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For This Woman, Buying a House Led to a Career in Politics

State Representative, Ga.

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Every elected official was led to public office on a different path. For Debra Bazemore, it was the purchase of her first home. In 2005, she moved from Northern Virginia to the suburbs of Atlanta. Once settled, she became president of her homeowners association, which gave her the opportunity to meet with Georgia state Sen. Donzella James.

Bazemore’s meetings with the senator led to an invitation to become her chief of staff, a job she held for three years before running for an open state House seat. Since taking office in 2017, her focus has included working with the state Education Department to inform women about “toxic shock syndrome” that can result from tampon use.

Bazemore was also a leading advocate in the effort to incorporate the area of Fulton County, where she lives, as a new municipality. After more than four years of hard work on the issue, Bazemore was thrilled in 2016 when the citizens of the new city, South Fulton, voted to incorporate. The new 90,000-person city, which officially incorporated in May 2017, is 90 percent African-American.

 
Read about the Women in Government program and the rest of the honorees.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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