Bonnie Rich is a candidate for State House District 97. Below are some of her thoughts about the July 24th runoff election and the issues confronting her district and the state.
You received the most votes in the primary. Do you see that as an advantage or disadvantage in the July 24th runoff?
I see it as both an advantage and a disadvantage. On the one hand, it’s encouraging that I have so much support, but on the other that can lead to complacency on the part of voters. They may think that the candidate who got the most votes in a primary means the same candidate will receive the most votes in a runoff. As previous elections show, that is not necessarily true. I’m working just as hard now as I did before the primary. I’m thankful that Scott LeCraw, who also ran in the primary has endorsed me and I hope his voters come out and support me, but I’m not taking anything for granted.
How do you see your experience as an attorney relating to being a state representative?
I’ m beginning my 25th year in the practice of law, and those years of experience in reading, interpreting and applying Georgia legislation will undoubtedly be aid in my ability to write and support future legislation. I’m going to use my experience to point out unintended consequences and to streamline the process of determining new legislation’s consistency with the Constitution and existing laws.
Following recent legislation creating the ATL, transit has become a hot topic. What do you see as the future of transit in Gwinnett County and District 97?
The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners is in the process of deciding whether and when the issue of transit will be placed on the ballot. I see this as a decision that the residents of Gwinnett County will ultimately make. Once that decision is made, the legislature needs to consider the will of the people and determine how, or if the legislature needs to participate.
Healthcare is another hot topic. How can legislation at the state level effectively deal with reducing healthcare costs, expanding availability, and dealing with the opioid crisis?
Healthcare and health insurance are hot topics and are highly specialized matters that require research and specialized knowledge from fellow legislators, like Senator Renee Unterman, who has been working with these matters for years. Obviously, we have to take federal legislation and impact into account, so I think it is important to review proposed legislation from all angles so we can build a consensus that addresses a variety of needs and concerns. My goal is to develop legislation that is sensible and beneficial to the greatest number of people.
The same hold true for the opiod crisis. This is being addressed on the national, state and local levels, so we need to be mindful of other legislation and programs and avoid overlapping legislation that complicates the issue. Again, we need to consider legislation from all angles so we can develop sensible programs that are truly beneficial.
What unique capabilities do you believe you will bring to the state house and how will they benefit your constituents?
I’ve spent nearly a quarter of a century studying legal issues, crafting solutions, debating, advocating, negotiating and writing on legal topics. I can’t think of better preparation for a legislator. I’m also a wife, mother and local business owner, and my perspective has been significantly enhanced and informed by those roles as well. In many of those roles, I act as a listener. I know that’s an unusual statement from an attorney, but it essential to developing the best solutions. From my perspective, that’s what a legislator should do- develop solutions. That’s the best way to serve your constituents.