Former State Rep. Erick Allen Running for Lt. Governor
(APN) ATLANTA – In our continuing coverage of the upcoming May 24, 2022 General Primary Election, Atlanta Progressive News interviewed former State Rep. Erick Allen (D-Smyrna), who is running for Lt. Governor of Georgia.
Former State Rep. Allen was elected in 2018 and served two terms, from 2019 to 2022.
“I view the primary role of Lt. Governor, especially in this upcoming biennium, is to, number one, make sure we’re supporting the agenda of Gov. Stacey Abrams,” former State Rep. Allen said.
“To make sure the Governor’s floor leaders in the House and Senate are given the space to do what they need to do to progress that agenda,” Allen said.
“The assignment is to work with the floor leaders, the Governor’s appointed legislators, to make sure that her legislation gets through the Senate and back to her desk to be signed,” Allen said.
During his service in the State House, Rep. Allen introduced legislation responsive to the Sterigenics Plant ethylene oxide pollution controversy after his constituents learned they had been unknowingly exposed to leaks of the carcinogen from the nearby plant.
Then-Rep. Allen introduced HB 774, the pertinent language of which was reincorporated into SB 426 and passed.
The law requires “that any leak of ethylene oxide, leak or spill, would have to be reported to the [Georgia] Environmental Protection Division,” Allen said.
“Up until that point, they only had to report a leak or spill if it was more than ten pounds. You could technically have several spills per month of several pounds released, when your permit is only to have two pounds released.”
As previously reported by APN, ethylene oxide was reclassified from a toxic gas to a carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Knowing this, the EPA, who has a right to notify local jurisdictions and the delegation, did not do so, nor did they brief the incoming Kemp Administration. So this was really, politely shut under the rug by EPD,” Allen said.
“I drafted the legislation in such a way that it was great legislation even for Republicans to pass. They liked it so much they stole it. It gives transparency,” Allen said.
“The people who live around these plants had no way of knowing whether they have accidents with a carcinogen,” he said.
“Sterigenics is more careful about what they do now that they have to report the leaks,” he said.
“I’m running on a record, and I’m proud of my record,” Allen said.
Rep. Allen also introduced legislation requiring lining of coal ash ponds by utility companies; and increasing the amount of fines for pollution.
Allen’s issue priorities include civil and social rights, the environment, mental health, health care, and education.
“I first ran in 2014, and came up a little bit short,” Allen said.
Allen continued to challenge twenty-year incumbent now-former State Rep. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna), until he finally won in 2018.
“I’m the only candidate who can run in a competitive General Election and win, with the experience of running in November, not just the experience running in May,” Allen said.
Prior to serving in the State House, Allen worked for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health.
Nine candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor: former U.S. Rep. Kwanza Hall (D-GA); Tyrone Brooks, Jr.; former State Rep. Erick Allen (D-Vinings); Charlie Bailey, who ran for Attorney General in 2018; Tony Brown; Jason T. Hayes; former State Rep. Derrick L. Jackson (D-Tyrone); R. Malik; and former State Rep. Renitta Shannon (D-Decatur).
APN has published interviews with former U.S. Rep. Hall and with Brooks, Jr. APN is in the process of reaching out to the other campaigns at this time.
Four candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor: former State Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson); Mack McGregor, former State Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), and Jeanne Seaver.
Incumbent Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan is not seeking reelection.
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2022)