From Georgia State to Capitol Hill — Meet the Georgia State students and alumni running for office

Georgia State student Jorge Granados is maintaining academic hours while running for the House of Representatives. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

It is not hard to believe that many Georgia State students and alumni have the motivation to join politics when the Georgia State Capitol is only a few blocks away from the Downtown campus. 

Georgia State has students and graduates who are actively involved in politics or even candidates for office.

“A lot of my donor base are friends and colleagues from school,” Ebony Carter said. “Many of my professors have supported me by posting my website and talking about me in class.”

Carter, who is running for the Georgia House of Representatives District 110, expressed how her time at Georgia State has impacted her political campaign. 

District 110 is made up of parts of Bucks County, Henry County and Newton County. Carter says she chose this district because this is where she grew up and lives, and she understands the people there well.

“I felt like my district and Georgians in general deserved better representation, but I didn’t see anyone stepping up, so I decided I would,” she said. 

Carter’s platform consists of advocating for better health care and more affordable education and equity for all people. She feels that no person should have to go broke because of health care and will push for more Medicaid coverage and lower insurance premiums. 

“For the people, by the people” is Carter’s logo for her campaign. 

“I’m running to be a voice for my community and to uplift the immigrants, first-generation Americans, working-class people and people of color in this district because we have never had representation at the congressional level,” Nabilah Islam, U.S. House of Representatives District 7 candidate, said. 

Islam’s platform will consist of Medicare for All, immigration reform, canceling college debt and pushing for the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

She recently declared her support for the Green New Deal, which is a legislation package hoping to address climate change and economic inequality. 

Islam’s advocacy work started when she was young: Her mother got into an accident while at work, and the insurance company did not want to compensate her for her injuries.

She helped her mom find a lawyer and fought with her to receive the benefits to which she was entitled.

Both Islam’s parents are immigrants from Bangladesh who came to America for work and to give her and her little brother a better life. 

Islam attended Georgia State from 2008-12, where she received a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She was active in many organizations and programs, such as AIESEC, an exchange program that allowed foreign and domestic students to find and apply for internships in Atlanta and out of the country.

Islam associated her time in AIESEC with her fight for immigration rights in “the fourth largest diverse district in the world,” according to Islam. 

Jorge Granados, a student on the Dunwoody campus, is also running for office. 

Granados is running for the Georgia House of Representatives District 99, which is located in Gwinnett County. 

“A vote for me is a vote for your choice” is the logo of Granados campaign. 

Granados said that if people vote for him, he will continue to work for them and make sure their voice is heard.

He said his inspiration to run for office came from seeing the results of the 2016 election, and it made him want to get involved and do something. 

Granados also references his time as an intern for state Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero as getting him involved with politics early and working at the Georgia State Capitol.

Lopez Romero is currently the representative for District 99. She was recently placed on the U.S. House of Representatives District 7 ballot against Nabilah Islam and other Democratic candidates. 

Her start in government politics began in 2004 when she attended Georgia State, where she majored in political science with a concentration in international affairs.

Lopez Romero spoke about going to the Georgia State Capitol as a student volunteer and sitting in on committee meetings about immigration policy bills and advocating for the people they affected.

“Being an elected official is not working for the government to me; it’s having a constituency base where you’re voted to represent [voters’] interests specifically,” she said.

Lopez Romero’s platform for both offices will consist of immigration reform and education legislation, two subjects she said are very important to her. 

Both her parents did not receive an education higher than elementary school, so her policy toward schools is to make sure they are properly funded. 

“When I vote on something, it isn’t just for House District 99; it’s a statewide impact,” Lopez Romero said.

Gwinnett County and parts of Forsyth County have a large population of documented and undocumented immigrants. She feels her history as an immigration attorney makes her qualified to continue to represent this county at the national level.

If elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Lopez Romero wants to change how voters see their congressional leader. She understands that her district will continue to grow rapidly over the next few years and wants to be prepared for when that happens.

Lopez Romero mentioned three factors she finds important to address before this growth happens: water resources, infrastructure and public transportation. 

“For me, as a congressperson for the 7th, I see it as my job to deal with those local issues too, when most congressional officials would say it is a country issue,” she said. 

Lopez Romero thinks that getting on one accord and finding the right jobs for the people in her district will help it grow in a positive way. 

“Because I have done all that work on the ground and I understand those local issues and I have those relationships with the organizations, I want to make sure as a congressional leader of office that we are dealing with those issues locally,” she said. 

Lopez Romero still continues to advocate for students at Georgia State by going back to speak to classes and Latino and black organizations about her work in the legislative office.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article stated that Jorge Granados was from the Clarkston campus and that the 2018 election results inspired him to run for office. The updated version includes his correct campus, Dunwoody, and correctly states that the 2016 election results inspired him to run.

Updated 03/10/2020 5:00 p.m.