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Alpha Kappa Alpha Questionnaire

posted Oct 24, 2014, 6:00 PM by Amreeta Regmi   [ updated Oct 24, 2014, 6:04 PM ]

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Upsilon Alpha Omega Chapter Q&A

Amreeta Regmi, Candidate, Georgia State House of Representatives, District 95

1. What is your vision/ what are your goals for District 95?

My vision is to create a strong, unified, prosperous and harmonious community, and promote the concept of “live, work, play, and stay” in my District 95, which encompasses the municipalities of Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Norcross, and Duluth in Gwinnett County and a portion of Johns Creek in Fulton County. I will use my skills, experience, and qualifications to promote social and economic integration for growth and development. My goal is to make District 95 a hub for international business and a flagship for smart development. Leveraging my contacts and network, I will bring jobs to Georgia, in particular to my District and improve our local economy by bringing investment and promoting manufacturing and exports. More jobs mean more opportunities and success. Job creation is a # 1 goal for my District.

2. What legislation do you plan to introduce within your first 100 days in office? Why?

If I get elected, the types of bills I would pass during the first 100 days would really depend upon what my constituents would want and what they see as priorities to be introduced for this legislative session. Ensuring that the voice of my community is incorporated in the decision-making process will be important to me. In this regard, I am determined to work closely with my community and my municipalities to make sure that I fulfill the expectations of the local governments and the community’s legislative priorities. In addition to this, I plan to introduce a bill to make the Ethics Commission an independent body, free from politics. Reforming the Commission is one of my top priorities and one that the people want.

 

3. If elected, how would you ensure your accessibility by constituents?

I will ensure accessibility by maintaining an open door policy.  Communication and evaluation are two methods that I will use to identify issues of importance to my constituency. Being available and accessible to the community to listen to their concerns and issues and to let them know what is going on at the Legislature is important. If a legislator is not communicating with the constituency, then policies not relevant to people’s lives and needs tend to get created. I will make sure that I communicate effectively with my constituents by holding regular town halls, informal meetings, and just being out there as much as I can with people in my district. I will request my constituents to evaluate my performance, using an annual professional feedback and review framework. Depending upon the ratings I receive, I will stay focused on improving the areas that receive weaker ratings. I will apply this appraisal-based feedback loop to work on issues that are important to my constituents. This will also increase my accountability in representing my constituency and will support a bottoms-up approach to policy making, thereby bringing the legislature closer to the people.

 

4. How do you plan to improve infrastructure in District 95? Specifically, how would you solve the problem of vacant lots, aging buildings, and abandoned retail strip malls?

Improving infrastructure in District 95 require both short-term and long-term planning and investment needs. We must involve and leverage the private sector and promote public-private partnerships to prioritize needs and best return on investment. We must meet the demand of providing an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in our digital age. There are several innovative financing instruments which become useful, in particular for short-term projects.

The Community Improvements Districts (CIDs) is a public-private partnership which leverages financing and is a successful instrument. For example, here in Gwinnett we have used this instrument to revitalize depressed and run-down areas. Some examples of where this has been used are several locations around Gwinnett Place Mall, the Pleasant Hill/I-85 intersection, and now the Atlanta Media Campus and Studios, the largest film studio in the Southeast located right here in Norcross.

For long term interventions in infrastructure development using specific financing instruments and leveraging foreign direct investment through partnerships is worthy of pursuing.


5. How do you plan to initiate your “Made in Georgia” initiative?

Initiating “Made in Georgia” plan should begin by promoting direct investment to the manufacturing sector and also by focusing on exports. In the export sector, the trend looks good. For example, in 2012 the state of Georgia was the 17th largest export market in the U.S., where merchandise shipment included close to $19 billion. With the Savannah Port’s expansion, the future for trade is good. Increasing foreign direct investment, domestic manufacturing, and finding customers in new markets is a basic plan that I will promote to scale up a “Made in Georgia” initiative. Gwinnett, for example, has over 600 international-based companies. We are also seeing a gradual investment increase in the manufacturing sector. A Japanese company has recently opened operations in Peachtree Corners with $7 million in capital investment to develop hygiene and household cleaning products. I hope to develop and open up this sector to additional investors.

My interest is to increase our portfolio for this sector by also supporting small and medium-sized businesses. Our domestic small and medium-sized businesses need trade-friendly government policies as well as support from big businesses. We must create a business-friendly environment for these companies to enter the manufacturing market to support domestic production and exports.

 

6.  How do you plan to improve transportation systems in District 95?

Our state must move the ‘fourth penny’ of the gas sales tax that currently goes into the state’s general fund back to the transportation sector. This alone is not sufficient to meet our 21st century transportation needs, but is an important first step. For long-term planning of our funding needs, the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) will also allow counties to plan to address their local level transportation needs.

A good and integrated transportation network is a driver of economic development and fosters prosperity. History has shown how economic corridors and centers were developed when connectivity was increased between people, their residences, and business centers. For instance, we have seen how growth corridors around Dunwoody and Sandy Springs were developed with MARTA stations located close by. Likewise, Buckhead is soon transforming into a major retail and business destination.

 

7. Where do you stand on the issue of charter schools?

I am for public money staying in our public schools and for making our schools smart. I support personal choice and charter schools. Gwinnett County has done well in terms of promoting focused programs and partnerships which seek to develop excellence among our children and tap into their existing talents. I am supportive of schools such as Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Sciences and Technology and North Metro Academy of Performing Arts which integrates arts and technology with academics. Every student should have the best education possible, and it is our responsibility to develop an environment to create a good workforce. I am for anything that helps our students stay ahead. All students should have access to a good education.

 

8. How do you plan to reform Georgia’s Ethics Commission?

We must get serious about maintaining a high standard of ethics in Georgia. The Ethics Commission must be an independent institution that is separate from all politics and which answers to citizens. I will do my level best to reform this institution and promote transparency and accountability in every level of government work. We need to take it out of the hands of politicians and put it in the hands of the people!

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