Candidate Q&A – House District 86

Imani Barnes. Photo obtained via https://joinarmswithbarnes.com/

Decaturish and Tucker Observer sent candidate Q&As to all candidates in our readership area running for state and federal office. The Q&As were sent to House District 86 candidates Imani Barnes (D) and Lisa Kinnemore (R). Kinnemore did not respond. The answers have not been edited.

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Candidate name and party affiliation:

Imani Barnes/ Democrat

Candidate website:

imani4ga.com

What is your occupation?

Biomedical Research Scientist

What neighborhood do you call home?

Tucker

Why are you running for this position?

I want to serve as our District 86 Representative because I recognize the need for inclusion at the capitol that reflects the interests of the diverse families, businesses, and underserved populations in the district. I want to fight to mitigate educational, health, gender, and racial disparities using proven public health frameworks that explain the need for funding in these areas. We deserve leadership that can relate to the needs of our growing community and will articulate those concerns to obtain quantifiable results.

What are your top three priorities if you are elected? 

As the next Georgia State Representative for House District 86, I would focus on influencing the public health system in funding mandates for our Department of Public Health to be more visible in places where people can better access resources. For example, bringing health services into the community where citizens frequent like parks, fairs, or malls. I will focus on educational funding in efforts for all children regardless of their income or zip code to receive a quality education and free lunch for all. When all children are well educated, the whole community benefits, being the single best proven path to pulling thousands of children above the poverty line. Then, housing affordability. As a single parent who makes a fair income, after paying my rent, there is barely enough left for food and basic needs in the present time where the cost of everything is inflated. I will as your next state representative fight to assure affordable housing policy is enforced that helps citizens pay for housing and new infrastructure includes affordable housing units.

If elected, how will you work with members of the opposite party to accomplish your goals? 

I plan to stay connected with community leaders and citizens within the community regardless of party affiliation to listen to and understand their issues. As I will be serving all person’s in my district, I will stay accessible and accountable to my constituents by responding to their calls and emails in a timely manner, hosting town halls (virtual and in person), and staying active on social media.

How will you work with the leadership of DeKalb County to accomplish their legislative goals?

I will continue to network with all levels and branches of DeKalb County leadership to ensure our issues are heard and our legislative goals are being brought to the table and being accomplished. We must all work as a team to best improve the quality of life for our citizens in DeKalb County.

What is your reaction to the closure of Atlanta Medical Center and how would you work to improve healthcare access for all Georgians? 

This is devastating! We should be working together to keep the hospital open and in addition, build new ones. I will fight for funding for more local neighborhood clinics as well as funding for a new level 1 trauma hospital to relive the pressure we are putting on Grady from the AMC closures.

If you are elected, would you support creating new cities in DeKalb County and Georgia? 

I feel cityhood may lead to segregating our communities more in a time where we should be uniting towards growth and improvement. DeKalb County has seen several attempts to form cities in various places across the county. Voters and residents have organized repeatedly to repel these attempts to create these new entities. The concern about cities being formed in our county is about redirected tax revenue that could starve vulnerable communities of resources that are needed, turn over functions of government to private concerns, and create extra layers of government that will come out of the pockets of our citizens. Taxes are higher in these smaller cities in ways that do not return benefit to those residents with fewer financial resources. We do not need to create more impediments to access to government.

Should the General Assembly pass a law that guarantees a right to have an abortion in the state?

“Reproductive Justice is the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” (Midwives Alliance of North America.) I strongly defend a woman’s right to choose. I also support the expansion of services to help parents raise strong healthy well educated children.

What should the state do with any revenue surplus it receives? 

Use some of it for housing assistance for all citizens in need, not just low-income citizens. Use a portion for, youth educational funding and teacher raises.

If you are elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner? How would you work to promote ethics and transparency in government?

Yes! By using my doctoral courses in public health, I have learned some ethical issues to consider listed below: producing benefits, avoiding, preventing, and removing harms producing the maximal balance of benefits over harms and other costs, distributing benefits and burdens fairly (distributive justice) and ensuring public participation, respecting autonomous choices and actions, protecting privacy and confidentiality, keeping promises and commitments disclosing information as well as speaking honestly and truthfully, building and maintaining trust (Bhattacharya, 2013). ​Working in my field of research requires special attention to ethical issues. When formulating policy, it is imperative to understand how to protect the ethical rights of those involved by applying ethical considerations.

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