Candidate SPOTLIGHT

Donna believes that every individual should be actively involved in the decision-making processes of the people they empower to lead, those who make the rules and regulations through which we are governed. Passionate about civic responsibility and civic engagement, she emphasizes that through our VOTE we have a say in the decisions that affect virtually every aspect of our daily lives.

Through her involvement in many grassroots organizations and her direct interaction with her community, Ms. McLeod has realized that many people remain unaware of the full duties and privileges of citizenship. She is dedicated to educating the electorate on the importance of their roles in society and the power of the VOTE as a vital force in constructively changing our communities and our country. She is the Committee Chair for Voter Outreach and Outreach for the Gwinnett County Democratic Party as well as member of the Executive Committee.

During the 2019 Legislative Session, Representative McLeod worked with the Department of Corrections and the Department of Community Services to update their release documents to ensure that Ex-Felons that have served their time will be informed that their Voting Rights are restored.

Ms. McLeod is a co-founder of C.A.N.I, Inc., (Community Action Network Initiatives) a non-profit 501c3 organization that helps educate and inform people of their civic and societal rights and responsibilities. Such enlightenment will lead to a higher level of voter participation in the United States, whose voter turnout currently is the lowest among the world’s industrialized nations.

Donna McLeod

Donna McLeod was born on the island of Jamaica, grew up in Canada. She moved to Georgia in 1998 and became a US citizen in 2012o.  

Donna McLeod is a Chemical Engineer with over 20 years’ experience in Quality Assurance Management/ Engineering, she is now the President/CEO of Enviroqual, LLC a Quality Assurance/Regulatory Consulting company specializing in Medical Devices, Food, Plastics and Pharmaceuticals.  Ms. McLeod is the mother of a grown daughter and she is also a very proud grandmother.

In 2016, she ran for State House Representative, District 105, in Gwinnett County, GA.  Ms. McLeod was endorsed by President Barack Obama. She lost the race by 222 votes (less than 1%) in a gerrymandered district.  Ms. McLeod ran again for State House Representative, District 105 in 2018. On November 6, 2018 she was elected State Representative for District 105, winning with over 4000 votes. In 2018, she also earned the endorsements of both President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

She was awarded the Georgia Secretary of State Outstanding Citizen Award in 2015, RevUp’s Sankofa Leadership in 2017, Gwinnett County Democratic Party Leadership/Service Award in 2017 and Freedom Fighter Award from the Family in 2018. She also sits on the STEM Board at Discovery High School.

~~Knowledge is the most powerful gift you give to yourself and the VOTE is the most powerful gift we give to each other~~ Donna McLeod

Donna McLeod has served as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives from the 105th District since 2019. Donna McLeod is the first Jamaican-American to become a Representative in Georgia. Donna defeated Republican Donna Sheldon in the 2018 United States elections to replace retiring Representative Joyce Chandler.

Our family’s health care, our children’s education, and mass transit in Gwinnett are Donna’s top priorities.

We have a serious choice to make at this time for our community. We want to be safe and have a good quality of life. The issues of mass incarceration, racial disparity in the criminal justice system, and holding our government and police accountable cannot wait.

I will work to decrease recidivism, and work to keep our children out of the system. First time non-violent offenders will be given a consistent second chance to be law abiding and contributing members of our community. They will not be set up to fail. I will also fight for citizens who have paid their debt to society so that they can become again fruitful members of our society. 

Patsy Austin Gatson has been a practicing attorney in the State of Georgia for thirty years in all State and Federal Courts. She obtained her Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University and J.D. from Emory University School of Law.  Her husband, Travis and she have three adult children and two grandchildren.  

Patsy Austin Gatson

After deep prayer, and conversation with her family, Patsy Austin Gatson made the decision to run for the office of Gwinnett County DA. 

Patsy Austin Gatson believes that her background and experience will be an asset.   Patsy is a graduate of Emory University School of Law and she has been a resident of Gwinnett County for twenty-two years.  Patsy is committed to this County.  Her husband and Patsy have raised three children in this County and two of our children were adopted after being in DFCS custody. 

Presently, Patsy works with the Gwinnett County Solicitor’s Office as a Supervising Attorney and was responsible for heading up a records restriction summit.  Previously, Patsy worked with the Attorney’s General’s Office of the State of Georgia where she argued a case in front of the Georgia Supreme Court.   

The first college graduate in her family she attended Syracuse University and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Human Development.  Patsy is tuned into the people of our County and ask for your support in this historic race for District Attorney of Gwinnett County.

