BY SUPRIYA D G
Atlanta, GA: Amreeta Regmi, Democratic candidate for Georgia State House District 95 talks tough about her political aspirations and her empathy with the residents she seeks to represent. Born in Kathmandu,Nepal, Regmi has a B.A. from Columbia Pacific University, an MBA from Brenau University, and a PhD in Environmental Sciences from Wageningen University, The Netherlands. She is fluent in four languages and has worked in leadership capacity in several private as well as non-profit organizations. She lives in the city of Peachtree Corners with her two sons.
Regmi will face Republican incumbent Tom Rice in November. Her candidature has been endorsed by several eminent members of the society. She talks to NRI Pulse about breathing new life into District 95 and saving it from the challenges of unchecked modernization.
You are projected as the new face with fresh ideas, an image that you also promote. What are your specific concerns that need urgent attention?
I am running because there is a disconnect between the Legislature and the people they have taken an oath to serve. The voters of District 95 tell me that they feel disconnected from the Legislature and specifically their representation. They are saying that they need to be closer to the Legislature. For the past 18 years, our district has changed significantly, while our representation has not. We need representation that understands the realities we face with a long-term focus, so we can adapt to a changing environment. One main concern is the fact that our district is losing jobs to more competitive districts. Job creation is an urgent issue that needs to be addressed. When we ignore the existing businesses and the overall environment, we will lose jobs to the district that stay ahead of the curve.
I understand the needs and vision of our district. Our district has not been able to keep pace with the changes and adapt to the demands of our market. In the past year alone, the district lost two big employers, Fiserv and NCR, which moved to nearby competing counties. We should be attracting businesses, not letting them slip away.
We need representation that understands new business models that drive our economy. We live in a digital age in which technology is becoming the medium between a business product and the consumers. We know that we can stay ahead by enabling and encouraging free market competition, for example by allowing technologies such as Uber taxi service to operate freely in our state.
We need a stronger voice at the Legislature to protect our district and represent our interests. I am the right candidate to represent District 95 in Georgia’s State House because I believe in bringing the Legislature close to the people and help give them a stronger voice in decision-making.
You have been speaking of environmental conservation and advocating appropriate policy to protect the natural environment. What are the challenges that you foresee?
Balancing the economic and environmental needs of our community is a challenge. We have aging infrastructure to deal with. Our growing demand puts additional pressure on zoning and land development to meet the economic and environmental needs of our community. There’s plenty of work to be done to bring our aging infrastructure up to speed by retrofitting and rehabilitation. The challenges with growth are how to balance the needs of business and industry with the environmental needs of the community. Both can achieve maximum benefit and still work in tandem. I firmly believe that at the end of the day, best results are achieved by involving the community in local decision-making. I see this democracy in action every day when the municipal governments in my district sometimes make these difficult decisions where a delicate balance must be made between competing demands of our economy and the environment.
The voting public is categorized on the basis of different parameters such as ethnicity, race, class and so on. How do you bridge a gap between such diverse groups?
Having worked in different countries and cultures, I have the skills and capabilities required to work across different social groups and represent everyone, bringing them together. Being deeply involved in my community through a number of civic and business organizations, I have had many opportunities to bridge the gap between diverse groups. Reaching out to my community in different cities in District 95 – Peachtree Corners,Berkeley Lake,Duluth, Norcross and Johns Creeks is part of my job.
When elected, I will represent everyone. This is why I want to have a seat to the table in General Assembly, so that decisions that influence policies benefit everyone. I will do what I have always done, work with people through a professional lens and focus on results and outcomes to benefit us all. The citizens of our district are ready for their voices to be heard and the only thing that will keep them silent is by putting them in their “categories”. We are all one, all “Americans” and that is what makes the United States so unique.
You have been candid about your origins and upbringing as well as the ups and downs in your life. Would you say you represent the changing face of America?
I represent the face of what America has always been – a place that offers opportunity and freedom to anyway and everyone no matter who they are or where they come from. It is because of this uniqueness, America stands today as the best country in the world, where we all can follow and realize our dreams. I come with a technical professional background, a ground where it has taken decades of struggle for women to rise up to the ranks. When I did my early college work over 30 years ago, I went to a school similar to Gwinnett Tech, where I was perhaps one of the only four female students out of a class of two hundred. I might say, our political sector currently seen as a field mostly dominated by men, is another one where there are countless possibilities for women to integrate and rise up to the ranks.
If this is the start of your political marathon, how does it look ahead?
When I decided to run for office last December, I knew this would be a long haul for me. Since I do not come out of a political establishment, I also knew that I had to make personal sacrifices to run for office. I was interested in running my own campaign, that’s why I took a year off from work to dedicate my time to reach out to my community and let them know that I am their candidate. I knew I had to work extra hard.
I am not a politician. I am a mother, an international development consultant and a community leader. I am going to work hard and do what I have always done and help our community. The one thing about politics, no matter how much effort you put out, or how many hands you shake, or how much money you raise, you don’t get to choose your next move. The voters decide that for you. For now, I am only looking towards the Election Day, November 4th.