaigns and better campaign finance laws to offer more opportunity for qualified candidates to effectively compete.
WOULD YOU SUPPORT ADDING A VOTER VERIFIABLE PAPER AUDIT TRAIL TO ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS IN GEORGIA?
I support a cheaper alternative – we can just as easily send an electronic copy similar to electronic receipts I get via email or text from my neighborhood bistro.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON THE REFERENDUM TO CREATE A STATEWIDE OPPORTUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT TO TAKE OVER SO-CALLED “FAILING” SCHOOLS?
I am a no voter and campaigner against the OSD vote.
DO YOU SUPPORT AN EXPANDED MEDICAL CANNABIS PROGRAM (IN-STATE CULTIVATION, FULL PLANT MEDICINE, EXPANDED LIST OF CONDITIONS)? DO YOU SUPPORT DECRIMINALIZATION (NON-MEDICAL)? DO YOU SUPPORT LEGALIZATION (NON-MEDICAL)?
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON CITYHOOD AND ANNEXATION IN GENERAL? DO YOU BELIEVE GEORGIA’S CITYHOOD AND ANNEXATION LAWS SHOULD BE CHANGED? IF SO, HOW?
The rules and laws should be standardized and once the petitioning area meets the set requirements they should be allowed to vote to self-determination and self-governance.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON THE PROPOSALS FOR NEW CITIES IN DEKALB COUNTY, SUCH AS STONECREST AND GREENHAVEN?
The residents should get a voice and vote on self-determination and self-governance. It will be up to each side to present the best argument.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON THE PROPOSED CITY OF SOUTH FULTON?
As a 15 year resident and first Chair of South Fulton NOW, I led the fight for the right to vote on a City of South Fulton. After investigating the pros and cons of a city along with the results of the independent study by the Andrew Young School at GA State showing a significant annual surplus of up to $19M (vs $600K in 2007) along with a population that doubled since the last vote – I believe cityhood is the best option for my family and neighbors.
DO YOU SUPPORT GMO LABELING?
DO YOU SUPPORT ANY OF THE RECENT PROPOSALS REDUCING THE EARLY VOTING PERIOD, OR ALLOWING LOCAL JURISDICTIONS FLEXIBILITY TO REDUCE EARLY VOTING?
No. I believe we need to investigate ways to expand access to the ballot box.
DO YOU SUPPORT A U.S. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE CITIZENS UNITED RULING, CLARIFYING THE ABILITY OF CONGRESS TO REGULATE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS? (THE STATE COULD EITHER CALL FOR SUCH AN AMENDMENT BY RESOLUTION OR CALL FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION.)