September 25, 2018 8:00 AM
Dear Governor Deal:
I don’t believe there’s an elected official in Georgia that has a more direct impact on my life than you. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be sitting in Braselton, GA right now writing this had you not become Georgia’s governor. That statement isn’t a political fan boy moment…it’s fact. Both your candidacy for and administration as Governor of the great state of Georgia has had a direct affect on my path.
When you decided to throw your hat into the ring and resigned as Congressman in GA-09 in 2009, that set into motion a cascade of people vying to become our next Congressman. I was Assistant Treasurer of the Walker County Republican Party. Our county chairman at the time took me aside after one meeting and said that he was “more than likely” going to resign as chairman to help then-Representative Tom Graves to run for Congress. He told me that he wanted me to become county chairman. Needless to say, this shocked the 23 year-old freshly matriculated college graduate. I had been chairman of the Dalton State College Republicans, but I felt like this was a major undertaking…I was being asked to take an active leadership role in the Republican Party.
I, nervously, took on the challenge. I, with the support of long-time Republican activists in Walker County, helped to make sure that Walker County was on the map for congressional and statewide candidates. I wanted to make sure that they didn’t forget about the Republican voters in our county. One thing led to another including being able to write for a respected statewide political blog and serving as chairman of the 14th District Republican Party. Would I have served even if you decided not to jump into the governor’s race? Maybe, but I believe your candidacy opened up a lot of political opportunities for me.
As I mentioned earlier, I probably wouldn’t be in Hall County had it not been for your Republican leadership. My “real job” is in Information Technology, and I had the opportunity to join the IT shop of a Fortune 50 company that created quite a number of high paying, highly skilled jobs in Midtown Atlanta. I believe (and hope) we are going to be here for a while since we’re building a new tower in Midtown. Your steady conservative leadership and work with our Republican legislature has lead to Georgia being attractive to business. I’m a direct benefactor of that.
I didn’t join your primary or general election campaign beyond my service as a county chairman, and I didn’t get or expect an appointment to a position in state government or to a board, but I just wanted to take a moment and express my gratitude. Gratitude of one Georgian whose life has been positively impacted by your steady, thoughtful leadership of our state.
You leave a tremendous legacy. You inherited a state government that had some major issues to contend with including a high unemployment rate and a rainy day fund that was almost tapped out. Both you and the legislature faced a monumental task, but y’all were able to navigate the rough seas of the Great Recession. We maintained our AAA bond rating without raising our income taxes and balance the state budget. I know the choices and cuts were tough to make, but we survived. Now we are thriving.
So, from one grateful Georgian, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for your service to and leadership of our state. You will leave office in January with Georgia in much better shape than when you entered into office in January 2011. Enjoy a restful retirement. You’ve earned it.
Nathan A. Smith