Matthew Wilson

Matthew Wilson

Occupation: Attorney, Akin & Tate

Previous elected offices held: None

Other community service experience: The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (member for four years; editorial board member for the Verdict magazine); Stonewall Bar Association (member for four years; currently serving as Secretary); Red Clay Democrats (member for eight years; Board of Governors member for two years); Georgia Watch (board member for two years); All Saints’ Episcopal Church (member).

What is motivating you to run for this office?

I’m running because I’ve seen firsthand how our state legislators haven’t been working for the people who elected them, but instead for the special interests and corporate PACs filling their campaign war chests. For many people, the 2016 presidential election was a wake-up call that signaled we all need to do more. For me, that meant stepping up to run for this seat so we can have better representation in north Atlanta.

What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?

It’s hard to pick one challenge when we need to be expecting more from our representatives on so many issues. I’m a former public school teacher, so education is important to me––but I will say that we need to act now to increase access to quality, affordable healthcare. Medicaid expansion would be a huge shot in the arm for our state. The legislature’s refusal to act and get more Georgians the care they need is appalling, especially considering we’ve already paid for it with our federal taxes. I will work across the aisle to fix this beginning day one.

After the new “ATL” regional transit authority forms, what local transit priorities would you advocate, if any?

While Gov. Deal’s work to create the “ATL” is a necessary first step, we needed this decades ago. Now, we need leaders dedicated to mass transit. I’m deeply concerned by Rep. Hanson’s comments suggesting the best we can do is add more lanes and buses. We won’t pave our way out of this mess. I will leave the planning to the professionals and commit to work with local leaders to get vital projects funded, but it is clear that increased rail is key in planning for tomorrow’s transportation needs today.

What is your position on reducing or eliminating the state income tax and why?

I think the solution to easing the tax burden for Georgia’s homeowners and renters lies not with the state income tax, but in doing more to curb year-to-year spikes in property tax assessments. Through expanded property tax exemptions like the Fulton County senior exemption, we can provide homeowners with more certainty and equity while still making government efficiently work for everyone.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.