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Candidate profile: Doctor to run for Sen. District 17
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Dr. Nelva Lee of Locust Grove is running for State Senate District 17, focusing her platform on small business development and improving education.

Lee has a three-step plan to revitalize small business in the district.

The first step is to give incentives to large corporations to contract with small businesses owned by veterans and women.

The second step is to "remove the red tape from the tax abatement programs for small businesses to hire workers," Lee said.

The third step is to expand the tax abatement programs for industries in science, technology, engineering and math. Lee said this will give Georgia's workers a leg up on the global competition.

By launching and running the Medical Interpreting and Translating Institute Online, Lee said she has the expertise of how to navigate small businesses through the economy.

"I know what it takes to make a small business survive and thrive in our economy," Lee said. "I want to bring that expertise to revitalize small business in our district."

MiTio is an online certification program designed to provide the skills necessary to become a professional medical interpreter. MiTio has operated debt free since its inception in 2004 under the leadership of Lee.

To tackle her goal of improving education, Lee also has another three-pronged solution.

First, Lee proposes that Head Start education in ages 0-3 should be expanded because these ages are the most crucial in starting building blocks for language development.

Second, the state should work with schools to "make the classroom a more student-learner focuses environment," Lee said.

Third, Lee proposes working with middle and high school students in an effort to improve math and science skills by "changing the culture of recognition for academic achievement in these areas."

With more than 10 years of faculty experience in the university level, Lee said she is qualified to tackle improvements to education.

"This affords me first-hand knowledge of the challenges facing the school system in adequately preparing our high school graduates for college and work readiness," Lee said.

Lee served Director of Patient Advocacy for the Grady Health System where she came up with the idea for MiTio.

"During my tenure, the interpreting services [program in my program] was recognized nationwide for its effectiveness in providing interpreting services," Lee said. "We discovered, however, that there was a lack of flexible training options for interpreters."

Lee immigrated to the United States from Panama during the Noriega dictatorship in the 1980s.

"Because of that, I detest government corruption and take being a public servant very seriously," Lee said.

Lee is has been married for 12 years to Donnie Lee and has two boys, Donnie Jr. and Robert. The family attends Eagles Landing First Baptist Church.

To contact Lee, email or call (678) 763-6150. You can visit her website at