In the May 22 primary election, residents of Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, which encompasses Athens, will have the opportunity to vote for their U.S. representative.
Incumbent Jody Hice, Bradley Griffin and Joe Hunt will be the Republican candidates on the ballot. Tabitha Johnson-Green, Chalis Montgomery and Richard Dien Winfield will be the Democratic candidates on the ballot.
Chalis Montgomery promises to “fight like a mother” if elected to Georgia’s 10th Congressional District.
Montgomery, a Democratic candidate, was inspired to run for office in 2017 when she attended a healthcare event hosted by current Rep. Jody Hice. Hice voted against the Affordable Care Act, which Montgomery saw as a vote against her daughter Gwendolyn, who suffers from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
“I thought it was time to stand up and join the 383 other women [politicans] across the country who are saying enough is enough,” Montgomery said.
During campaigning, she realized candidates have a power to connect people and organizations within a community, which is how she wants to start working on expanding healthcare.
“If we find that Baldwin Hospital is struggling, but Morgan County’s Hospital has found a solution that’s a little out of the box — which they have — then I can connect those resources,” Montgomery said. “I can then drill down even more into the local community and find help for those who really need it.”
Specifically, she wants healthcare for all, more maternal care and multi-faceted solutions for the opioid crisis.
Montgomery considers it a goal of both political parties to improve jobs, education and healthcare, so Congress as a whole should be able to work together on these issues.
“I think we can pass some education funding,” Montgomery said. “I think we can pass some additional measures to at least shore up Medicaid funding if not repair the healthcare system. I think that would be a stretch for two years but that would be a goal.”
Just as her daughter has inspired her to improve healthcare, she is also focused on improving education opportunities for pre-K through college.
As a music educator, she is also inspired by her students.
“My focus has always been on children and families, from teaching and mentoring to advocacy. My fight has not been for notoriety or accolades, but for decency and compassion,” said Montgomery on her campaign website.
She currently works as a piano teacher in Bethlehem where she lives with her daughter and husband of 17 years. She also previously worked as a children’s minister.
In her ministry work, she advocated for immigration reform through the Evangelical Immigration Table, where she worked to push representatives to enact common-sense immigration reform.
This work translates into her campaign platform, where she states “no human is illegal” and wants the nation to provide a clear path to citizenship for immigrants, according to her site.
“This is a large district, and the ideal candidate to take on Hice in the fall is going to be someone who can have a 25-county appeal,” Montgomery said. “In an era of so many women running for office, we just really feel it’s time to make that connection here in this district.”