A Democratic candidate from Gwinnett County has qualified for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District.
Kathleen Allen, a Norcross resident who has worked in managed healthcare, qualified last week for the seat. She will be among five Democrats in the May 22 primary for the seat, with the winner facing the Republican nominee on Nov. 6.
Allen said she first announced her campaign about a year ago and was inspired to run after hearing an elected official’s take on the Affordable Care Act, a topic she said she has dealt with professionally.
“I thought this district deserves to be represented by someone who is listening to them and who knows what niche issues in this whole healthcare package relate to different constituents,” Allen said. “That was what first made me want to run.”
Healthcare is one of the main issues Allen said she heard from voters in the campaign, along with education and immigration issues.
“I support the DACA program,” she said. “We have got to work on a pathway to citizenship, but I also think that we need to be honest about the contributions of immigrants both documented and undocumented to our local economy, to our tax base [and] to our culture and communities.”
Regarding education, Allen said her children have attended Title 1 elementary and middle schools — schools with higher numbers of children from low-income families that receive federal assistance — and received “fine educations.”
Allen said she has seen the issues families in those schools deal with.
“That Title 1 funding from the federal government is crucial,” she said. “I have parents tell me kids don’t eat without that.”
The 7th Congressional District spans Cumming, south Forsyth and much of Gwinnett County.
Allen said she is aware the district and Forsyth County are considered conservative strongholds but said she worked the Democratic Party’s table at the Cumming Country Fair & Festival and spoke with voters in the county on both sides. She said she wants to find solutions for voters on all sides.
“I am a proud, progressive Democrat, but I believe in making progress for all of us,” Allen said. “I’m not by nature someone prone to demonizing, and I am very much an open-hearted and open-minded person.”
She added: “The constituents of Forsyth County, as conservative as some of them might be, I will represent them and I will listen to them and I will try to make progress that they value without selling out my Democratic values. Because I know we agree about so much more than these little wedge issues.”
Allen said she first got involved by baking cookies as part of then-California Rep. Leon Panetta’s campaign as a 13 year old in the early 1990s. She would later serve as an intern to Panetta.
She said she was a founder of Indivisible Georgia 7, the district chapter of a national organization opposed to the agenda of President Donald Trump. Allen said she has lived in Norcross for about 12 years.
Qualifying for the seat wrapped up last week.
Also qualifying in the race were Democrats Carolyn Bourdeaux, David Kim, Ethan Pham, Melissa Davis and Steve Reilly and Republicans Incumbent Rob Woodall and Shane Hazel.
More information about Allen is available at ElectKathleenAllen.com.