Tag Archive for: Georgia Democratic Primary May 19

The Fight Against Invisibility

By Amy Yee ’96
Illustrations by Nicole Xu
Fall 2021

A memory from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic remains indelible. It was early March 2020, and schools and businesses were yet to close down. But already a gnawing sense of foreboding loomed, apart from the virus itself.

My fears were confirmed by a LinkedIn post from an Asian American friend. He was in Central Square in Cambridge, Mass., when a man menaced him on the street, blamed him for the virus, and continued threatening him even when police arrived on the scene.

I was already worried about the potential impact on Asians in the U.S. who might be irrationally targeted because the virus had originated in China. Thousands of innocent people in China itself would be sickened by COVID-19 or die, but those tragic facts could be overshadowed by ignorance, anger, fear, and knee-jerk racism.

I was especially concerned because my mother, an immigrant in her 70s born in Hong Kong, takes the T to work in Boston’s Chinatown every day. She has continued to do so throughout the pandemic.


Senate district flipped by new map causes
first-term Democrat to eye House seat

State Sen. Michelle Au, D-Johns Creek, announced that after seeing the changes the Republican-dominated General Assembly made to her district during reapportionment, she will now campaign for a seat in the state House.
(Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Recently approved maps redrawing lines for legislative districts have pushed a first-term Democratic state senator — and the first Asian American woman to serve in the Georgia Senate — to attempt to switch chambers after her seat was drawn in a way that drastically changed its racial and partisan makeup.

State Sen. Michelle Au, a Johns Creek Democrat, said she made the practical decision to switch races and run for the House seat now held by Democratic state Rep. Angelika Kausche, who isn’t seeking reelection.


Ways to boost Ga.’s vaccination rate

 
Georgia, like much of the country, is in the midst of a cresting “fourth wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic, and finds itself among the states seeing the highest jump in hospitalizations over the last two weeks.

With only four in ten Georgians fully vaccinated against the virus, and a new school year upon us as the delta variant continues its relentless blitz through our population, there has never been more urgency to protect our communities from further illness, injury, and death by taking bold moves to help more of our population get vaccinated.

Yet in a press conference last month, Gov. Brian Kemp, while acknowledging the importance of statewide vaccination, seemed to have all but given up on any further efforts to reach the eligible Georgians who remain unprotected.


Universal pre-K is not government overreach or massive subsidy

 

In a guest column, state Sen. Michelle Au, D-Johns Creek, applauds the push by President Joe Biden for universial pre-K.

In his first formal address to Congress five days ago, Biden said, “The great universities in this country have conducted studies over the last 10 years. It shows that adding two years of universal, high-quality preschool for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old, no matter what background they come from, puts them in the position of being able to compete all the way through 12 years and increases exponentially their prospect of graduating and going on beyond graduation.”

Investments in early childhood programs not only improve outcomes for the children who participate but for Georgia and the nation as a whole, says Au.

By Dr. Michelle Au

Perhaps the most surprising thing about President Biden’s call for universal pre-K in his American Families Plan is that anyone is surprised at all. Universal pre-K — that is to say, broad access to quality preschool education — is the norm in most wealthy nations.


Op-Ed: Fight the gun violence epidemic like we fight cancer — one small step at a time

Women at a March 27 candlelight vigil in Monterey Park pay their respects to the eight victims of the spa shootings in Georgia.
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)
By Michelle Au
APRIL 14, 2021 11:14 AM PT
Georgia, like much of the country, is in the midst of a cresting “fourth wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic, and finds itself among the states seeing the highest jump in hospitalizations over the last two weeks.

With only four in ten Georgians fully vaccinated against the virus, and a new school year upon us as the delta variant continues its relentless blitz through our population, there has never been more urgency to protect our communities from further illness, injury, and death by taking bold moves to help more of our population get vaccinated.

Yet in a press conference last month, Gov. Brian Kemp, while acknowledging the importance of statewide vaccination, seemed to have all but given up on any further efforts to reach the eligible Georgians who remain unprotected.

Opinion: Georgia Republicans were quiet about their attack on voting rights, but, oh, did they laugh

People wait in line for early voting at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Ga., on Oct. 12.
(Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle via AP)

By Michelle Au
March 27, 2021 at 11:06 a.m. EDT

Michelle Au, a Democrat, is a Georgia state senator.

What struck me the most was the noise coming from all the wrong places.

Thursday afternoon, I sat in the chamber of the Georgia State Senate and watched as my colleagues, one after another, went up to the well to speak out against Senate Bill 202, a true Frankenstein’s monster of voter-suppression measures. It was clearly designed to ensure that a record Democratic turnout like the one in November — and in the state’s U.S. Senate runoffs in January — never happens again.

