LIEU­TENANT GOVER­NOR

The Standard Journal - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Repub­li­can Party nom­i­nee for Ge­or­gia lieu­tenant gover­nor Ge­off Dun­can sat down with the MDJ ed­i­to­rial board on Oct. 24. The fol­low­ing is an edited tran­scrip­tion of the in­ter­view.

I work for the folks across Ge­or­gia, both those that voted for me and those that didn’t vote for me. I be­lieve that’s the role. I be­lieve that the con­sti­tu­tion out­lines (its role) as the pre­sid­ing of­fi­cer. Ob­vi­ously, there’s the role to step in for the gover­nor if he’s in­ca­pac­i­tated. We hope that not to be the case. The role of the cur­rent lieu­tenant gover­nor is to be able to have a heavy in­flu­ence on the com­mit­tee as­sign­ments and also the leg­is­la­tion that comes be­fore the body. And I be­lieve my lead­er­ship style will thrive in that environment.

Q: If you could change one thing about pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion, what would it be?

A: I think the great­est gift we can give a child in the state of Ge­or­gia is a qual­ity K-12 ed­u­ca­tion. I say that no mat­ter if I’m in a ru­ral class­room set­ting or in metro (At­lanta) ... be­cause they’re go­ing to be able to pro­vide for them­selves and their fam­ily.

I think one of the best tools we can in­tro­duce into the class­rooms here in Ge­or­gia is more tech­nol­ogy. This is an area I want to lead the na­tional dis­cus­sion on — I think tech­nol­ogy, one, gives teach­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors more flex­i­bil­ity to iden­tify through­out the course of that school year whether a kid’s above or be­low grade. We give that teacher the abil­ity to be closer in in­stead of wait­ing for the end-of-the-year, mile­stone tests to show up, or stan­dard­ized test­ing to show up. That is of­ten­times an ed­u­ca­tional au­topsy, right? It waits un­til the prob­lem’s al­ready man­i­fested it­self and then we test them, and then we wait for the end of the sum­mer. I’ve yet to find a teacher, par­ent, prin­ci­pal (or) any­body ex­cept for a hand­ful of leg­is­la­tors that think a stan­dard­ized

test is re­ally the an­swer.

But here’s the real ben­e­fit to tech­nol­ogy in the class­room. That child is go­ing to be able to take their cur­ricu­lum from that day and bring it home with them in a mean­ing­ful way that ei­ther mom or dad, or both, or aunt or un­cle or grand­par­ents, who is ever in that child’s life af­ter school, and is go­ing to have a bet­ter chance to be able to get plugged into that kid’s day. ... I also think that we can mod­ern­ize fund­ing.

I’m proud un­der con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship that K-12 is be­ing fully funded now, but I think there’s an op­por­tu­nity to mod­ern­ize the fund­ing . ... The cost to ed­u­cate chil­dren in the county that my kids are go­ing to pub­lic schools in is dra­mat­i­cally less than other coun­ties across the state, yet our test re­sults are so much higher . ... Ul­ti­mately, we ought

to re­turn to the com­mu­nity as many of those dol­lars as we pos­si­bly can. I’m cer­tain that Cobb is proud of the way you ed­u­cate your kids here and feel like you would do an even bet­ter job if you had even more con­trol here in this com­mu­nity. Ul­ti­mately, I just think com­mu­ni­ties are more nim­ble and make bet­ter de­ci­sions.

What do they call it? They call that equal­iza­tion. I think that would def­i­nitely be a part of the mod­ern­iza­tion of how we fund and how we pro­por­tion­ately set those dol­lars up. And look, I want ev­ery com­mu­nity in Ge­or­gia to have an op­por­tu­nity to be able to ed­u­cate their kids . ... I can’t think of a worse sit­u­a­tion than hav­ing to put your kid on the school bus in the morn­ing

I was raised in a home that sup­ports the Sec­ond Amend­ment and un­der­stands the value of both the sport­ing as­pects and also the pro­tec­tion as­pects, and I get to raise three boys in that same environment as we move for­ward. One of the ar­eas that we can re­ally fo­cus on here in Ge­or­gia is re­ally start­ing to em­power com­mu­ni­ties to have a larger role in men­tal health and look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­ally iden­tify — and I know that Brian Kemp and I have put out a school pro­tec­tion plan, and part of that was putting a sup­port coun­selor in ev­ery sin­gle high school in the state of Ge­or­gia with the pur­pose of be­ing able to iden­tify and help in­di­vid­u­als in that school with men­tal health is­sues. I think that’s an area that we can fo­cus on here in Ge­or­gia.

I think trans­parency is a pos­i­tive word. I’ve al­ways felt like it puts the vot­ers even closer to the process. I think it would be a good op­por­tu­nity to record floor votes on amend­ments in the Se­nate. I got to see that play out in the House, and I felt like it was a great op­por­tu­nity to re­ally share with the vot­ers

I def­i­nitely don’t like the mad dash on day 39 and day 40, or lead­ing up to Crossover Day. I think there needs to be a more stead­ied flow of leg­is­la­tion, give the op­por­tu­nity for the com­mit­tees to not have to rush through their work, and to give the floor — each and ev­ery se­na­tor — the op­por­tu­nity to be able to see and read through the bills. I think that def­i­nitely al­lows us to catch er­rors or mis­takes or look for op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove those pieces of leg­is­la­tion.

As lieu­tenant gover­nor, I would def­i­nitely con­tinue to look for ways to spread out that work­load, just like you would in a busi­ness. I think in a com­pany, you don’t want to have two days a week where you’re su­per busy and three days a week where you’re not, I think there’s an op­por­tu­nity for them all to be bet­ter at their jobs by be­ing able to spread that work out.

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