By Paul and Riki Bolster
The Porch Press readership area is represented by two state representatives and two state senators. None of the four officials face opposition in November, so essentially they will take office in January. However, we want to give you a snapshot of who they are as individuals. We asked each of them several questions; their answers follow below.
- What country would you like to visit and why?
- What activity or sport did you participate in during high school or college?
- What books are on your nightstand?
- What is your favorite memory from childhood?
- What is your guilty pleasure (food, activity)?
- If you could invite any four people to dinner, who would they be?
DAVID DREYER (Georgia House District 59) is a partner at the law firm Dreyer Sterling LLC. Dreyer was first elected to the state House in 2016. He currently serves on the Higher Education, Judiciary, and Science and Technology committees.
Q1. Country? Turkey. I’ve always wanted to see Istanbul because it’s an amazing melting pot of people, cultures, and religions.
Q2. Activities? I was a student activist. I organized a large rally to change the Georgia flag, helped with providing lunch for homeless people, etc. I got the opportunity to intern at the Capitol, which led me to prepare for and run for office.
Q3. Books? The Good Lord Bird by James McBride; The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, by William L. Shirer (which is scary considering the rise of authoritarianism here); The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui.
Q4. Childhood memory? Riding my bike to a creek and following the creek as far as we could before dinner.
Q5. Guilty pleasure? Netflix and bourbon.
Q6. Dinner party? Barack and Michelle Obama, the Dalai Lama, Lauryn Hill.
BEE NGUYEN (Georgia House District 89) assumed office in 2017 when Stacey Abrams ran for governor. She earned a Master of Public Administration from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. She is executive director of a nonprofit and serves on the Education, Governmental Affairs, and Human Relations & Aging committees.
Q1. Country? Vietnam. In 1978 my parents fled from their country via boat in the middle of the night. My dad was held as prisoner-of-war in a “re-education camp” for three years. They endured a horrific and traumatic escape. For many Vietnamese people, returning to Vietnam is a personal decision and can be either healing or re-traumatizing. My father returned once, but my mother has chosen not to do so.
Q2. Activities? Editor of my high school paper. I became a rabble-rouser when my articles were censored. I used the newspaper to express my conflicting views of school policies and organized religion. I have contemplated how to carry out the tenets of our belief system through our actions.
Q3. Books? The Untelling by Tayari Jones; The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates; the July issue of Rolling Stone on police brutality; What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker by Damon Young; The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui.
Q4. Childhood memory? Growing up in Iowa with my sisters and cousins, where my family was originally resettled. We walked to the library, picked raspberries and cherries, and caught fireflies in my aunt’s back yard. Her garden was filled with Vietnamese herbs. Also time at the beach with my sisters and dad. The sounds of my dad giggling at the ocean are magical to me.
Q5. Guilty pleasure? I love eating carbs in bed while reading or watching a movie. When I was a kid I spent hours reading with a pack of saltine crackers, or those crazy bread balls kids make out of white sandwich bread; now it’s a bag of popcorn or a baguette. Another guilty pleasure is sparkling wine!
Q6. Dinner party? Barack Obama, Frida Kahlo, my Ong (grandfather on my mom’s side), and Issa Rae.
NAN ORROCK (Georgia Senate District 36) was first elected to the state Senate in 2006. She previously served in the Georgia House for ten terms. Orrock serves on the following committees: Appropriations, Finance, Health and Human Services, Higher Education, and Urban Affairs.
Q1. Country? Ireland. My father was descended from Irish immigrants and I hope to find some Grogan cousins on the Emerald Isle.
Q2. Activities? In high school, captain of the cheerleading team and played quarterback on our short-lived powder-puff football team (penalized for unnecessary roughness on the first play!). College—played lacrosse, chaired YWCA Race Relations Committee which launched community tutoring, demonstrations, and recruited volunteers for civil rights community work for the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project and Virginia Student Civil Rights Committee.
Q3. Books? None of the Above: The Untold Story of Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators by Shani Robinson and Anna Simonton; White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo; An American Marriage by Tayari Jones; In the Country of Women: A Memoir by Susan Straight; Saving the Georgia Coast by Paul Bolster, a wonderful environmental/political read penned by our own neighbor; and of course, my ever-growing stack of New Yorker and New York Times magazines.
Q4. Childhood memory? Family outings to Virginia’s state and national parks, with a brimming picnic basket to feed five kids and our parents. Then we’d pile into the station wagon and sing all the way home in the dark summer evenings.
Q5. Guilty pleasure? Popcorn, Scrabble, bridge, and reading the newspapers with a pot full of creamy coffee. And of course, Zoom time with granddaughters Ruby and Rosie!
Q6. Dinner party? Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jane Fonda, Malala Yousafzai, and Greta Thunberg (some would be too busy, but they’d all be welcome).
ELENA PARENT (Georgia Senate District 42) was elected to the state Senate in 2014, and formerly served in the House. She is an attorney, and serves on the Education and Youth, Government Oversight, Judiciary, and Special Judiciary committees.
Q1. Country? South Africa. It has amazing natural sights; would love to take a safari; want to know more about its history and parallels to our country.
Q2. Activities? Rowing—I loved being out on the water, especially in the early morning calm; swimming—middle distance freestyle and backstroke.
Q3. Books? The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell (mystery); The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, by Jon Meacham; It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump by Stuart Stevens.
Q4. Childhood memory? Going to Los Angeles to be with my cousins and their families for two weeks. This only happened once a year.
Q5. Guilty pleasure? Right now, a glass of wine when everyone is asleep—with my mystery.Q6. Dinner party? Madeline Albright, Hillary Clinton, Stephen Colbert (for some levity), and Denzel Washington (I went to the school featured in “Remember the Titans”).