SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – At age 27, Antwan Lang is the youngest of the five candidates vying to fill the term vacated by late State Rep. Mickey Stephens in the 165th District. But he says he already has legislative experience and would bring vision and energy to the job.
“And I’m really happy that over 25 legislators and senators from across the state have endorsed me,” Lang said. “Because they understand that we need some energy, we need vision and we need people who really want the best for our community.”
Lang is one of four Democrats running to fill the vacancy. There is also a Libertarian candidate.
“I’m running because I understand we have a lot of challenges on the state level that affect local communities,” said Lang.
Lang said his legislative experience began when he was still in high school and he worked as chief of staff to Rep. Stephens and also has worked for State Sen. Lester Jackson of Savannah.
“So I have up to a decade of experience and I understand how the legislative process works,” said Lang.
He also served on the Chatham County Board of Elections.
“It gave me an inside track on our elections process, especially during some of the most troubling and
hurtful times when it came to elections in these past few election cycles, especially the runoff for U.S. Senate
and the presidential election as well,” said Lang.
He says that’s why protecting the right to vote is one of his top three priorities. Lang does not support the new election law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature in Georgia. As a matter of fact, he is named in a lawsuit against the state regarding enforcement of the new law
If elected, he says he would seek guidance from our legislative counsel as to “whether or not my involvement in that lawsuit would be a conflict of interest and if it is I would be more than willing to fight from the legislative side to change the law and remove myself from the lawsuit.”
He also says education, in terms of funds and curriculum, needs more attention along with economic development.
“We’ve got to make sure that our young people are given the quality education that they need and that starts number one with funding and then looking at the curriculum to make sure that they’re learning the necessary tools and skills that they need in order to be competitive in a global market,” said Lang.
He says he would also examine the requirements for the Hope Scholarship so that more people who need to finish college will not fall into a funding gap.
“We need to review how we are appropriating funds and how we’re requiring students to make certain grades, which is important,” said Lang. “I think there needs to be a benchmark, but I don’t think it needs to be so out of reach that we are limiting ourselves and limiting these students that could receive it.”
“Economic development is important as well, so once we get our children educated, we’ve got to make sure that they have the jobs that pay great salaries and good wages because one of the things that we have to focus on limiting and lowering poverty,” said Lang.
Lang would also expand Medicaid (as other Democratic candidates say they would) but he says he’s more realistic about the possibilities of that right now in terms of a Republican governor and Republican-controlled legislature.
“I don’t see anyone in this particular seat going up there next year and changing the governor’s mind particularly in an election year,” he said. “We’ve got to be measured about it and do what we can.”
Lang says whoever wins the seat will have to weigh in on a variety of issues, including the budget, hotel motel tax and even the issue of casino gambling.
“I think it’s absolutely important that we learn everything we possibly can about the pros and the cons of it, because when I take that vote, I want to make sure that I’m voting based on not just what is presented to me but also how my citizens back home feel, how my constituents feel,” said Lang.
If one of the five candidates does not get a majority, a runoff will be held on Nov. 30.
WSAV, Your Local Election Headquarters, is profiling all District 165 candidates on-air and online at wsav.com/yourlocalelectionhq.