For Democratic candidate Doreen Williams, running for the state House of Representatives new District 92 seat is about bringing a focus on social justice.
The social studies teacher, doctoral candidate, and grandmother of nine said, “That social justice influences education, healthcare, business practices, ethics. It encompasses everything.”
“I think there tends to be an erosion. I see it happening around the United States, I don’t want it to happen in Georgia.”
This is Williams’ first time running for elected office. She has served as treasurer and been on the executive board of the Rockdale Democratic Party since 2006.
“I have thought of doing this for quite a long time. The timing wasn’t right,” Williams said. For the past five years, she’s been working on her doctorate degree with Georgia Southern while teaching full time for gifted seventh graders at Shiloh Middle School in Gwinnett.
However, by the time the redistricted maps were approved in December, Williams could “see the light at the end of the tunnel” in her doctorate work. She also realized she was living the new District 92, which has no incumbent and encompasses parts of the cities of Conyers and Lithonia.
“I did a lot of investigating, talked to a lot of people, tried to gather as much information I could. My husband and I sat down and talked about it.”
“I’ve looked at the local positions. This one seemed like a real challenge to take on,” Williams said. “It’s really exciting to me to move to a different level. I’ve been at the county level in the background. I’d like to work at the state level.”
Williams said her background would be applicable to being a state Representative. “I feel like my educational experiences are really valuable. The skills you develop as an educator, where you have to listen, and collaborate with parents and students and educators are really transferable. Developing relationships is a strength that I have. The knowledge of the issues and the ability to develop relationships with the people that need to be represented.”
In education, she felt the emphasis on testing detracted from preparing kids to be ready for jobs or college.
“A lot of the jobs that kids will have don’t even exist now. They’re going to have to come up with the answers. And they’re not prepared to do that. I feel like I can help influence legislation that helps address that,” she said.
On the issue of charter school authority and funding, she said “I think local schools and districts ought to have control over their money, rather than charter schools not being certified by the local districts and then they go to the state,” for approval, she said.
She also wants to make sure small business have what they need to succeed, she said. “We need to make sure there’s job creation in Rockdale County, to keep people in Rockdale.”
She and her husband John have been married for 37 years and have five children and nine grandchildren. The family moved to Rockdale 18 years ago and the children attended Heritage High School. The Williamses moved to Olde Town about eight years ago.
Williams also has served on the board for Viewpoint Health, formerly known as the Gwinnett, Rockdale Newton Community Service Board, for the past 3 years. She is a pianist for the Conyers Stake of the Church of Latter-Day Saints and she and her husband have served in church youth activities.
Williams, 61, grew up in a small town south of Fresno, California, in an agricultural area.
“I think that’s why I like Conyers. It reminds me a lot of my hometown,” Williams said.