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Election 2020 Preview: Georgia's 7th Congressional District
District 7 race
Democratic candidate Carolyn Bourdeaux and Republican candidate Rich McCormick will face off on the Nov. 3 ballot to replace incumbent Rep. Rob Woodall, who did not seek re-election.

Carolyn Bourdeaux

Party: Democratic

Age: 50 years

Occupation: Professor at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University

Time living in the district: 3 years, 17 years in Georgia

Can you tell voters what made you want to run for this seat?

“I believe that our government should work for all people, not just the wealthy and well-connected. Our leaders have lost their line of sight to the people of this country and what we need. It is time for the people of Georgia's 7th Congressional District to have an advocate in Congress who fights tenaciously for the issues we care about.

“I’m a champion for quality, affordable health care — it’s why I got into this race, and now we’re seeing that it’s more important than ever. I saw the tragic health care reality shared by too many Americans firsthand as my parents struggled to pay for my father’s medications during his prolonged illness. In Congress, I'll fight to increase access and affordability of health insurance through strengthening the ACA, create an affordable public option health insurance plan for individuals and small businesses, and end surprise billing. I will also prioritize legislation that allows the federal government to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs.

“Ultimately, I want my son to grow up in a country where we care for one another and provide working families with fundamental supports like health care and paid family medical leave; where we provide all of our children a world-class education that opens the door to opportunity; where we invest in the infrastructure for the green economy of the 21st Century; and where we beat back the structural inequalities created by racism to build a community that is diverse, inclusive and global.” 

If elected, what are your biggest legislative priorities for your term?

“When I graduated from college, my dad told me, ‘Carolyn, this country has invested in you and gave you a world-class education. And with that comes responsibility to give back to your community.’ Those words have guided me ever since. 

“In Congress, I'll work to get the pandemic under control, our children back in school and our economy back on its feet. We are suffering from a terrible lack of leadership on COVID-19. This pandemic is no one's fault — but Donald Trump's failure to protect us from it is. Georgians deserve leaders who won’t play politics with their health, who listen to the scientists, and think carefully about solutions that make sense. Our economy is not going to recover until we can feel comfortable going to a restaurant or grocery shopping without being afraid we will catch COVID-19 — so listening to health experts to defeat this virus is critical to our economic recovery, too.

“We also need to make sure that everyone has access to quality affordable health care and invest in infrastructure and transit to address gridlock as well as start to address the climate crisis. I'll know I've been successful if I can deliver real change for the people of Georgia's 7th District.”

What else do you think voters should know about you and your campaign?

“Georgians don't need a politician who is beholden to any party, special interest group, or donor — they need an advocate who is fighting for them. As Director of the Senate Budget and Evaluation Office, I worked with both parties to balance the state budget during the Great Recession, and I was honored for this work with a special resolution for significant service to the state of Georgia.

“In 2018, I challenged a 4-term Republican incumbent who had never gotten below 60% of the vote. My message of fighting for quality affordable health care, economic opportunity for our working families and small businesses, and stepping up to do what is right for Georgia inspired record-breaking voter turnout in Georgia's 7th in 2018. Now I'm back to finish the job.

“Since I first started running, we’ve overcome massive voter purges, election security issues, problems at polling locations, and a host of inconsistencies in processing absentee ballots. Despite this, during my primary, we saw record-breaking voter turnout — a sure sign that Georgians are eager for a change in leadership. No matter who you are: I care about your struggle, I will listen to you and what you need, and I'll be your advocate in Congress.”

Rich McCormick

Party: Republican 

Age: 52

Occupation: Emergency Room Doctor

Time living in the district: 4 years since being discharged from the Navy

Can you tell voters what made you want to run for this seat?

“18 months ago, I didn’t know a single politician. I was just a frustrated ER doctor working with the Medical Association of Georgia to end the practice of surprise medical billing.  I went down to the Georgia Capitol with patient advocates to lobby our legislators for a solution to the surprise medical billing.  Sadly, I learned very quickly that big money special interests ruled over patients and doctors looking to make our healthcare system better and more affordable.  At that moment, I realized that if I wanted to be part of the solution, I had to run for office.  

“Running for Congress is also an extension of my lifetime of service to my community and my country.  I served 20 years in the military as a helicopter pilot and doctor in Afghanistan.  Even while running for Congress I still work the night shift in the ER treating patients with COVID-19.  I didn’t start my campaign because of this pandemic, but it has only increased the importance of sending more medical professionals to Congress.  I’ve never backed down from a fight and I look forward to taking on special interest in Washington DC to make healthcare more accessible and more affordable while protecting those with pre-existing conditions.”

If elected, what are your biggest legislative priorities for your term?

“Surprise medical billing got me into this race, and it will be one of my biggest priorities in Congress.  Patients who visit an in-network hospital shouldn’t have to worry about whether each individual doctor who treats them is also in their network.  But unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act has dramatically increased consolidation in the healthcare industry.  In 2000, around 60% of physician groups were independent, today it is only about one-third.  In short, these mergers driven by the Affordable Care Act have actually increased prices, created narrow insurance networks and decreased consumer choice.   

“America has the best healthcare system in the world, it is just too expensive. Efficient markets are transparent and competitive.  To bring down the cost of health care we need pricing transparency and an incentive for consumers to shop for the best price. In Congress, I will work to support innovative healthcare plans that allow consumers to use employer funded HSAs or concierge medicine plans to cover routine doctor visits with hospital coverage for catastrophic and emergency care.  These types of plans are currently illegal under the Affordable Care Act but can dramatically increase consumer choice and competition for better coverage at a lower cost.”

What else do you think voters should know about you and your campaign?

“My entire life has been dedicated to service.  I spent 16 years as a Marine helicopter pilot before going to medical school as a single father.  After medical school, I went back into the Navy to serve as a doctor in Afghanistan.  I’ve served as a youth group leader in my church for nearly 20 years and I am continuing to work nights in the ER treating COVID-19 patients while running for Congress. 

“I don’t need this job, in fact being elected to Congress will result in a pay cut.  I am running for Congress because I believe it is an extension of my commitment to service and America needs my experience now more than ever.  

“I love this country. I grew up poor, the son of a single mother, who become an Emergency Medicine Physician.  I’ve lived the American Dream and I want our children and the new citizens immigrating to Gwinnett and Forsyth to enjoy the same opportunity I had."