Casey Ca­gle will con­tinue to drive Ge­or­gia pros­per­ity

The Catoosa County News - - COMMENTARY -

Gov. Nathan Deal, elected in the af­ter­math of the Great Re­ces­sion, is leav­ing of­fice with Ge­or­gia in a much bet­ter place than he found it.

The ques­tion for Ge­or­gia vot­ers, then, is who to per­pet­u­ate the mo­men­tum.

With seven Repub­li­can and two Demo­cratic hats in the ring to re­place him and the pri­mary cam­paigns head­ing into the fi­nal stretch, Ge­or­gians are suf­fer­ing a del­uge of pol­i­tick­ing. The key is to sep­a­rate prom­ise from pro­pa­ganda.

Repub­li­can Lt. Gov. Casey Ca­gle is one of those who hopes to suc­ceed Gov. Deal. He awards Deal an A-plus for his two terms, cit­ing the facts that Ge­or­gia has been named the No. 1 state to do busi­ness for five con­sec­u­tive years, that Deal has led the na­tion in crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form and that the out­go­ing gov­er­nor has sought to re­form fail­ing pub­lic schools, among many other suc­cesses.

But while Ca­gle is cor­rect to rec­og­nize Deal as the leader who made this state a bet­ter place, it’s also true that the lieu­tenant gov­er­nor has sat at his right hand, been there every step of the way and de­serves credit for the suc­cess Ge­or­gia is en­joy­ing.

Ca­gle’s record of achieve­ment has moved the nee­dle, part­ner­ing with Deal to see the state grow by nearly 700,000 jobs and 40,000 busi­nesses. Ag­gres­sive, yet con­ser­va­tive, he led this year’s fight to cut state in­come tax rates.

Ca­gle has pro­vided lead­er­ship on health care and tar­get­ing the opi­oid epi­demic in Ge­or­gia, a life and death is­sue he has pri­or­i­tized with the Ge­or­gia Health Care Re­form Task Force.

His lead­er­ship has helped grow the movie in­dus­try here from $250 mil­lion in 2007 to nearly $10 bil­lion this year. Ca­gle demon­strates a know-how to grow in­dus­tries in Ge­or­gia and bring high-qual­ity jobs for res­i­dents.

Raised by a sin­gle mother in ru­ral Ge­or­gia, Ca­gle came from hum­ble be­gin­nings but rose to be­come a busi­ness and com­mu­nity leader in Gainesville. He was elected to the Ge­or­gia Se­nate in 1994 at the age of 28 and be­came the first Repub­li­can lieu­tenant gov­er­nor in Ge­or­gia’s his­tory in 2006 un­der then-gov­er­nor and now U.S. Sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture Sonny Per­due.

Ca­gle’s sig­na­ture ini­tia­tive has been the devel­op­ment of a col­lege and ca­reer

academy net­work where stu­dents can grad­u­ate high school with an as­so­ciate de­gree or in­dus­try cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and be ready with skills to en­ter the work­force. He’s helped launch 46 such acad­e­mies across the state and pledged to give every stu­dent ac­cess to one by 2020. The re­sult is stu­dents are em­ploy­able upon grad­u­a­tion and gain ac­cess to well-pay­ing jobs while busi­ness and in­dus­try can hire from a skilled Ge­or­gian work­force.

Ca­gle has long been an ad­vo­cate of school choice, cham­pi­oning charter schools, which hasn’t earned him the love of the pub­lic school lobby. But sup­port­ing school choice does not mean op­po­si­tion to pub­lic schools, and Ca­gle has pledged to re­struc­ture the state’s stag­nant ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing formula — an out­dated, un­fair re­dis­tri­bu­tion of lo­cal tax dol­lars. Many

gov­er­nors have tried and failed to tackle this Gor­dian knot, but it is es­sen­tial that the Qual­ity Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing formula be re­formed.

Rec­og­niz­ing the state must do some­thing about its ag­ing trans­porta­tion in­fras­truc­ture, he has led on trans­porta­tion fund­ing and will con­tinue lead­ing to al­le­vi­ate traf­fic for busi­nesses and fam­i­lies. As the only can­di­date in the race en­dorsed by the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion, Ge­or­gians can rest as­sured that Sec­ond Amend­ment rights will be safe in a Ca­gle ad­min­is­tra­tion.

While in the Se­nate and as lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, Ca­gle has also

been a strong de­fender of Ge­or­gia’s sun­shine laws, trans­parency and the pub­lic’s right to ac­cess in­for­ma­tion.

Other can­di­dates have made at­trac­tive promises as to how they would gov­ern, but Ca­gle has walked the walk. In Ca­gle is a leader who rec­og­nizes that the pri­vate sec­tor can solve the prob­lems and chal­lenges in this state far more ef­fec­tively than any govern­ment bu­reau­crat, and that one needn’t sur­ren­der one’s con­ser­va­tive val­ues to have eco­nomic pros­per­ity. He is the strong leader Ge­or­gia needs to con­tinue mov­ing this great state for­ward and de­serves your vote to be the next gov­er­nor of Ge­or­gia.

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