“For years, I’ve been telling kids, ‘If you don’t like the way government is, get involved,’” said Biello, who is running against Sam Moore in a runoff for the seat Tuesday. “And I thought, really, I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t get involved. This opportunity just seemed so perfect. Little did we know that four people were going to announce.”
Biello, 32, a Woodstock native and Ball Ground resident, is squaring off against Moore in the runoff after neither of them could pull in more than half the votes in a four-candidate race Jan. 7. Biello took home 24 percent of the vote, edging out third-place candidate Jeff Duncan by just two votes.
As she prepares for yet another election day, Biello feels she can be an asset to district in the state House, should the voters chose her to replace the late state Rep. Calvin Hill (R-Canton), who died in late October of leukemia.
“I have true conservative values, I will stand up for families, I will stand up for education, I will fight to maintain a strong economy,” Biello said. “Being a mother, being an educator, I have a vested interest in this community. I want to make sure there is something there for my children when they’re older.”
Biello lives in Ball Ground with her husband, Alex, who is the son of former County Commissioner J.J. Biello, and their two children, Ethan, 6, Walker, 4. A graduate of the University of Georgia and Georgia State University, she has been a teacher for eight years, with the last seven of those years being in her native Cherokee County.
Although she works at a public school, Biello said she supports school choice, because “I think parents know their children best.”
When asked where she stood on the controversial Common Core Standards, Biello said her classes weren’t really affected by the standards, but some of her colleagues have remarked on how they have impacted their teaching methods.
Biello said there may be an alternative to Common Core, but she warned of the costs associated with changing the standards again.
“I’ve only been teaching eight years and our standards in Georgia have changed three times. I think every time we change there’s a cost associated with that,” she said. “At what point are we going to stop spinning our wheels? It’s going to become cost prohibitive to change, and if we’re going to move away from Common Core, we need to figure out what that is first. Don’t just say scrap it, because we don’t like it.”
But despite her career in education, Biello said the most important issue to her in the race is the economy, although education does play a part in that.
“I have children, so I feel like I have a vested interest in making sure this remains the county in which people like to do business, where people like to live and where people like to send their children to school,” she said. “Education plays a key component in that ... I think we need to make sure that we’re preparing our students to join the workforce and not just go to college. I am an advocate for alternative tracks, work-ready tracks, because not every child is meant to, or capable of, going to college.”
Although Biello has firm roots in Cherokee County and a stake in what the future holds, she said she won’t have any problem representing other District 22 residents in parts of Forysth and Fulton counties.
“The best thing about me? I’m a great listener,” she said. “I’m willing to listen to people, see what their needs are, see what the issues are that they feel are important to their area of the district and take that to the delegation.”
Biello said she also won’t have problems getting things done in 2014, although whoever wins the District 22 race will be thrown into the legislative session that has already been underway for weeks.
“I’ve already been following certain pieces of legislation and been in communication with other legislators,” she said. “I may not go down there and be this sole renegade changing everything, but I think I’m going to know enough to contribute meaningfully.”
One bill she’s been following is the Health Care Freedom and ACA Non-Compliance Act, which is being pushed by local Reps. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs) and Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock) and would bar Georgia from using state resources to implement the Affordable Care Act.
“I think that’s a step in the right direction for Georgia,” Biello said.
Whoever comes out on top Tuesday will also see their term in office expire quickly, as they are finishing out Hill’s term.
Biello said even if she loses Tuesday, that won’t be the last District 22 hears from her, and she plans to run for the seat again in the May primary either way.
“That is the plan,” she said. “I feel like I’m the best person for the job. I think I am an asset to District 22, Cherokee County. I don’t want to give up on that just because we don’t win the first time. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”