Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles from Baker Owens profiling the newest elected officials headed to the state Capitol next January

Incumbency is a powerful force and as such, there are not that many new faces coming to the Gold Dome in January but, House District 59, formerly represented by Margaret Kaiser, will have one. Kaiser had stepped aside as she declared her intention to run for mayor and David Dreyer, Grant Park resident, Emory law grad and long-time activist in Democrat politics, will take over after winning election earlier this month.

Dreyer was born in Ringgold, in North Georgia, and moved to Roswell when he was in middle school. Dreyer enrolled at Georgia State, where he was active with various student groups, including founding the Young Democrats and working with environmental and homeless advocacy groups. He also received the student leadership award from his graduating class. During his time at Georgia State, he interned for Representative Pat Gardner (D- 57), someone who Dreyer says has been valuable during his transition into becoming a state legislator.

After graduating from Georgia State, he attended Emory Law, serving as student body president and working on several campaigns, including for Governor Roy Barnes and Senator David Adelman. During the Barnes’ administration, Dreyer organized and led a rally with the NAACP to remove the Confederate emblem from the Georgia state flag.

Dreyer was the head of programming and then Chair of the Red Clay Democrats, a group which works to elect Democrats in Georgia, as well as the current chair of the Grant Park Conservancy, which is dedicated to preserving, enhancing and restoring Grant Park. Dreyer is also excited about the possibilities for the Beltline in his district.

One of Dreyer’s particular commitments is to protecting everyone’s right to vote and expanding access to the ballot. He served as a poll watcher in 2002 and led voter protection efforts in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and in 2014 he served as the Voter Protection litigation chair for all statewide Democratic candidates.

Dreyer says Kaiser has reached out to him and is being very helpful in introducing him to some other people at the Capitol. Mary Margaret Oliver (D- 82) and, Dreyer’s old boss, Gardner have also been helpful with advice for a new Democrat at the Capitol. In a state dominated by Republicans, it can be difficult for a Democrat to find a way to really impact the process but one helpful piece of advice from Oliver was to really focus on how a legislator can leverage their role in committees. With Dreyer’s legal background, the judiciary committee could be a natural fit but Dreyer has also been an advocate for education reform and would be interested in helping to navigate solutions in that area as well.

Dreyer says that talking to residents in his district, transit was frequently one of the most important issues. For residents with children, education was always the top priority but transit is second and for those without children, transit is the top priority. Another item Dreyer plans on addressing this session regards a request from a constituent with a child with developmental disability. Currently, the language in the Georgia code still uses the term “mental retardation”. This term acquired shameful or negative connotations over the last few decades due to its use as an insult. Dreyer would like to see this changed.


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