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Election 2020 Preview: State House District 24
District 24 race
Incumbent state Rep. Sheri Gilligan (left) will face a challenge from Democrat Natalie Bucsko (right) for the District 24 seat for the Georgia House of Representatives.

Sheri Gilligan (Incumbent)

Party: Republican 

Age: 57

Occupation: Former Intelligence Specialist, Former Educator

Time living in the district: 36 total years, 14 years since returning home in 2006

For voters who may not know, can you give a rundown of what you have accomplished in your previous terms in office?

“Working with my colleagues, we passed legislation to combat human trafficking, support our law enforcement with better retirement plans and protect Georgians from receiving surprise medical bills that they didn’t consent to.  

“Legislation was also passed that will give those living in elderly care facilities better protections from receiving inadequate service.  Georgia’s foster children were helped with the passing of legislation that will make it easier for foster parents to take care of them.  I also helped pass Campus Carry legislation which restores Second Amendment rights. My work at the Capitol earned me the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) Most Conservative Georgia Legislator award in 2019.

“This year, some of the most important accomplishments have centered around COVID and the need for constituent services. When the pandemic hit, I contacted the business community to provide much-needed information on the assistance available to small businesses. 

“With Republican efforts, we maintained our status as the #1 state to do business and kept our triple-A bond rating. I worked with the Department of Labor to help people get their unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits. I have also worked with individuals when the government encroached on their rights. Also, when it came time to start school, we worked to create a hybrid model that put parents in control of how to send their children back to school.”

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

“Right now there is a trend going on in which biological males are being allowed to compete with girls.  Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Forcing females to compete against biological males isn’t fair. Women fought hard and long to earn equal athletic opportunities. I want to ensure that girls have the opportunity to earn college scholarships and possibly launch their own careers in athletics.

“I will continue to work toward restoring our Second Amendment rights and protecting free speech and the right to practice our religion. I also want to protect voting integrity so that every elector shall always be provided the opportunity to vote in person in an election. Additionally, I want legislation to prevent posting election results until all polling locations in that particular election have closed.”

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

“From the moment I was sworn in as your representative in 2015, I have worked passionately on your behalf. I have remained committed to being your advocate for common sense conservative policies and principles that have proved to be good for Georgians. I will continue to stay focused on our state’s budget, individual liberties, and personal responsibilities.  

“It’s also important to me that I stay in contact with my fellow neighbors.  I can always be reached by a call or an email. When the legislature is in session I also host Saturday morning coffees or Zoom calls so that my constituents can be informed.”

Natalie Bucsko

Party: Democratic

Age: 36

Occupation: Marketing specialist, writer

Time living in the district: Originally moved here in 2002. Permanently moved back in June 2016.

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

“Local positions like State Legislature impact our day-to-day lives much more than the federal races but are so frequently ignored or dismissed. 

“I knew I wanted to run for office and thought starting with the State Legislature was a way to really provide a positive impact in Forsyth and Georgia. I have been disappointed with current representation and decided to be the change I wanted to see. I have 4 daughters here and the youngest just started kindergarten — I’ll be in Forsyth for a few more decades at least. 

“I have a vested interest in making Forsyth as great as it can be. I believe there are solutions to so many of our problems that would benefit every citizen but feel that our current policies mostly just benefit a small percentage.

“I’m running so I can fight for those solutions and improve the lives of every single resident of Forsyth and Georgia, regardless of race, religion, sexuality. Our demographics are changing, our policies need to as well. I am the first challenger this seat has had in 20 years.

“Twenty years with no choice on the November ballot — just a single name! Someone needed to change that. I thought not only could I run to create change; I could also bring awareness to how critical down ballot voting is. I want to help others as much as I can and being a member of the Georgia State Legislature is a great way to have a larger impact for good in the state.”

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

“The economy. What are some additional revenue streams we can look at as a state? How can we help people bounce back from the pandemic? How can we protect folks moving forward? 

“Solving these economic questions is a top priority. Another economic issue is property taxes. The county raises their assessed value of our homes to tax us more — but doesn’t lower the value in recessions. I want a freeze on home values for tax purposes in Georgia for primary residences. 

“If you buy a home for $175,000 and live in it for 20 years, I don’t want you forced out because a new neighborhood went up, the county says it is worth $300,000 and now you can’t afford the taxes.

“Education is another priority for me. After being defunded by $950 million — in the middle of a pandemic — it’s important we work to improve education. Georgia ranks 31st in the country for K-12 education. 

“We can do so much better than that. How can we increase funding to education without making property taxes untenable? School Choice would destroy education, not fix it. It’s appalling to defund education, then claim they weren’t prepared and use that as a reason to move to School Choice.

“Health care is obviously another one. The pandemic highlighted how problematic our system is. The legislature failed to expand Medicaid and that left so many Georgians vulnerable. Forsyth is the wealthiest county in the state but that doesn’t mean we are free from medical debt aand other healthcare issues.”

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

“My last name is pronounced BUS-CO (I get asked that frequently). I am married and have 4 daughters — 3 stepdaughters and a 5-year-old. I have coached softball here in Forsyth and will do it again when rec sports resume. I frequent local businesses and am committed to seeing Forsyth County succeed and improve.

“I believe as a representative it is my job to truly serve and listen to everyone in the district. I want my constituents — even and especially those that disagree with me — to contact me and talk about policy. I want to learn and find solutions that benefit everyone. Voting for me means hiring me — I will be the employee of the people of District 24. 

“Just because someone is a Republican and I am the Democrat on the ticket doesn’t mean we are against each other or have different views on every issue. And it doesn’t mean I don’t care about them — I do, and I want to make a better Forsyth for them too. I am here to lift everyone up.”