Meet Justin Holsomback

A lifetime Cobb County Georgia resident, Justin Holsomback comes equipped with a strong focus on family, education, and economic opportunities.

Discover Where Justin Holsomback Stands On Issues

Georgia consistently ranks at or near the bottom when it comes to its public education performance. Year after year, students attend schools that are understaffed, ill-equipped, and who receive little support. Even in a county as relatively successful as Cobb County, our schools are not performing to their potential and our children are suffering for it. But what can we do to elevate and support our schools?

Make The Teaching Profession Accessible

The certification process for prospective teachers is increasingly complex, and in many cases, needlessly so. Passionate young adults must jump through hoop after hoop, pay expensive administration fees, and work 50 hour work weeks for free as student teachers. Then, once they graduate, they face low wages and poor professional support. It is common knowledge that half of our incoming teachers in this nation quit after the first five years.  A good teacher is one of the main keys to a student’s success in education. Our current system discourages otherwise perfectly capable adults from pursuing a career path in education. It’s especially discouraging to poor students who cannot afford fees that can reach hundreds of dollars on occasion on top of already insanely high tuition costs. In many cases, no matter how high the passion, it just seems unrealistic to pursue a career in the education field.

Let Teachers Teach, Not Test

Students in Cobb County are forced to endure over 60 days of standardized testing in an average school year. Teachers are forced to take time away from actual curriculum to prepare students for testing procedures. The students themselves face extreme pressure to perform well on these tests. For students with test anxiety, these tests, sometimes administered over the course of an entire week, can be debilitating. Study after study shows that these tests do not increase student performance or increase absorption of classroom material. This system of mass testing needs to be reformed from the ground up so teachers can focus on teaching information, not test strategies, and students can focus on learning.

Reward Great Teachers With Great Pay

Teacher salaries in Georgia also rank at or near the bottom year after year, when compared to the rest of the nation. Thinking back to my school years, I had some amazing, passionate teachers, who truly loved what they did and wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world. These individuals were, sadly, few and far between. Teaching children properly, instilling a passion for knowledge in the youth, is one of the most important jobs a person can take on, and yet, we don’t reward those who excel and undertake this responsibility. Forcing a teacher to teach to a test that may later impact their pay is just asking for a corrupt education system. Teachers need to be given a livable wage deserving of their position.

Mass Transit For Cobb

As someone who commutes to work every day, traffic has become exponentially worse in just a few short years. With further economic development that this county needs, it will only become worse. You do not make traffic better and accommodate a growing economy by adding a new lane to the interstate every few years. Cities around the nation with population figures similar to ours have, almost without fail, extensive public transportation options for its citizens. With the new Braves stadium headed to Cobb County, it’s absolutely imperative we bring effective and accessible mass transit options to our county. Our county cannot continue to grow without this.

Help Employees Support Themselves

The minimum wage in Georgia is a poverty wage of $7.25 an hour. The argument that the minimum wage is for teenagers and people between “real jobs” is both invalid and harmful to Georgians and Cobb County residents as a whole. The majority of people earning the minimum wage are women, many of whom are single mothers with children to take care of. Cobb County, when compared to other areas of Georgia, is relatively wealthy, yet many of our residents are living in poverty while working full time. A gradual increase of the minimum wage to an actual livable wage is the least we as a governing body can do for the people we serve.

Listening To The Voters

Many politicians are elected to office then disappear from sight, become inaccessible to the people that voted for them, and vote for private interests above the needs of their community. This will never be the case as long as I hold a position as an elected servant. Interacting with my voters will never take a back seat to fundraisers or networking. Voters don’t choose my name at a ballot box so that I can pad my resume. They choose my name because they think I can bring about real change that will improve their lives. I will always listen to the voters in my district and surrounding areas as no two citizens have the exact same list of issues important to them.

Simplify The Voting Process

Voting is one of the most important duties we have as citizens in this nation. No matter how much you make a year, no matter where you get to take vacations, if you can take vacations at all, and no matter whom you know in office, each person gets one vote. Registering to vote should be a simple, painless process, and all citizens should have easy access to polling places on election days. Difficult registration and voting procedures often disproportionately affect young voters and people of color. Our government functions most effectively when the voice of the majority is heard, and if that majority can’t find a way to have a say then we are not fully functioning as an effective government. Voter registration drives, youth outreach to involve them in the process, and equal opportunity to become involved in the political process will be one of my biggest priorities as an elected official.

Fair Pay

Our first responders are the most visible and most vital service provided by the government – yet our firefighters, police officers, paramedics and EMT’s are woefully underpaid, despite the fact that they put their lives on the line and devote long hours to keeping us safe. We need to pay these public servants the wages they deserve for all their hard work and sacrifices.

