Cherokee County teacher Meagan Biello announced Friday she would challenge Rep. Sam Moore (R-Macedonia) in the upcoming May 20 Republican primary.
Biello lost to Moore earlier this month in a special runoff election to replace the late Rep. Calvin Hill (R-Canton), but when Moore’s term expires in December Biello said she hopes to take Moore’s seat.
“We’re organizing our efforts this week and we’ll be going door-to-door and doing other things to try to raise awareness,” Biello said.
Biello said ever since she lost to Moore in the special election, she contemplated running again, but was waiting for the right time to announce her candidacy.
The Republican described her first race against Moore as “halftime,” and said now it’s time to “finish the game.”
Moore said he wasn’t surprised Biello would challenge him again this time around.
“I’m pretty sure her decision to run against me was made, probably, long ago, and she’s just using this political opportunity to announce it,” Moore said.
In announcing Friday she would run against Moore for the District 22 seat, Biello condemned legislation Moore introduced that could undermine the state’s ability to regulate sex offenders.
“Sam Moore has gone to a new extreme by proposing legislation that would endanger our families and our children. As a parent, this is unacceptable coming from our state representative,” Biello said. “Our elected leaders and our government have a constitutional responsibility to keep us safe, especially our children. His desire to pass a law that will protect potential criminals while putting our kids in harm’s way is inexcusable, and I won’t let it stand.”
Moore responded Friday that his bill was misunderstood by many.
“Any time something like this happens it can hurt you. But I think as the actual intent, content and ramifications of these bills, both good and bad, come out and are weighed against each other, people will see that they’re anything but ridiculous,” Moore said. “There’s a lot of people that would really enjoy this type of legislation.”
Moore was the sole signer on House Bill 1033, which he introduced to the Georgia House of Representatives just one week after being sworn in.
Moore said the standing loitering law is “vague.”
“People have issues that are not being addressed by anyone else… that’s where the focus of this legislation is,” Moore said.
Biello said she strongly disagrees with HB 1033, which also prohibits law enforcement officers from forcing residents to identify themselves under any circumstances.
“I’m a mother. I have two small children– a 5-year-old and 7-year-old. And I’m a teacher who works at a school where I know we have victims of domestic and sexual abuse, and I want those kids to feel safe when they’re at school,” Biello said. “I do understand that laws only directly impact law-abiding citizens, but I do also feel that laws serve as a deterrent for criminals in a lot of cases. The fact that people can’t just loiter around campus is a good thing, we don’t need to change that.”
Biello said Moore’s bill is dangerous.
“I definitely know the Constitution, and I think part of the role of the government is to protect the citizens. When you strip power from the police and law enforcement to protect the innocent, you’re putting people who cannot protect themselves like children in danger,” Biello said.
Biello said she wasn’t sure why Moore introduced the bill.
“I think what’s happening here is he’s not listening to the constituents. I can’t find any support for any of his bills, everyone is on the same page of outrage,” Biello said. “Who is he talking to? I’m a constituent, too, and I don’t know where these ideas are coming from. I don’t know why he finds it necessary to represent these values down at the Gold Dome. To me, they don’t resonate with the residents of Cherokee County.”