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Karen René Shines At Televised Congressional Debate!

April 28, 2024

ATLANTA – Karen René . a leading candidate in the May 21 primary for representative of Georgia Congressional District 13, outperformed three of her opponents Sunday during a debate sponsored by the Associated Press and televised by Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Renè, a three-term East Point, Georgia, council member, and former mayor pro tem, highlighted her experience handling problems for mid-sized cities like those that make up most of the six-county district and her experience and proven legislative ability to work with others.

“Serving as a city council is a bipartisan process,” she said. “When your constituents call for your help or they need major issues addressed, it’s not about Republicans or Democrats.  It’s about serving the people. My heart is about serving. As a representative, I will bring that same passion to Congress as I represent the people I serve.”

Also participating in the debate were Brian Johnson, Marcus Flowers, and Rashid Malik. Unlike Renè, none of the other participants have ever held office serving voters, elected, or appointed.

Notably absent were incumbent Congressman David Scott and candidate Mark Baker. Both were represented during the debate by empty podiums. Renè was asked by one of the panelists about their absence and whether there is a need for candidates to make themselves available to voters.

“It’s important to be engaged with residents wherever the residents are,” she said. “We need to be present and involved. It’s a disservice when our elected officials and others who say they want to serve our citizens are not involved.”

Renè called for an immediate cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas that has claimed the lives of more than 34,000 people, the vast majority of which are women and children.

“We need to immediately end the slaughter of innocent men, women and children who have nothing to do with this conflict,” she said. “Then we need to call the nations in the region together to work out a lasting structure for peace. We need to educate ourselves about what is at the core of the struggle and then find solutions. Education is the key.”

Panelists questioned Renè how, as representative for the residents of Clayton, Dekalb, Henry, Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale counties, she would share the responsibility of advocating for those constituents with other congressional members who would also represent parts of those counties.

“Collaboration and working together to bring funding to our community, that’s the key,” she said. “For instance, Gwinnett is a community with aging infrastructure.  We have to come together to bring back funding to fix aging infrastructure to make sure Gwinnett continues to grow.”

The candidates were also asked if they would have voted, as Congress did recently, to force the sale of TikTok because the Chinese-owned company allegedly represents a threat to national security.

“Yes, I would,” Renè said of the initiative, which is supported by the White House. “I believe President Biden is right.  It’s critical for us to move forward with his initiative. We must keep Americans safe. To have our personal and confidential information in the hands of a foreign country could be devastating.”

Candidates also addressed the issues of criminal reform and how to increase wages.

Renè said reforms in the workplace in relation to criminal reform would go a long way to solving both issues.

“As of now, it’s difficult for people to come out of the prison system and get a decent job,” said Renè, who worked 14 years as the business liaison with the federal Job Corp program. “Their prison sentence is still being held over their heads after they have served their time.”

 “Redemption should be part of the process. Congress should work to ban the box on a job application that asks if a person has been convicted of a felony or served time in prison. We need to ban that box. Right now, people never even get to the interview process because of that box.”

She also noted the need for better education and more work for development.

“We can no longer leave anyone behind,” she said. “We have to make sure that everyone coming through our school system is educated.  College is not a good fit for everyone. So, we have to work with the Department of Labor, so that we are providing skill sets that will allow our young people to move forward.”

Ron Harris
Media Representative
Karen René for Congress