Restore Retirement Benefits

Retired public safety workers need similar support – over the years, their retirement benefits have been cut – retirees used to receive 75% salary, but that has dropped to 30%. These cuts are a disservice to the work these dedicated individuals have done, and fall well short of the “Magic 80” standard for retirement planning. I will work to restore those benefits. We cannot abandon those who have given so much for our safety.

Increase Accountability

One of the best things we can do to protect both the public and the police is to deploy body cameras for every officer. Studies have shown that confrontations between police and civilians are drastically reduced when body cameras are in use. This reduction of confrontation helps to keep our police officers safe in the line of duty.

Georgia is known for being one of the most beautiful spots in this great country. It is our responsibility to protect our beautiful land and keep our wonderful inhabitants safe through the protection of our environment. As a legislator I would seek to preserve green space while accommodating Georgia’s booming business, advocate and support alternative energy, and block the dumping of waste that could poison our citizens and our environment. We have to keep the Georgia that we love beautiful and safe for future generations.

Preserving Green Space: As a strong advocate for local business and Georgia’s booming economy, I understand that in order for businesses to grow developers need more space. But this growth can’t come at the cost of our local environment. The wholesale clear cutting of lots can lead to soil erosion, decreases in the amount of native and local species, and can become economically damaging for the surrounding infrastructure because of soil erosion and shifting foundations. We need more legislatures with scientific backgrounds that can navigate the fine line between caring for our businesses and protecting our local green spaces.

Alternative Energy in Georgia: Fossil fuels are not an infinite power source, and will run out eventually. In addition, the use of coal and oil releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which runs the risk of shifting climate and weather patterns. In order to preserve our environment and preempt the exhaustion of global fossil fuel supplies, we need to shift to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal energy. Already, Georgia Power is partnering with the Pentagon to install large amounts of solar panels on Georgia’s military bases, decommissioning some older coal plants in the process. We need to support and encourage this kind of development on a grander scale in order to secure genuine energy independence and a thriving environment for the entire state of Georgia.

Blocking waste sites in Georgia: Power production through burning fossil fuels, or through the process of nuclear energy production, inevitably produces waste and that waste has to go somewhere. With the current laws and processes regarding waste dumping, Georgia communities and residents can be completely blindsided and find themselves the living next to these dump sites. My wife’s hometown of Wayne County, in south Georgia, is currently experiencing one such blindside. Residents were informed two weeks before the final decision was made that my wife’s beautiful hometown would be the location of a dump site for coal and ash. These sites are dangerous in communities, and there is little accountability when incidents arise. If a waste site fails and leaks into the surrounding environment, current Georgia law only requires notification of local residents up to two weeks later. These two loopholes that lead to residents to be misinformed or uninformed must be closed to keep our residents and environment safe.

I was raised in a foster home. Although I was not a foster child myself, I witnessed the love and care my mother and step-father gave to foster children. These children needed a home, not the group homes that were often overflowing and rife with subpar conditions. My family would take

in up to eight children at a time in our three bedroom home, to prevent them from having to live in said group homes. This has inspired the following platform on Adoption and Foster Care.

My Platform:

1) Having been witness to case after case after case of children being in the wrong private homes, and in many cases having been neglected by state workers, I have an insight into what we could do to remedy the situation.

If elected, I want to ensure all private facilities adhere to a strict set of guidelines when dealing with childcare and their environmental conditions. These are the children that need our time and care the most, yet they are often the most overlooked. We have to give the time and legislation that ensures these children are able to live safely.

2) A huge part of the budget for the Department of Family and Children Services has experienced cuts since 2009. This has led to several case managers being cut from their jobs and the workload increasing for those still working for the DHS. These cutbacks mean less time to recruit foster parents, which leaves more children in the system. This also means an overload of cases to follow up on for workers. A shortage of safety visits could literally cost a child’s life.

My goal, if elected, will be to provide proper funding for departments like the Department of Family and Children Services to ensure that our foster children and the workers that are responsible for them are taken care of by the system built to support them.

3) Within the last decade we’ve seen an increase of children in need of permanent homes, but a decrease in homes that can be provided for foster children. Too many children have aged out of the foster homes without finding a permanent home. This, at times, leads to a myriad of personal problems due to the lack of resources and emotional connection for these foster children.

If elected, I will use my voice and platform to promote the adoption of the over 12,000 children currently in the Georgia foster care system. My family was one of the rare ones who decided to make the choice to adopt. I understand the selflessness and dedication it takes to make that choice. But with so many people adopting out of state and even out of country, we need to take a long hard look at the process of adoption in our state to bring more children into safe and loving home.