Lisa Campbell is running in the Democratic primary for district 35 in the Georgia House of Representatives in the 2020 election.
Campbell is one of three Democratic candidates in the district hoping to unseat incumbent Republican Ed Setzler.
HD-35 covers Acworth and part of the Kennesaw area (view the map here).
The Courier had a phone interview with Campbell, and began by asking about her background.
“I am a longtime Georgian,” she said. “My family moved here in 1978 to Cobb County. So I grew up going to Georgia public school, Cobb County public school, and grew up in East Cobb at that time.”
“And you know, as I’m talking to folks about why I’m running, that background is a large part of why I’m running and it was a pretty amazing, I have to say, middle class upbringing,” said Campbell.
“My mom had been a high school biology teacher before she stayed home to raise us and my dad was a healthcare executive,” she said. “He was the hospital administrator.”
“And I was one of three daughters and had all the benefits of growing up in a well-funded county with lots of opportunities for parks and libraries and schools and all the things that you can imagine that go along with that, you know, safe neighborhoods and a strong foundation of opportunity,” she said. “This is one of the primary reasons I am running for office: I am dedicated to giving back, and building a Georgia that offers these same advantages equally, so all of us have the opportunity to share in these powerful foundations.
“(I) went to the University of Georgia and studied English literature. And after that moved back to Atlanta and worked here in Atlanta for a number of years,” said Campbell.
“My background is in marketing and advertising and business consultation and over the last 30 years, I have worked for many large companies and clients here in Atlanta,” she said. “I inched my way northward for about a decade. I spent some time working and living in Memphis, Tennessee, Nashville, Tennessee and ultimately, in Detroit, Michigan.”
Then in 2000 she moved back to the Atlanta area, she said.
Equality and the “Heartbeat Bill”
Asked what made her decide to run, she said, “Well, I have to say, I am a huge believer in equality. And I think we can be doing a better job in terms of our legislation, our laws, and our systems and our governance in terms of equality here in Georgia.”
“And that really spans all the big issues,” she said. “Specifically, here in our district where we have an incumbent who’s been in place for 15 years and was the lead sponsor of HB 481. The “Heartbeat Bill”, I think there is just increasingly a need for women especially to stand up for our rights. And so that has been a big driver.”
[An earlier version of this article mis-transcribed HB 481 as HB 41. We regret the error]
“You know, we have never had a female representative in this district elected, ever, and when we started thinking about the representation, fair representation and equal representation, that’s just long overdue.”
“So one of the reasons that I’m running is because I think we need better representation, more equality in our representation. And that means a woman in this particular position…”
“Across the state, about 52% of our population is female, but only 30% of our representatives are female. So I’m running because I think it’s time to change that,” she said.
“And so I think we can have greater productive ideas and practical ideas, creativity and collaboration when we have more women at the table, and I would like to be one of those women. So it’s a big part of why I’m running,” said Campbell.
Asked what skill-set she would bring to the job, Campbell said, “I think I bring significant experience building consensus and helping teams collaborate and come up with new innovative ways to achieve goals.”
She said she had worked as a facilitator for Fortune 500 companies like Coca Cola and Delta, bringing together teams from disparate backgrounds and coming up with new solutions for problems.
“And I think that’s a skill that may be very beneficial and maybe lacking in our House of Representatives,” she said. “So I think that’s a significant skill-set that I would like to bring to serve Georgians.”
“Our access to health care (I’m gonna just go back to equality) is just completely lopsided,” she said.
“We had some good strides with the Affordable Care Act, and I’m an advocate for extending and expanding that type of system,” she said. “The focus really is on care, relationships with doctors with nurses, nurse practitioners and less emphasis on insurance companies. greater access to affordable insurance, greater access to affordable healthcare, greater access to health care facilities, close to home, you know, healthcare for individuals.”
“And I think I’m very similar to the vast majority of Georgians,” she said. “I’m an independent consultant and I have owned my own business for the last six years. And the cost of purchasing insurance is astronomical. And it’s the highest expenditure in my family, and I think it is for most families.”
“And so I would be working diligently to bring together new ideas about how we structure access to health care, and looking for innovation across the board, whether it’s increased competition for insurance, greater protection of our rights as as constituents,” Campbell said.
“So making sure that pre-existing conditions are covered, making sure that basic things like wellness checks, maternity care, birth control, that all of those are prioritized so that every person has an equal opportunity to share in good health,” she said. “I also think that in terms of health care, we have some enormous issues to deal with related to pharmaceutical companies and the stranglehold that they have on life-saving medications.”
Asked about the controversies surrounding the Sterigenics facility’s emission of ethylene oxide near Smyrna, and the storage of Georgia Power’s toxic coal ash by the Chattahoochee River, she said that she had not yet looked into those issues closely, but that she favors halting the recent rollbacks in environmental regulations.
“But at the end of the day, I’m going to be an advocate for you know, business to succeed but business to succeed, not at the cost of our environment and not at the cost of Georgia taxpayers,” she said. “I would not be supportive of ongoing rollback of environmental regulations, I would be supporting the opposite.”
“I think it’s very important that we have strong emission controls … strong environmental protection. I don’t think it’s right for corporations to operate without these kinds of techniques. And I think ultimately, they must be responsible for the cleanup,” Campbell said.
“Gun safety is certainly a big concern for Georgia and for me, and as I think about that, also from an equality perspective, I think that it is long overdue for Georgians to have equal rights to safety, in the same way that we had equal rights to bear arms,” she said. “And I am an advocate for gun safety.”
“And I think that we can do a lot more in terms of requirements related to gun safety to protect each other,” she said. “We’re living in a time I think where a lot of us are fearful our kids may go to school and there may be a shooter, we may go to church and there may be a shooter and they go to the mall and there may be a shooter. And that is something that we can change. And we can do so with greater laws that require safety, safety training for permits, greater opportunity for gun safety.”
Asked if she had a closing statement, she said “We are just rich in resources, rich in our environment, rich in our people, rich in business, corporate partners, rich in infrastructure … more than any other time in our history.”
“We have the potential to offer the greatest advantages to all of our people in this district and the state than we’ve ever had before … and really the only thing standing in our way is our desire to offer those opportunities as advantages for education, for good health, for safe neighborhoods and schools, to create the families we want,” she said.
“The only thing standing in our way is equal opportunity,” she said. “And the way that we craft greater equal opportunity is to ensure that the laws and the practices that we put in place … are designed with all perspectives in mind”
“And I think in order to do that we need greater diversity in our leadership, greater diversity and equality in our legislation. And I think that it’s time, and Georgians are ready.”
For more information on the Lisa Campbell campaign, visit her website at https://www.lisaforga.com/
The primary election is scheduled for May 19, but with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, residents should check the Cobb election calendar regularly in case there is a postponement.