Ballinger, 37, will be Cherokee County’s newest legislator for the House of Representatives District 23 seat created last year in the western and northwestern sections of the county as a result of reapportionment.
In the Republican primary on July 31, Ballinger took 52.4 percent, or 4,090 votes, to avoid a runoff in a four-way race. She has no Democratic opponent in November.
Ballinger, a community volunteer who has worked as a victim advocate at the Cherokee District Attorney’s Office and with the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office, said she ran for office out of a “strong desire to serve the community.”
Ballinger serves on the Canton Main Street board’s Economic Development Committee, is a past treasurer and board member of the Cherokee Arts Center and has served on a committee developing Canton’s comprehensive land use plan. She was selected as Volunteer of the Year by the Cherokee Arts Center.
After she is sworn in at the state Capitol in January, Ballinger said she plans to make transportation a priority, particularly after the failure of the transportation sales tax in all 10 metro Atlanta counties, including Cherokee.
“The defeat of TSPLOST has kind of put us back at square one,” she said on a busy weekday afternoon between
“We need to come up with viable alternatives. It’s something the Republican leadership and Georgia Public Policy Foundation are working toward.”
In less than a month, Georgia residents will vote on a controversial charter school amendment to the state Constitution that would allow a new state board to select private organizations to run taxpayer-financed charter schools. That power now rests with local school boards.
Ballinger said she is pro school choice and that education, regardless of the outcome of the charter school referendum, will also be high on her priority list.
“I believe parents are the best people to make decisions about their child’s education,” Ballinger said.
“Education shouldn’t be a one size fits all proposition. Children are different; children in Cherokee County are different. They’re unique, they’re individuals and their educational needs should be dealt with adequately by whatever means are available to them, whether it be public, private or charter.”
What Ballinger said she is looking forward to the most is continuing to build relationships with her constituents and colleagues. She said people should feel free to contact her about any concerns they have on her website at www.mandiforhouse.com.
“I really look forward to continuing to serve,” she said. “People have already approached and talked to me about some of their issues and concerns. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to positively impact lives in Cherokee County.”
Ballinger and her husband, Eric, an attorney in Canton, have been married for 12 years and have one 5-year-old son, Henry. She earned a business administration degree from Kennesaw State University and has lived in Georgia all of her life.
THE MANDI BALLINGER FILE
* PARTY: Republican
* AGE: 37
* RESIDENCE: Canton
* Occupation: Office Manager
* EDUCATION: B.A. in business administration, Kennesaw State University
* FAMILY: Husband, Eric; one son, Henry