This hastily sewn-together bill is a broad attack on voting rights. It includes imposing limits on the use of mobile polling places and drop boxes; raising voter identification requirements for casting absentee ballots; barring state officials from mailing unsolicited absentee ballots to voters; and preventing voter mobilization groups from sending absentee ballot applications to voters or returning their completed applications. The list goes on.

 


Feds temporarily halt approval
of Kemp’s Medicaid overhaul

October 15, 2020 Atlanta – Governor Brian Kemp and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma celebrate with fist bump after they signed on healthcare reform at the Georgia State Capitol on Thursday, October 15, 2020. The federal government approved Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to reshape Medicaid and individual insurance in Georgia under the Affordable Care Act, the governor and a top Trump administration health official announced on Thursday. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

 
The Biden administration pulled back approval of Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to provide Medicaid coverage to thousands of low-income and uninsured adults in Georgia who meet a work or activity requirement because the still-raging coronavirus pandemic make…



Michelle Au, MD, MPH
American Board of Anesthesiology
Specialty: Anesthesiology

Human Connection

One of the biggest challenges anesthesiologist Michelle Au, MD, MPH faces on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to offer personal, warm care to her patients.

“Unfortunately, the highly infectious nature of the coronavirus has changed the fundamental way we relate to, and take care of, our patients,” said Dr. Au. “For infection control purposes, we must be masked and gloved and talk to patients at a distance, or even through baby monitors. But if we are to truly care for the body and spirit of sick, frightened patients who are unable to have their family with them, we must Rnd ways to foster and convey the human connection, which is fundamental to the practice of heath care.”

Being Part of a Community

Being a front line physician during a generational public health crisis gave Dr. Au a powerful reminder of the awesome social responsibility physicians face every day, even outside of the four walls of their hospitals or offices.

“Beyond providing medical care to patients, we are community leaders. People look to us for answers and for reassurance. We are educators, using our decades of scientific training and clinical experience to break down complex concepts, such as this virus. We are scholars, keeping abreast of rapidly changing research and best practices. And we are role models, showing, rather than telling what those best practices should be, knowing that our communities are looking to us to help guide the way.”

But community goes both ways. During the early days of the pandemic, Dr. Au and her colleagues appreciated the support of their community as they coped with a surge of very sick patients. They received supportive cards and emails, in addition to donated supplies and meals during their shifts. “While we were the ones on the front line, it was heart-warming and bolstering to know that there was a whole community right behind us, helping us to do our jobs.”

Balancing Personal and Professional Responsibilities

As the mother of three young children, Dr. Au was understandably concerned that she could be putting her family at risk by bringing home the virus.

“Diminishing clinically excellent, compassionate care to my patients was never an option, so I continue to practice, but I have made changes to many of the routines around our home. For example, to reduce risk to my family, I sequester myself when I get home until I’ve showered and changed. I take pains to separate my family from anything that has been exposed to the hospital environment and we do exercise an additional degree of separation from casual, close social contact even in everyday life, out of a surfeit of caution.”

When asked if a career in medicine was more diScult than she expected, Dr. Au says, “We didn’t choose to become doctors because it would be easy. We chose to become doctors because the work we do gives our lives purpose, even when it’s hard.” 

Certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology, Dr. Au is an anesthesiologist at Physician Specialists in Anesthesia, a provider of adult anesthesiology services within the Atlanta health care community. (Published: October 5, 2020)


 

Carol Geraci describes herself as politically “middle-of-the-road,” the kind of person who can get along with anybody.

For more than four decades, the Smyrna grandmother voted for Republicans, but in recent years she believes the party has drifted too far to the right. In November, she plans to cast her ballot for Democrat Joe Biden, less because of his platform and more to register her opposition to President Donald Trump.

“I go on character,” Geraci said, “and Trump doesn’t have character.”

Sabrina Mao of Marietta is firmly in the opposite direction. To her, the protests that erupted during the social justice movement prove that Democrats have no “moral grounding.”

She’s on the front lines of the pandemic.
And running for office.

Michelle Au could become the first Asian American woman to serve as a state senator in Georgia.

 

A local Georgia race that hasn’t attracted much attention could make history if Michelle Au becomes the first Asian American woman to serve as a senator in the state’s legislature.

On Tuesday, Au, a 41-year old Chinese American anesthesiologist in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, won her district’s Democratic primary against 53-year-old Bangladeshi American health care entrepreneur Josh Uddin.

Technically, the state was still counting ballots on Thursday, but local media, including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, called the race for Au with 77 percent of the votes to Uddin’s 23 percent after a chaotic primary voting day that foreshadows potential problems with November’s general election.

“They’ve called the race and we feel good about where it is,” Au said.