Dr. Coffman has seen first-hand the deficiencies in our healthcare systems. As a practicing physician, she knows that when one person in our community lacks access to the physical and mental healthcare they need to thrive, our entire community suffers.
I believe individuals should have the freedom to decide for themselves whether and when to have children, and that freedom requires accessible abortion care. As a reproductive psychiatrist, I know firsthand the sanctity of the relationship between a woman and her doctor. There is no reason politicians should be allowed to interfere in this personal and life-altering decision-making. Quite simply, what a woman chooses to do with her body is none of the government’s business. Forcing a woman to carry an undesired pregnancy will cause psychological harm that will be long-lasting and pervasive and will likely lead to a mental health crisis the likes of which we have not yet seen. In the state House, I will always protect a woman’s right to access abortion and necessary medical care and fight to ensure a woman’s reproductive healthcare decisions are made by her and her doctor, not politicians.
Healthcare is a Right, So We Must Expand Access to Medicaid
Minor medical concerns can quickly become debilitating diseases if not addressed early on. The lack of affordable healthcare access leads to just that, as people avoid seeking medical attention until their illness can no longer be ignored, causing them to suffer needlessly. Georgia has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the nation. We made the needed step of extending Medicaid coverage for new mothers from 6 months after newborn delivery to 12 months, but we must do more and do better to support the well-being of all Georgians by further expanding Medicaid access to all.
Mental Health Care is Health Care, So We Must Improve Access to Mental Health Services
As a psychiatrist, I have seen first-hand how Georgians are doing, and we are not ok. Even before the pandemic, access to adequate mental health resources was lacking, and the stresses of these recent years has exacerbated this problem, increasing rates of depression, anxiety, drug addiction, and suicide. Mental health services cannot be treated as an add-on or an afterthought. Therapists aren’t just for the rich, and mental disorders don’t discriminate by race, income, or faith. We must remove the stigmas of mental disorders, expand access to mental health services, and make mental healthcare as normal and regular as your next dentist appointment.
Dr. Coffman is raising three young children; her oldest child started Kindergarten in a Fulton County public school last Fall. She wants to ensure that all of Georgia’s families have access to safe public schools, great teachers, and a supportive educational environment that will prepare our children to be the leaders of tomorrow.
High Quality Education Begins Early
Critical learning begins before age five. I know this first-hand, as I watched my oldest child grow exponentially in her pre-K year, a year that built a solid foundation for her to start Kindergarten this year. We must make early education a priority to ensure that our children have all the tools to be successful in school. Every child in Georgia deserves this opportunity and I will work to create universal pre-K programs in every county in Georgia so all of our children have access to the foundation of a high-quality education.
Teachers Are Heroes and Should Be Paid Like Them
This past year, the average starting salary for a teacher in Georgia was just under $39,000. That is 35th in the nation. The minimum living wage in Georgia for a family of one adult and one child to have a modest standard of living in an affordable area is $47,638. We cannot continue to treat teaching as just another run-of-the-mill profession. The sacrifices teachers make every day to ensure that our children are not only learning but also feel safe and supported needs to be recognized, and teachers must be compensated accordingly. We must build off of this year’s teacher bonuses and continue to raise teacher salaries so Georgia can recruit and retain quality teachers to educate our best and brightest young minds.
Education Cannot Hide from History
Native Americans lived in what is now Georgia for thousands of years before the Spanish arrived in the 1500s and the English arrived in the 1700s. From the Revolutionary War, through the Civil War, on through to the War in Afghanistan, from slavery through civil rights, from cotton and onions to peaches and peanuts, Georgia has a long, rich, and difficult history. There is much I am proud of, but there are a lot of hard lessons that had to be learned. We cannot hide from our past or cherry-pick the good parts of our history. In order to prepare our children for the future, we must teach them the good, the bad, and the ugly of our history so they can learn in a supportive educational environment to avoid the mistakes of our past.
Easy Access to Handguns Threatens us All
When parents properly teach their children how to use rifles for hunting, they are passing on a rich tradition that must be preserved. But when handguns are bought and sold like candy; when anyone, without a license or background check, could be walking the aisles of the grocery store or the neighborhood park with a concealed weapon, I don’t feel safe, and neither does my family. We need common-sense gun laws that ensure only well-trained, licensed, and verified citizens have access to these deadly weapons. I will keep our communities safe by passing common-sense gun measures like background checks on all gun sales and red flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals.
Strong Families Require Affordable Homes
When people can afford to live near where they work, they have stronger families. When a parent isn’t spending hours every day on the road driving to their job, they can spend more time helping their children with their homework. When a mother works near their child’s school, she can more readily attend a school play or help out in the classroom. And when the majority of a family’s income isn’t spent on rent or the mortgage, they can invest more in their community. By expanding access to affordable housing, we can improve our education system, reduce traffic, enhance our economy, and create stronger communities for all Georgia families.
Democracy Works Only When Everyone Can Participate
Free, fair, and inclusive elections are the hallmark of a thriving democracy. Unfortunately, there are too many people in power in Georgia who want only those who agree with them to vote. We must work to expand access to voting so that every Georgia citizen can rightfully, easily, and securely participate in maintaining our government. Georgians deserve to confidently know that their vote counted, regardless of who they voted for, what they look like, or where they live.
Inflation is at a 40-year high as supply chains remain crippled by the pandemic and small businesses struggle to bring in new employees to handle the surges in demand. And the impact has hit our families the hardest. As a mother of three young children, I know first-hand the struggle that comes with the rising costs of food, gas, and childcare.
Mega corporations are gouging consumers; continuing to raise prices while posting record profits and refusing to pay living wages that would encourage people to return to work. Meanwhile, both parties in Congress refuse to act to bring down prescription drug prices while Big Pharma's profits grew by 16% last year!
We need real solutions to help Georgians afford these rising costs, and we need to invest in a workforce that will help bring these costs down. That means, in the short-term, passing anti-gouging laws, gas tax relief, sales tax holidays, prescription drug price relief, and policies that ensure big corporations are paying their fair share so small businesses have an opportunity to thrive. And it means a long-term investment in career training programs, affordable quality childcare, senior care, and expanding paid family and medical leave, so more people are willing and able to comfortably return to the workforce. This has to be a priority for Georgia’s leaders, and I will work with both parties to enact policies that will lower costs for our families.