Rep. Erick Allen, D-Smyrna, says he is ready to be Georgia’s next Lieutenant Governor. He has officially filed a declaration of intent to begin campaigning and fundraising for the position.
“I just think Georgia is ready for new leadership. We have got to move Georgia forward,” Allen told CBS46’s Hayley Mason in a sit-down interview at the State Capitol at the end of the 2021 legislative session.
Allen was sworn into office in 2019 as a resident of Smyrna.
“When I first ran, I was working for the state, and even today I think I am one of the only legislators who has held a position in state government that has not been appointed,” Allen stated.
The State Representative who represents Cobb and Fulton Counties says his first motivation is increasing access to healthcare. After becoming ill from Crohn’s disease, Allen says medical bills mounted after undergoing six surgeries in five months—without insurance.
“Because I couldn’t get insurance after all of those surgeries, I basically ended up losing my business,” Allen said.
He sees Medicaid expansion and continuing The Affordable Care Act as an economic and business necessity for Georgians.
“The way the system has been traditionally set up is the only way to get quality or consistent healthcare is to have a job,” Allen said. “So, it basically keeps people confined into opportunities they may not think are the best for them, and when have you have a new idea, you have some innovation, and you want to step out, but you can’t because you can’t get healthcare. That really is a limiting factor to entrepreneurship and the growth of our economy.”
Allen, a husband, father, and business owner says he has a unique perspective as an executive in state government and now a legislator. He says he plans to “put all those leadership components together to really navigate the future of Georgia.”
Allen says Georgia needs good leadership through difficult moments and controversial issues like the current voting law fallout.
Allen has been an outspoken opponent of the Election Integrity Act and says better state leaders would have spoken up more firmly from the House and Senate well when they disagreed with aspects of the bill.
“We have spent the last forty days [in the legislature] pushing Georgia backwards over 40 years,” Allen told Mason. “It is time to have a completely different narrative and someone who can have the conversation and articulate the value of everyday Georgians,” Allen said, adding that he believes the legislature too often works for special interests and private groups.
“I think Georgia is ready for progressive sound leadership. I don’t think of this as a red-blue thing. I think it’s leadership,” Allen stated.
Allen says he doesn’t currently have a relationship with current Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan or House Speaker David Ralston, two top Republicans in the state. He says his “progressive leadership” will speak to both Democrats and Republicans who want progress in the state that has been divided.
“I really was thoughtful and prayerful about where I could best be utilized to continue to serve my community, but also serve my state and I think this is the right place,” Allen said.