IRAirl: What Georgians Are Saying Ahead of the First Presidential Debate

A green gradient banner that reads "IRAirl"


This Thursday, President Joe Biden and Donald Trump will face off in Atlanta, Georgia for the first presidential debate of 2024. The two major party candidates will face each other for the first time since 2020 in the state that has been a proving ground for President Biden’s signature economic and climate policy achievement, one that Donald Trump has promised to dismantle if he gets the chance: the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Since the IRA’s passage, Georgia has seen more investment and job growth from the IRA than nearly any other state. In less than two years, the IRA has:

  • Funneled over $23 billion in investment into the state, 
  • Created over 30,000 new clean energy jobs, and 
  • Helped break ground on 41 new clean energy projects

And these investments have been targeted to places where they can make the greatest impact. Over half of these new clean energy projects and jobs have been created in low-income communities, and more than $2 billion has been invested in rural communities. 

So as Trump and Biden head to Atlanta, Evergreen reached out to Georgians who have put the IRA to work for their businesses, communities, and families to learn what it would mean to them if Trump is able to deliver on his promise to repeal the IRA (Spoiler alert: They think it would be catastrophic). Here’s what they had to say: 

In Georgians’ Own Words

Olivia Amyette

Olivia Amyette is the founder and CEO of the Georgia solar energy company Infinite Energy Advisors. A Georgia Tech alum, Olivia has made it her mission to help grow solar in the state, building her own clean energy company and establishing a groundbreaking training program to foster a more diverse clean energy workforce. 

Q: You started your own business to make solar energy more accessible for Georgians but along the way, you’ve also become a leader in making solar energy jobs more accessible for Georgians. How has the IRA helped in that effort?

We wanted people to know solar was an option for them, and that there were local careers in solar. The only reason I was able to do that is because of IRA funding, from an economic and business standpoint.

“We want to show [workers] the different [opportunities] that they can get. And we want to be prepared to be able to offer those [opportunities]. Some of them are about having apprentices, making sure that minority workforces are represented, and that you have a good mix of everybody there. It's very intentionally built into the IRA. And that helps me to say, ‘Hey, I can welcome everybody with open arms,’ and I can use that as an incentive.”

Q: Donald Trump has made it very clear that he intends to repeal key components of the IRA if he’s re-elected this year. How do you see that threat of repeal potentially impacting Georgia and clean energy businesses like yours?

I'll be completely transparent. I think [repealing the IRA] would be catastrophic for the industry as a whole. Not just small businesses like mine, but even the larger businesses that operate in all 50 states. If these incentives were taken away, it would be unnecessarily restrictive for people to get what they want. I think about the consumers and the workforce. Some of these folks have trained for over a decade to refine their skill [in solar] and they have found a passion in their career. And the economic benefits of the IRA make [solar] more accessible.” 

Larry Heiman

Larry Heiman is a Georgia homeowner and the vice-chair of the Dunwoody Sustainability Committee. Over the past few years, Larry has been working to electrify his home and family cars with the help of IRA and utility rebates. Now, he’s studying to complete his Energy Policy and Climate master’s from Johns Hopkins University and helping to organize seminars on IRA benefits for Georgia residents. 

Q: How would a potential repeal of the IRA impact households and communities like yours who are looking to electrify their transportation and energy systems? 

“People wouldn’t have incentives to take these actions because these are things you have to spend upfront capital on and they can be more costly. For example, when we had an old gas water heater break, I had the company come out, and the tax credit made it about the same price as putting in another gas water heater would have been. It’s depressing to think that without those incentives, someone may just say, ‘Put in the cheapest one’ or they wouldn’t be able to pay the difference. The IRA makes that difference much smaller.”

Q: Ahead of the election, what would you want to say to your fellow Georgians as well as your politicians and lawmakers? 

I want [Georgians] to know that the decisions you make today will last for a long time. The things that you do, whether it’s insulation improvements, air sealing, duct sealing—those things are part of your house forever, and their environmental benefits last a long time. Even HVAC and water heating equipment are very long-lived assets. I might not live in this house for 20 more years, but the environmental benefits of the heat pump water heater I just installed will hopefully still be paying dividends in 15 years for whoever's living here. 

“As far as politicians, I’d like [them] to fight to keep the IRA. And it’s not just federal—I’d like states and electric utilities boost incentives and rebates for these kinds of actions. And I’d like to see the media promote this stuff more. Very few people know about it. I’m personally trying to find my place in all of this as I graduate from the program I’m in on the energy policy side, whether it’s advocacy at the regulatory level or education. There’s a lot to be done, but it’s doable.”

What’s at Stake

We won’t beat around the bush: The potential re-election of Donald Trump and his climate-denying, fossil-fuel-puppeted administration will prove devastating for Georgia’s economy, communities, and environment. We couldn’t put it better than Olivia: “The IRA is really helping communities to feel more empowered and to say, ‘Wait a minute, regardless of what side of [the political aisle] I'm on, I'm actually included.’”

In this election, there’s only one candidate that will ensure Georgians like Olivia and Larry continue to save their hard-earned money and bolster their local economies. 

President Biden passed the historic Inflation Reduction Act and has already started channeling benefits directly into communities across the country. But Donald Trump has promised to bring that climate legacy crashing down. 

Now that Georgians have seen the benefits of the IRA, they don’t want a president who will turn back the clock and strip their communities of these life-changing investments. Once again, we think Olivia put it best: "I hope to see the IRA not just stay in place, but to expand. I hope that there are more programs that come out to encourage people to invest in themselves and green energy careers. I hope they roll out even more incentives for small businesses because I think that's what everybody wants to see."

Reporters interested in speaking with Olivia or Larry should contact Emily Halvorson at