Candidate for Secretary of State, Democrat
Occupation(s): Director, Women’s Democracy Lab
Bee is one of five daughters, born to a former refugees who fled from Vietnam. She grew up in Augusta, graduated from a Georgia public high school, and attended George State University. Bee made history when she was the first Asian American woman elected to the Georgia State Assembly in House District 89, the seat formerly held by Stacey Abrams. She has spent her career as a leading advocate for voting rights, public education, and criminal justice reform. Bee believes in the power of everyday Georgians and knows firsthand the importance of a free and fair democracy—and that’s why she’s running to be Georgia’s next Secretary of State.
Image source: twitter.com/beeforgeorgia
Our health is affected by a variety of factors that are directly influenced by policies made by and supported by the Secretary of State:
What priorities or key issues will you address if elected to this office?
Ensure all eligible Georgians are able to access the ballot box without barriers. All of our rights, including the right to make our own healthcare choices, begin at the ballot box.
Invest in local election boards to ensure we run free, fair, and efficient elections in all 159 counties.
Equip Georgians with voter education and communication and bring transparency to the office of Secretary of State.
What key experiences would you bring to this role?
During my tenure as a legislator, I successfully overturned Georgia’s “exact match” voter registration law, restoring the right to vote to 50,000 Georgians. In 2020, I exposed false claims of voter fraud in Georgia and single-handedly debunked data cited in a Trump campaign lawsuit in what the national press called “a rare real-time fact check of the unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud.”
As a lawmaker, I successfully worked across the aisle, including passing life saving legislation to protect victims of dating violence. I will continue to work on common ground issues, such as license reciprocity, so that we can expand access to our workforce.
Biggest Issues Facing GA
What are the biggest issues that the secretary of state will need to face in the next four years?
The Secretary of State’s office oversees our election system. As Secretary of State, I will work to expand voter access, resource our election boards, and combat election disinformation. The Secretary of State’s office also oversees 42 professional licensing boards, including nurses and social workers. As healthcare workers find themselves under unprecedented scrutiny, they need a Secretary of State who believes that healthcare choices should be between patients and medical professionals. My opponent believes in a total abortion ban without exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.
Charters for Medical Practices
Georgia consistently ranks among the top 10 states with the poorest health access and health outcomes due to a high percentage of uninsured adults, primary care shortages of more than 59% in rural areas, and lack of resources in rural medical communities (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic). What about Georgia makes it a favorable state to operate a medical practice? What, if any, measures do you plan to take to encourage the chartering of more medical practices in Georgia’s underserved areas?
As a lawmaker, I have been a strong proponent for Medicaid expansion, and Georgia Republicans have refused to take this important step to provide over half a million Georgians access to healthcare. In the wake of Roe v. Wade and the six-week abortion ban, Georgians will continue to suffer from mother mortality and other poor healthcare outcomes.
The Secretary of State’s office maintains licenses for nurses and other healthcare workers. If Georgia healthcare workers are subject to losing their licenses because of the new abortion ban, I will not use resources to strip nurses of their licenses. My opponent is staunchly anti-choice and does not believe in abortion care, even in cases of rape, incest, or to prevent the death of mother. As Secretary of State, I will also focus on license reciprocity and remove unnecessary barriers to licensure in the healthcare field.
Equity in Business Charters
Do you believe all Georgians have equal access to securing business charters? Are there barriers that specific communities face?
As Secretary of State, I would streamline the website and invest in language access for communities with limited English proficiency. I would also build regional partnerships with local chambers to provide support structures to minority owned businesses and women owned businesses.
Election Reform and S.B. 202
Do you support the enactment of Georgia’s Election Integrity Act of 2021 (S.B. 202)? Why or why not? What other policies related to voting would you support?
As a lawmaker, I voted against Senate Bill 202 and fought against the passage of the bill. In the last four years, voting in Georgia has become more restrictive, not more expansive. I believe that every eligible voter should be able to cast their ballot with barriers. I support returning to the 24/7 hour secure and monitored drop boxes, expanding access to absentee voting, and same-day voter registration. I support repealing the food/water ban, the mass voter challenges, and the partisan takeover of local election boards.
Voting Rights and Equity
Do you believe access to voting is equitable in Georgia? Why or why not? If so, what would you do to preserve this equity? If not, what would you do to correct these inequities?
Voting access in our country is not equitable, though we have made gains since the inception of our country. However, Georgia still suffers from inequities when it comes to equal access to the ballot box. As recently as 2020, Black voters waited in line up to 11 hours just to exercise their constitutional right. Despite the gains we have made, voting in Georgia has become more restrictive since the passage of Senate Bill 202. After the passage of SB202, absentee ballot rejection rates have increased, and studies show that the reduction in drop boxes impacts urban and suburban areas the most, where many voters of color live. As Secretary of State, I would expand access to voting, equip local counties with resources and training, and invest in language access, voter education and communication.
Independent Redistricting Commission
Do you support the creation of an independent redistricting commission? Why or why not?
Yes. As a lawmaker, I voted against the maps passed by the Georgia General Assembly, which were partisan and diluted the power of minority communities. Though Georgians added 1 million people of color to our population over the last ten years, the maps did not reflect the growth of our communities. Redistricting maps should be fair and nonpartisan – politicians should not be able to choose their voters.
Appointed versus Elected Secretary of State
Twelve states have decided to appoint secretaries of state as an appointed position, whereas 35 elect their secretaries of state. How might running for this office - rather than being appointed - change the way you view your role?
The Secretary of State’s duties and responsibilities should not be seen through a partisan lens. As Secretary of State, I will protect the freedom to vote for all eligible Georgians and I will not change the rules to favor any partisan group.