One of the state’s most conservative senators, Hunter Hill, is squaring off against political newcomer Jaha Howard for the Senate district six seat.
The district covers parts of Smyrna, Vinings, Marietta, Sandy Springs and Atlanta, a diverse and growing area of Northwest metro Atlanta.
What does it take to be one of the state’s most conservative state legislators? In 2015, the American Conservative Union (ACU) Foundation gave Sen. Hill a perfect rating for his pro-charter school, pro-”religious freedom” (anti-gay) stances.
For the 2016 legislative session, Hill’s 100 percent rating dropped. Now, don’t get too excited, this was no change of heart or politics. He voted in favor of campus carry and campus carry lite (allowing stun guns), and continued to support “religious freedom” legislation.
His rating dropped because the ACU is so conservative, several Republican-led, Republican-supported measures faced ACU scrutiny and opposition. Party loyalty apparently has a cost, and that cost is the “award for conservative excellence” from a national conservative watchdog.
However, Hill fully deserves his “award for conservative excellence,” from the ACU. What they didn’t review was some of the legislation he has sponsored, and that’s where Hill’s conservative values fully come through.
This includes legislation reducing TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) benefits, pushing questionable alternatives to actually funding public education (as has been previously covered here), and supporting xenophobic policies meant to prevent undocumented folks from obtaining drivers licenses.
It was a bit shocking to realize that this particular Senator represents a very diverse, metro Atlanta district. This district is made up of 43 percent people of color, and, like much of the state, is trending to become a “majority-minority” area. It’s also a highly educated district, with nearly two-thirds of residents having more than a high school diploma (which is double the statewide level of folks with a higher education degree).
In the past three months alone, Hill has fundraised over $128,000. This has included support from Sec. of State Brian Kemp, the well-connected law firm Dentons, and almost every PAC you can think of.
If you want to find out more about the candidates, the League of Women Voters has spearheaded a non-partisan voter guide, publishing the candidate’s answers to some great questions. I strongly recommend checking it out.