The Savannah Morning News Provided the questions below for the District Attorney candidates. Meg Heap's answers were published in the May 23, 2020 edition of the Savannah Morning News and are shared here.
Why are you running for Chatham County District Attorney?
As the District Attorney for the past eight years, I have overhauled and updated the processes in the District Attorney’s Office. I have established new programs and innovations such as the Youth Intercept (for at risk-youth) and Pre-Trial Diversion for youthful non-violent first offenders. Additionally, I have created a gun prosecutor position who works with local and federal law enforcement to focus on gang and gun violence in our community. I have re-established a Special Victims Unit to provide specialized prosecution and support to victims of family violence including victims of elder abuse, child abuse and crimes against women.
I helped establish the Chatham County Family Justice Center to assist special victims find the services they need in one space rather than traveling to multiple locations and getting lost in the process. I have more that I would like to accomplish including focusing my attention on human trafficking and the continued innovation for at risk youth and special victims.
What do you see as the greatest need to change there, the challenge of the office?
From my perspective, the greatest challenge of the office is finding the funding to accomplish all of the tasks we want to undertake. Innovation is not free, so I spend time looking for alternative methods such as grants to pay for those projects and working with the state and the Chatham County Commission to fund the office as well as prioritizing the funding for the specialized programs.
Are we talking about major change or simply fine tuning the existing system?
I will continue to fine-tune the process as I have for the past eight years — looking for innovations that make sense and create more efficiency in the system while protecting the safety of the community.
Can you articulate what you bring to the table to convince voters to vote for you as opposed to your opponents?
I am a career prosecutor. I have dedicated my life and my nearly 30-year career to defending the rights of and providing a voice to the victim. In my time, I have worked or administered in every division of the office including as an advocate, in juvenile, state and superior court as well as child support.
I am responsible for the handling of a budget of more than $7 million. As such, I understand the inner workings of a district attorney’s office and know where the changes need to occur. I have spent the past eight years working on improvements to the system as well as innovations to reduce those coming into the system.
Early voting continues through June 5, 2020 at the Chatham County Board of Registrars located at 1117 Eisenhower Drive Ste E. Absentee voting by mail is encouraged. Please visit the My Georgia Voter website to download an Absentee Ballot Application or learn more about your options and eligibility for the upcoming Primary on June 9, 2020.