Honoring Consumer Champions in 2020

Please join Georgia Watch in recognizing this year’s Consumer Champions!

Champion for Healthcare

Representative Richard Smith (R-Columbus, Rules Committee Chairman), for his hard work to protect Georgians from surprise out-of-network medical bills. This year, Chairman Smith was especially strong promoting protections against surprise medical billing. During the 2020 legislative session, he sponsored and successfully fought to pass the Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act, which the governor signed into law in July.

Champion for Financial Protection

Senator Randy Robertson (R-Cataula), for his steadfast effort to protect Georgians from predatory car title lending. During the 2020 legislative session, Senator Robertson introduced the Motor Vehicle Title Loan Act to close legal loopholes that currently allow car titles to be “pawned” at interest rates as high as 300 percent. He fought tirelessly to move the bill through the legislature.

Champion for Consumer Energy

Attorney John Salter of the Barnes Law Group, for his dogged pursuit of fairness while representing us pro bono to contest the decision of the Georgia Public Service Commission approving the continuation of the costly Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion. John worked tirelessly over more than two and a half years to challenge a process that so unfairly tilted the scales in favor of Georgia Power’s shareholders while putting the risk of further cost increases on the backs of Georgia consumers. Through numerous briefs and in court appearances, he made a powerful case in Fulton County Superior Court and the Georgia Court Appeals in support of our efforts to protect Georgians from unfair, spiraling costs at Plant Vogtle.

Champion for Economic Opportunity

Stephanie Cockfield of The Ark, for her work educating and helping Georgians struggling with financial hardship. As the Financial Education Director at The Ark in Athens, Stephanie not only connects struggling families with unique financial products but also provides crucial financial education to help families become self-sufficient. Her work at The Ark goes a long way toward helping Georgians escape and avoid predatory lending debt traps.

Champion for Health Equity

Christine Wiggins of the Georgia Department of Public Health, for her tireless effort to promote healthcare access and health equity by uplifting Community Health Workers (CHWs) around the state. For over 5 years, Christine has worked to advance health equity at the Department. As a Deputy Director for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section, she has steered the development of a statewide training program that would sustain and grow the CHW workforce. She recognizes that CHWs play a central role in ensuring healthcare access to all and addressing health inequities facing minority and rural communities.

Champion for Economic Opportunity

Lucy Hudgens of The Ark, for her relentless dedication to advocating against predatory lending and for greater financial protections for struggling Georgians. As the Executive Director of The Ark, Lucy has led efforts to provide financial assistance to struggling families by providing equitable lending alternatives to predatory small dollar loans, access to credit union accounts, and financial education. Under Lucy’s leadership, The Ark joined Georgia Watch in advocating for the Motor Vehicle Title Loan Act during the 2020 legislative session. Through her powerful testimony in support of the Act, Lucy highlighted the critical need for organizations like The Ark to lift Georgians out of poverty and open doors to economic opportunity.

We are proud to recognize these Consumer Champions! While we are unable to host our Annual Consumer Champion Awards event this year due to the pandemic, we are making plans to celebrate this year’s champions. Please stay tuned for details. If you usually purchase a ticket to our annual event, please consider giving a generous donation or joining the #HelpUsWatch Campaign!