In a press conference Tuesday announcing the issuance of $100 million in bonds for bus rapid transit along the GA-400 corridor, Governor Nathan Deal announced that Georgia has secured a AAA bond rating with all three bond agencies keeping the state’s roughly two decade streak alive.
That streak stayed alive through the depths of an economic recession in the early 2010s, thanks in part to Governor Deal’s leadership and a cooperative General Assembly. Thoughtful, steady conservative leadership helped balance a budget without putting an additional burden on taxpayers, who themselves were struggling in parts of the state where there was double-digit unemployment. Cuts were deep, and they were tough, but we made it. In fact, our current economic boom can be credited to tough decision made during the lean times.
Governor Deal leaves behind a tremendous legacy. He entered office with a Rainy Day fund just days from exhaustion. He will leave it replentished for the next economic downturn. He entered office with a lot of Georgians out of work. He will leave with new sectors of Georgia’s economy growing by leaps and bounds.
Governor Deal leaves Georgia in much better shape for his successor than he found it when he was first sworn in. Georgia Republicans are down to two choices for Governor. Whoever wins in July will be our standard bearer to face Stacey Abrams in November. Both men are fine choices. I have my preference, but I would be satisfied with either Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle or Secretary of State Brian Kemp as our next governor.
Unfortunately, the out-maneuvering and efforts to out-conservative in this Era of Trump is doing nothing more than giving Democrats ammunition to use in November. Rather than focus on how Georgians have benefited greatly through Republican leadership, camps quickly unloaded the dirt from the opposing camp. Surprising? Not really. Politics is a full contact sport after all.
However, as a reasonable Republican trying to make his way through the new reality of Donald Trump’s Republican Party, I would rather hear about how each candidate is going to continue to cultivate the legacy that Governor Deal is leaving behind…more so than how quick they were to endorse the President’s campaign once he was the presumptive nominee. I know, I’m in the minority since Make America Great Again can only happen when bumper sticker slogans, Twitter tirades, and unhealthy obsessions with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama rule the day. Perhaps one day rationality and reasonableness will come back to the GOP.
It’s an unfortunate state that our Party is in. I believe we have two good candidates who can offer the steady conservative leadership that we need for continued growth in our great state. I just hope we don’t rip ourselves to shreds by the time the July run-off comes around.