Name: Eddie Lumsden
Office sought: State House District 12
Occupation: Retired state trooper, co-owner Teresa Lumsden Insurance Agency
What specific issues would you like to focus on in the Georgia General Assembly next year and why do they resonate with you?
As chairman of the House Insurance Committee, much of my focus will be on legislation that protects consumers. Georgia is No. 2 in the country for insurance fraud, ranking only behind Florida. This fraud costs the average family between $400 and $700 annually. We are constantly looking for ways to tackle fraud across the state. I am working on updating our budget processes to allow us to fully fund the Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division to better tackle insurance fraud across the state. We are also strengthening our relationships with local law enforcement and DAs to better prosecute those individuals who commit fraud.
Without using trigger words such as “defund the police” or “back the blue,” explain what the Legislature could do to improve local law enforcement.
The Legislature does not interact directly with local law enforcement but we do provide resources through Homeland Security and the GBI Crime Lab. Funding request from DHS affecting local law enforcement is given high priority. Also funding for the GBI Crime Lab has a direct bearing on providing necessary test results for local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute crime. As a retired law enforcement officer I understand the need. As a legislator I will continue working to see that funding for this priority is included in the state budget.
Is there anything the state should do to help students, parents and educators deal more effectively with COVID-19 restrictions?
The challenge we all face in dealing with COVID is finding balance between safety and living life as normally as possible. The governor, acting on recommendations from the CDC, the Department of Public Health and the State Department of Education has issued guidelines that provide the framework for us to do that. The effectiveness of these measures are constantly being evaluated to see if modifications are called for. It is up to us as individuals to put the guideline into practice. Any additional measures would come from recommendations provided by CDC and DPH.
Do you wear a mask or face covering when you go out in public? Why or why not?
I wear a mask when I am inside a public place such as a church or grocery store.
I have read different opinions about the effectiveness of a mask but it seems to me that wearing a mask, social distancing and enhanced attention to hygiene are rather small inconveniences and common sense would seem to indicate they are reasonable measures.
State revenue is holding steady but unemployment claims remain high. How will that play into your budget priorities?
The budget is prepared based on revenue projections and forecast from our state economist. Since we are constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget (we cannot spend more than we receive in revenue) we generally create a budget based on the most conservative estimates and adjust mid year. Unemployment figures are but one factor in our overall process. Our budget priorities are still our priorities. The level of funding for these priorities may be impacted but the projected unemployment numbers are already factored into our considerations.