Beyond raising his family and serving our community, Keybo has a passion for our youth and has become a regular face in Gwinnett football.  Having coached football at Collins High, Central Gwinnett and several recreational teams, Keybo is quick to brag on his former players and their success.  He also serves as a substitute teacher in the Gwinnett County School System.

Beyond raising his family and serving our community, Keybo has a passion for our youth and has become a regular face in Gwinnett football. Having coached football at Collins High, Central Gwinnett and several recreational teams, Keybo is quick to brag on his former players and their success. He also serves as a substitute teacher in the Gwinnett County School System.

A graduate of Central Gwinnett High School, Keybo has lived in Lawrenceville for most of his life, alongside Linda, his wife of 34 years and a graduate of Dacula High School. Their two children and grandchildren also reside in Gwinnett County.

Keybo holds a bachelors degree from Mercer University as well as a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Columbus State University.  Additionally, he has certifications in Intermediate and Advanced Supervision and Management from the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, is a Certified Crisis Intervention Training, and graduated from the DEA Drug Unit Command Academy.

Keybo first joined the force in 1983 spending time in both Gwinnett’s Criminal Investigation Division and Special Investigations Section. In 1994, he was assigned to the FBI Drug Task Force before being promoted to the rank of Sargent in 1995. By 2000, Keybo was promoted to Lieutenant and Unit Commander of the Gwinnett County Drug Task Force. In 2007, he achieved the rank of Major and oversaw the East and South Gwinnett Police precincts.

Keybo Taylor

Keybo left his mark in his 26 year career in the Gwinnett law Enforcement community.  His 1995 promotion to the rank of Sergeant made him the first African American to ever be promoted to such a rank in the history of the Gwinnett Police Department. He proved himself to be a tireless worker as a member of the force and served as a trailblazer for many young officers of color in Gwinnett.

Central Gwinnett and several recreational teams, Keybo is quick to brag on his former players and their success.  He also serves as a substitute teacher in the Gwinnett County School System.

· Equitable Growth – Nikki recognizes the negative impact the pandemic has on our economy, and is committed to actionable solutions to how we thrive and survive. Unemployment is at an all time high, wages are still stagnant, small business and many families are being left behind. With the state ranking 40th in the nation for the number of households living below the poverty line and 44th for the disparity between the highest and lowest income individuals. 

· Healthcare – 1.5 million Georgians lack health insurance. Nikki believes in the expansion of Medicaid to provide access to quality healthcare for each and every Georgian. She also believes Georgia faces a maternal health care crisis and this means the state must focus on making pre- and post-natal care affordable and accessible across all of Georgia.

· Passing Hate Crime and Civil rights legislation to provide harsh penalties for those who discriminate and commit racially motivated act of violence.

My parents grew up during an era of racial segregation here in the South and championed the efforts of the Civil rights era. They taught me to stay engaged in social justice and to push for what is just, fair, and right.

Coming from a family with deep roots in the South, disenfranchised from voting, and living through the terror and indignities of racial injustice, Nikki is running to make sure we live in a state with polices that reflect our diverse communities and protects the right of our most vulnerable. Ultimately, she hopes to help make Georgia’s leadership a more accurate reflection of the state’s diversity.

I grew up in Austell GA and attended Pebblebrook High School, the University of Georgia,  and Georgia State. I am a 16-year resident of Gwinnett County and currently reside in Grayson, GA with my loving husband, two teens and two dogs. I spent 23 years in a service career in telecommunications where I proudly supported my local labor union, CWA 3204.

Now more than ever,  we need state legislators who care about all Georgia families. We need inclusive leadership in Georgia to make sure all voices are given the respect and time they deserve. I am running for State Senate to ensure we live in a state that reflects our inclusive and diverse communities. 

Nikki will fight for our most vulnerable populations, ensure public safety, support women’s reproductive rights. Everyone deserves the opportunity to have a better quality of life. We can do it together, but we need strong leaders to make it happen.

As your next State Senator Nikki will be that leader.

 

Nikki Strickland Meritt

Nikki Merritt candidate for State Senate District 9. She is a Georgia native, studied at the University of Georgia and is a longtime Gwinnett resident currently living in Grayson, Ga with her husband and three teens. She worked in the telecommunications industry for 23 years while proudly serving in her labor Union CWA 3204 fighting for workers’ rights and fair working conditions. Before deciding to serve for office she volunteered for the nonprofit C.A.N.I (Community Action Network Initiative) and the Gwinnett Democratic Party to register over 200 voters in 2018. Now as a C.A.N.I board member she helps coordinate events for community engagement and empowerment throughout Gwinnett County. 

Nikki’s message to voters is “Your Voice Matters” in government.