Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jon Ossoff recently had a Q&A session with Classic City News in which he explained why he is running to oust the Republican incumbent, Sen. David Purdue:
Q: What do you think is the biggest issue facing Georgians and Americans coming into the November election and what do you want to do to address it?
A: First, we need to empower medical experts and unite the country to control this pandemic. Then we have to make health care affordable for every Georgia family. The outrageous cost of health insurance and medicine is a scandal. Few plans are available. Premiums are extremely expensive. And dealing with insurance companies is a nightmare. I’ll work to make quality health care a simple, affordable, and reassuring reality for all of us by cracking down on price gouging by drug and insurance companies, protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions, delivering federal resources to strengthen Georgia’s hospitals, and supporting Medicaid expansion.
Q: What would you like to see happen at the federal and state levels to respond to the growing Covid numbers in the US?
A: We need to listen to medical experts to control this virus, shore up our economy with stronger support for small businesses and tax relief for working families, and unite behind an ambitious infrastructure program to jumpstart the economy and create jobs. And in an emergency like this, we need leaders who are honest with us about threats to our health. While he was receiving private briefings on the true scope of the threat from COVID-19, Senator Perdue misled us and downplayed the threat, contradicting doctors and scientists. He told us this virus posed a “low” risk to our health and told us the impact on economic growth would be “little.” Now 220,000 Americans are dead and millions lost their jobs.
Q: What should the next Covid stimulus package look like? \
A: Fast additional relief must shore up our economy with stronger support for small businesses and tax relief for working families — instead of prioritizing big banks and major corporations, who already get massive support from the Federal Reserve.
And then leaders must turn to long-term economic recovery. In the Senate, I’ll support the most ambitious infrastructure program in history to jumpstart our economy and create millions of jobs. Upgraded infrastructure will help our economy recover from this crisis and serve as the foundation for decades of prosperity. The Senate should have passed a bipartisan compromise months ago. Small businesses are struggling. Millions are out of work. Speed matters. But the Senate has failed to reach such any such compromise. Instead they took an inexplicable month-long summer vacation — even though PPP small business loans expired, emergency unemployment insurance ran out, and schools were forced to re-open without critical federal help.
Q: What would you do at the federal level to address systemic racism and the rise of white supremacist groups?
A: The brutality and profiling that targets Black Americans are not isolated incidents, as my opponent has claimed. In the United States today, the fact is deep race and class disparities persist in policing, prosecution, and sentencing. Racial profiling, arbitrary detention, brutality, and abuse in detention and incarceration are widespread.
We need leaders willing to acknowledge and address that head-on. We must strengthen due process, civil rights and civil liberties, and enforce the U.S. Constitution’s 14th amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law for all — regardless of race or class. That’s why I will champion a new Civil Rights Act in the United States Senate. The answer is reform, not defunding the police. There must be accountability for brutality, racial profiling, race or class bias. That’s how we will rebuild trust between communities and law enforcement.
Q: What do you propose to do to address climate change?
A: To create jobs, grow our economy, and protect our planet for future generations, I’ll champion a historic American infrastructure plan with an unprecedented investment in clean energy. The scientific consensus is clear: uncontrolled greenhouse gas pollution is fast changing our climate, and if we don’t control this pollution there will be catastrophic implications for our health, prosperity, and security. That’s the overwhelming consensus of peer-reviewed science, the military, our intelligence agencies, and NASA. Nevertheless, many elected officials refuse to acknowledge this or act because the fossil fuel industry has purchased their loyalty. Georgia’s agriculture, aquaculture, coastal settlements, and barrier islands are seriously threatened by inaction. In the Senate I’ll make policy based on science — not lobbying by polluters. I’ll support re-entry into the Paris Climate Accords and restored U.S. leadership on the environment. I’ll push for fast advancements in sustainability and work to reverse Trump’s rollbacks of environmental standards.
Q: What would you do to improve American’s access to affordable healthcare?
A: Georgians across our state are suffering because insurance and drug companies buy off politicians with campaign cash, and those same politicians let the insurance and drug companies write the rules to rip us off.
Doctors and nurses like my wife Alisha, an OBGYN — they do their jobs. It’s the politicians who are failing us. Lawmakers like Senator Perdue, who has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from insurance and drug companies, aren’t looking out for the people they represent; they’re looking out for their corporate donors.
As I said above, I’ll work to make quality health care a simple, affordable, and reassuring reality for all of us by cracking down on price gouging by drug and insurance companies, protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions, delivering federal resources to strengthen Georgia’s hospitals, and supporting Medicaid expansion.
Q: What would you do to address the student loan debt millions of Americans face?
A: No one should have to take on a penny of debt to get a degree from a public college or an HBCU. I’ll work to make degrees from public colleges and HBCUs free of debt.
I will also work to make trade school and vocational training tuition-free.
For those already struggling to pay off their student loans, I support a generous forgiveness programs, caps on interest rates to relieve financial stress for all borrowers, and a program that links Federal student loan payments to income so paying off student loans is never a financial hardship.
Q: Would you support legislation that prohibits elected officials from owning individual stocks to prevent insider trading and passing legislation that is financially advantageous for them?
A: Yes. I have committed to follow “The Isakson Standard” set by former Sen. Johnny Isakson and place my stock portfolio into blind trust the day I am sworn in to the United States Senate. My opponent still refuses to place his stocks in a blind trust, even as he has been under investigation for insider trading by multiple federal agencies. And in the U.S. Senate, I will champion legislation to require blind trusts for all Members of Congress as part of my broader anti-corruption reform agenda.
Q: Would you vote to expand the Supreme Court?
A: We shouldn’t expand the Supreme Court just because a justice may be confirmed with whom we disagree on policy.
Q: What do you feel is the most important information for voters to know about you and your campaign?
A: Since 2013, I have been the CEO of Insight TWI, a 30-year old media production company that produces investigations of corruption, organized crime, and war crimes that are broadcast internationally to a global television audience of hundreds of millions. In recent years, we have investigated and exposed sexual slavery of women and girls by ISIS, crooked judges, foreign officials who steal U.S-funded food and medical aid, contract killers, human traffickers, war crimes, and bribery.
I’m running to ensure every Georgian has great health care, to deliver historic investments in clean energy and infrastructure, to rebuild this economy so working families and small businesses thrive, and to root out corruption so government serves the people — not private interests with legions of lobbyists. The corruption of our campaign finance system is destroying our democracy and has undermined effective, fact-based policymaking. I will make policy on the basis of science, evidence, and expertise.