If the name “Kandiss Taylor” rings a bell, it’s probably for one of two reasons: you remember her from the U.S. Senate race last year or you’ve heard her name mentioned among the candidates declared for Georgia’s governor race to take place next year. She threw her hat in the ring for governor in late January and has been pounding the campaign trail ever since. Ahead of her visit to Swainsboro next week, she has a simple message for Emanuel voters: come meet her and hear her platform firsthand.
A native of Baxley, Taylor graduated from Appling County High School and went on to obtain several degrees that would enable her to have a career in education. She holds today a B.S. in Early Childhood Education as well as a master’s and a specialist degree, both in school counseling, from Georgia Southern, along with a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Regent University in Virginia Beach.
Over the years, she has worked exclusively with Appling County Board of Education in a variety of roles. She used her bachelor’s degree to teach third grade for two years while she pursued her counseling degrees, then transitioned into the role of counselor and worked in that capacity for 15 years. For the last two years, she has been the district’s student services coordinator.
The wife of fellow educator Ryan Taylor and mom of three explained in an interview with The Chronicle last Wednesday that her political aspirations began back when she graduated from Regent with her doctorate. Dr. Ben Carson was on hand to deliver the commencement address, and he implored Taylor as well as her fellow graduates to get involved in politics. She took his encouragement seriously and ran for a senate seat in 2020.
“I was tired of not being represented. I was tired of feeling like people elected by us were doing their own thing, making money, and not really caring about us, so I decided to run,” Taylor said looking back. “When I made that decision, I looked at the positions I could run for. I had to do something that was ‘instead of’ my job. I couldn’t run for a state house or senate seat that would require me to take three months off work to go to Atlanta.”
Consequently, she ran for Georgia’s U.S. Senate office in the special general election on November 3. Taylor garnered some 40,000 votes, but it would be Republican Kelly Loeffler to secure the primary and ultimately duke it out with Democrat Raphael Warnock in a runoff in January. Though Taylor lost that race, she reflects back on that campaign as a learning tool. “I see my senate campaign as a boot camp. I had never ran for anything before, and it laid the groundwork for my campaign for governor.”
About her decision to run for governor, Taylor says the idea came to her in a dream. In that dream, she was speaking to about 500 people, promising the same campaign ideals she’s running on today.
“In my dream, I told everybody that Georgia wouldn’t be bought, we wouldn’t bow down to Hollywood or China, and that we would prioritize morality over money,” Taylor explained. “I woke up, and I kept thinking about that phrase, ‘morality over money.’ I kept thinking about our current situation and our current politicians, and I knew I had to run.”
Sure enough, she threw her hat in the ring on January 26. Since then, she has finalized the six components of her campaign.
One of those six is election reform. Taylor wants to focus on election integrity, starting with having an audit done here in Georgia. Moving forward, she wants to ensure that only legal votes count. She also opposes Dominion.
Secondly, Taylor wants to keep Georgia’s economy strong. She recognizes the Peach State as having the eighth strongest economy in the nation and wants to add to Georgia’s financial success by way of economic development across the state, supporting Georgia Grown, and improving infrastructure.
Thirdly, she supports the 2nd Amendment and will continue to support gun ownership if elected.
Taylor also backs Georgia’s farmers. She says she will fight to keep agriculture as Georgia’s oldest and one of its best industries because of the amount of jobs it brings to the state and its proven success, spanning more than three centuries.
As a lifelong educator, her stance on education here in Georgia is one that supports the educator. Generally speaking, she wants educators to have the autonomy to utilize their degrees, be respected and honored, and simply allowed to teach. She would also like to minimize testing and stop numerous evaluations.
Lastly, if elected, Taylor will take with her to the governor’s office a pro-life stance on abortion.
(Two other issues she’d like to address, if elected, include transportation and access to broadband for rural communities.)
If you’d like to hear Taylor expand on these campaign points or hear more about her campaign in general, you’re in luck. She’ll be in Swainsboro at the Georgia Sports Arena on Monday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m., thanks to an invitation from the local Republican party. During her interview with The Chronicle last week, Taylor said she’d love to talk with and field questions from anyone here who will give her the chance.
For those who can’t make it, she has a simple message: Vote for someone who will represent you best, whoever that is—but be sure to get established politicians out.
As for her pitch for voters to support her, she says she’ll be a true conservative. “I’ll always tell the truth. I’ll protect Jesus, guns, and babies. I think for a while now, our conservatives have really been moderates because they waver on some issues,” Taylor said. She continued, “What I’ve found through the overwhelming support I’ve received is that Georgians want to be heard. They want to be represented by someone like them—someone who works, someone who understands. That’s what you can expect from me. If I’m elected governor, I’m going to go serve and then come home to finish my career. While I’m governor, you can bet I’m going to fight for our people: legal voters, farmers, workers, teachers, children, gun owners, and babies. I won’t be bought off, I promise you that.”
To follow Taylor’s campaign, visit kandisstaylor.com, sign up to be part of her email list, and follow her on social media.