Policy / Ethics and Public Integrity /
Policy

Ethics and Public Integrity

Our Ethics and Public Integrity Platform has one core message: I promise to serve you as the next governor of Georgia. My job will be to earn and keep your trust through an ethical, open, transparent, and secure state government focused on the public interest—not special interests and not my interests. As governor, I will be committed to expanding on my proven track record to build a state where every Georgian can trust that the office of the governor is serving on their behalf.

I have built my career on ethical and transparent leadership. I volunteered as legal counsel to newly-elected Mayor Shirley Franklin’s ethics commission in 2002, and I was a legal advisor to the city’s Ethics Office as Deputy City Attorney from 2003 to 2006. As a state legislator, I held frequent town halls in my district and regularly distributed a legislative session email to constituents detailing my votes on legislation and served on the House Ethics Committee. For constitutional amendments, I explained the pros and cons of the legislation and my reasoning for how I planned to vote. I consistently supported transparency measures, including a bill to launch the Open Georgia website on government finances and a bill requiring an annual accounting of tax breaks. I served as a board member of Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University and co-edited a book on ethical leadership in the 21st century.

My Ethics and Public Integrity Platform rewrites the rules to work in favor of all families, making state government more open, transparent, and accountable to Georgians. Right now, most Georgians find our state government too complex, too inaccessible and too opaque. They have little confidence in elected officials, question the motivations of people working in government, believe their tax dollars are wasted and assume decisions are made in someone else’s best interest. Too often, they’re right. No citizen should trust those in power who are also willing to ban peaceful protest, censor history and curtail women’s bodily autonomy and access to healthcare. Under my leadership, everyone working for my administration will be held to the highest of ethical standards. We will make it our duty to build trust in our state government. 

We can build a better Georgia for everyone, renew integrity in governance, and earn confidence from the people of our state. If we do right by our people, we can get more done for our future, moving Georgia to its next and greatest chapter. My plan for strong ethical leadership as governor of Georgia will ensure that voters know I am always on their side, ready to serve.

High Ethical Standards

As public servants, we must protect fair and equal access to government services and put public interests over personal interests. As governor, I will:

  • Lead by Example. I will make responsible decisions with regard to my personal finances and professional affiliations, including walling myself off from financial decisions that may create a conflict of interest. I will step down from public boards and I will refuse all compensation for my service. I will meet all ethical obligations, written and assumed, to ensure I am not subject to undue influence. 
  • Establish a Code of Ethics. Within the first 30 days, I will Issue an Executive Order for employees of the Office of Governor, including the Governor, and other state employees under the governor’s purview and require annual completion of a conflict of interest statement. Office of Governor officials and employees must be free from bias or personal agenda, and their sole purpose of doing the work must be to help the people of Georgia. Each Governor’s office employee will be required to participate in an annual ethics training in order to remain employed to guarantee standards are understood and met.
  • Offer Lobby Expenditure Reporting in Real Time. Lobby expenditure information is already mandatory and collected by the Ethics Commission from lobbyists. However, this data should be made available to Georgians without question or delay. A searchable state database function will be added to the Ethics Commission website, where lobbyists are already required to submit regular reports on lobbying expenditures. Georgians should be able to know who is influencing our legislators.
  • Strengthen Transparency Requirements for Economic Development Subsidies. The role of the state includes expanding economic opportunity, but the governor must also be the first to prevent corruption and ensure government accountability. Georgia currently struggles to meet even minimum standards of online transparency for economic development subsidies — leaving the average citizen unaware  of how billions of taxpayer dollars are spent. I will mandate regular development subsidy audits to examine the role and use of tax incentives, and I will expand access to online data.
  • Publish an Annual Tax Expenditure Report. As governor, I will require an annual report analyzing and grading the impact of tax credits, exemptions, and deductions on the state budget and actual economic development.

Our Work

Georgians face complex challenges across our state. They deserve a leader who will show up, listen, stand up for their issues, and then report back on the work being done. As governor, I will:

  • Provide Access for Constituents. In recent years, failures in the Executive Branch have been blamed on various constitutional officers, but the governor cannot ignore the needs of the people. I will appoint a Director of Constituent Services to link citizen concerns and requests with my administration and act as liaison with other constitutional offices.
  • Listen to Georgians. I will hold two listening sessions in each congressional district in my first year that are open to the public and to the press, offering an opportunity for me to hear your priorities, ideas, and questions.
  • Transparency in State Government. I will launch a Georgia Performance Dashboard so Georgians can easily see where we stand on important measures in education, health, transportation, financial management, and more. Georgia has performance measures for state agencies, but we need to improve the accessibility of these features for all Georgians.

Harassment

All workers—including public workers—deserve to feel safe and free from harassment. As governor, I will:

  • Strengthen Protections and Practices. As governor, I will ensure practices and protections against harassment within the executive branch are strong, comprehensive, and just. Collaborate with legislators to define the rules of conduct, construct clear pathways for complaints, require sexual harassment prevention programs and training, and ensure appropriate penalties.
  • Georgia Commission on Human Rights. In light of the attacks on our civil and human rights, I will reform the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity as the Georgia Commission on Human Rights. This restructured commission will have the ability to set clear pathways for harassment complaints, facilitate equal opportunity complaints, serve as a referral point for Georgia workers, and oversee mediation or investigations into harassment for those workers who do not fall under federal purview.

Data and Services

Governments hold some of the most sensitive information about our citizens—court records, tax returns, and medical histories, among others. Cyber-attacks can cause havoc on our vital services like public safety and water systems and put our citizens and businesses at risk. We must be vigilant in protecting our citizens and their public services in the face of ongoing attacks. 

  • Partner with Georgia Technology Authority. I will work with the Cybersecurity Board to continue to identify and address data security gaps impacting our state, invest in technology infrastructure to mitigate security risks, and train employees to be aware and responsive.
  • Support Innovation. I will expand the Georgia Cyber Center to ensure the Center stands as a national model for collaboration in cybersecurity. We will be ready and resilient through coordinated planning across state government, U.S. Army Cyber Command, local governments, higher education, and the private sector.
Policy / Ethics and Public Integrity /
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