“I never, and when I say never, I mean never had any desire to get into politics. But I always voted. Even when there was only one issue on the ballot, I was there,” shares the family lawyer, wife and mom, Christine Triebsch (tri-bish). “Voting is critical! I knew I needed to have a voice.”
But everything changed in October 2016. Christine was watching the presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and heard Trump say, “If I win, I’m going to have you investigated.” Christine was stunned. She waited for a reaction from the moderator, the audience – crickets. No one else seemed to be paying attention. “I’m an attorney. This is what they do in Russia and authoritarian dictatorships. This cannot be happening!” That was the moment Christine knew she needed to get involved in politics.
Christine joined a local online political group to learn and share. She took her 10-year-old daughter with her to hold up signs for Hillary Clinton near a popular shopping area. “That’s where I learned that people can be really ugly. They were honking at us and flipping us off right in front of my young daughter. She was standing right there! I didn’t expect that.”
When Donald Trump was elected, Christine was devastated. “Then I took a step back and said, well, he’ll surround himself with good people, he doesn’t know what he’s doing but surely, he’ll appoint good people.” But he didn’t. Despite having a busy family law practice and a family, Christine stayed involved with her online groups and frequently contacted her representatives.
Entry into Politics
One of those representatives was Dr. Tom Price, the Republican member of the House from Georgia’s 6th congressional district. His appointment as Donald Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary in early 2017 was the catalyst that sparked a blue fire that swept through Georgia’s deep red politics and continues to burn today. When Price left his seat, 18 candidates ran in the 2017 jungle primary to fill it, including Republican Judson Hill, who had resigned as State Senator for District 32; Democrat Jon Ossoff; and Republican Karen Handel. Hill’s seat was also up for grabs.
Christine shared that it was her law firm colleague, who she only referred to as Wayne, who convinced her to run for the open seat. He had been listening to Christine complain about Trump and saw a chance for her to turn those words into action. He explained the qualification process and the looming time deadline. “Wayne said it was a jungle primary. I didn’t even know what that meant at the time,” laughed Christine. She “thought about it for about 60 seconds,” and then decided she had to run. Here was an opportunity to ensure the safety of our country’s democracy and our children’s future.
But then Christine realized that she and her daughter, Stella, had planned a trip to Disney World for the same time the paperwork was due. Triebsch only had a day to prepare. She filled out the forms, gave them to Wayne to take to the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, and then took off for Disney World with Stella.
On Wednesday she heard from Wayne. “Oh, boy, he’s calling me to tell me I qualified!” But that wasn’t the case. “Wayne said, you’re not going to believe it, but you filled out the wrong paperwork! I’m an attorney, how did I fill out the wrong paperwork?” Christine needed to turn in new, original forms by Friday at noon. But Christine also was determined to keep her promise to her daughter. So they stayed in Florida until Thursday at midnight. Then she picked up two shots of coffee at Starbucks, printed out the correct forms, left for Atlanta at 3 am, and turned in her new forms on time.
2017. 2018. 2020.
Five Democrats and three Republicans ran in that jungle primary election for District 32. Christine Triebsch came out ahead with 24% of the votes with Dr. Kay Kirkpatrick, a Republican, placing second with 21%. In the runoff in June, however, Kirkpatrick won with 24,337 votes to 22,892 for Triebsch. Considering the district had been red for over 20 years, Christine’s result was still impressive.
The race that was the catalyst for the blue fire in that 2017 Special Election resulted in a runoff between Ossoff and Handel. Despite 18 candidates running in the jungle primary for Georgia’s 6th District, Ossoff led with an impressive 48.12% of the votes, while Handel received just under 20%. But in the June runoff, Karen Handel won with just over 51% of the votes to Ossoff’s 48%. The large discrepancy between Handel’s April results and her June runoff win sparked controversy, investigations, a lawsuit, and national headlines.
With Democratic spirit emerging from the shadows in Georgia and her close race in 2017, Christine Triebsch enthusiastically ran again for State Senate District 32 in the 2018 midterms. Unfortunately, Kirkpatrick won with 57% of the votes and Triebsch received 43%. But the blue fire in Georgia was not extinguished. In a surprise upset, Democrat Lucy McBath, a woman drawn into politics by the murder of her son, defeated Handel for the GA06 Congressional seat. The district was on blue fire.
With more women being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 than any other time in history, the rise of the Stacey Abrams in Georgia, who she called extraordinary, and McBath’s win in her home district, Christine was fired up to run for a third time in 2020.
Triebsch will be facing the Republican incumbent again. Dr. Kay Kirkpatrick toes the Republican party line, elevating the needs of pharmaceutical and health insurance companies over the needs of the people of Georgia. And even though she is a physician, other than quietly suggesting masks and social distancing, Kirkpatrick has never challenged Governor Brian Kemp’s irresponsible and incompetent response to COVID-19.
Christine’s Top Three Issues
Asked to name her top platform issue, without hesitation Triebsch answered healthcare and Medicaid expansion. She is a firm believer in preventative medicine. If people see a doctor when symptoms first appear, they can save time, money and possibly their lives. In 2019 the Georgia Congress approved a partial Medicaid expansion, a waiver program that allowed 55,000 Georgians to obtain health insurance, but full expansion would have covered 550,000 Georgia residents. “Why wouldn’t you want everyone covered?” Christine asked. People who are healthy go to work and school. “We cannot lose the pre-existing condition coverage,” she says of Georgia Republicans’ support of Trump’s efforts to use the courts to eliminate the Affordable Care Act despite the pandemic. In addition to losing hospitals and physicians in rural areas at an alarming rate, Triebsch states that Georgia is also losing $3 billion a year by not accepting the federal Medicaid funds. The Georgia legislature “needs compassion and common sense” when it comes to healthcare, and Christine intends to bring both to the State Senate.
Educations also tops Triebsch’s list. “I will do everything in my power to fund public education. I don’t support private school vouchers. Our tax dollars should not be going to private schools,” Triebsch says. She believes it is hypocritical for Republicans to demand private school vouchers because public schools are failing. Instead, the government should put more money into public schools. She complains that the Georgia legislature “defunded schools by $950,000,000, nearly a billion dollars, that’s a billion with a capital B — and now we’re in the middle of a pandemic!” She continued, “Everyone is going back to school. Everyone is going to be exposed. Not just students, but teachers, administrators, lunch staff, and bus drivers are going to be exposed. There are no funds to protect them. Kids learn best when they’re healthy. Kids deserve to live. Everyone deserves to live. Follow the science!”
Another top priority is gerrymandering. The Georgia GOP has had a supermajority for nearly 20 years. “Our area has been represented by Republicans for far too long because they redraw the lines to benefit themselves,” states Triebsch. “Our voices are not being heard.” Prior to 2018, many Democrats had given up on voting. They felt like their votes didn’t count, that their votes were diluted in the convoluted maps Republicans drew. “Politicians should take themselves out of drawing the lines in the first place. It should be fair. Every area should represent the people in it.” Triebsch says she will advocate for an independent, apolitical committee to draw the new lines once the 2020 Census results are available. She is adamant about keeping politics out of redistricting.
There is no doubt that Triebsch will serve Georgians well as our State Senator for District 32. Look at the incredible lengths she took to make sure she qualified for the 2017 Special Election; imagine the lengths she will go to for her constituents. Georgia needs determined, indefatigable women representatives like Christine Triebsch. She will serve with integrity, determination, honesty, and heart.
Find more information about Christine’s background, experience and platforms here.
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