Georgia’s Next Governor
Former Gov. and current Rep. fight to lead the Peach State
Two experienced politicians are fighting to be the next Governor of Georgia in this midterm election.
The race is between Democrat Roy Barnes, a former Georgia Governor from 1999 to 2003, and Republican Nathan Deal, a member of the U.S. House of Representtives since 1992.Both are debating different ways to create new jobs, improve the education system, and protect Georgia’s water rights.
“When there are fewer state dollars in the budget, local administrators and educators know what will work best for their school system,” Deal told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps. “We need to give them flexibility, especially at this crucial time.”
Barnes is pushing for more technology in the classroom to enhance education.
Another item on voters’ minds is water rights. Georgia has been in several disputes over water resources and water rights with neighboring states like Alabama and Florida. Barnes and Deal both promise to settle the disputes and help Georgia keep its rights to water such as Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River, both important water sources.
“The availability of abundant, clean water has become as important in Georgia as the availability of other natural resources, such as gas and coal,” Barnes said. “Currently, we are in a major water crisis because of the escalation of the dispute with Alabama and Florida over Lake Lanier. This poses a threat to everything we have built in Georgia. Immediate action is imperative.”
Boosting the economy is also what voters are looking for in the candidates, with unemployment rates exceeding 10 percent in Georgia.
“I want to lower the corporate income tax by one-third,” Deal said. “This will encourage corporate businesses to hire more employees. Also, I want to give a waiver to small businesses that open in Georgia.”
Opinion polls show that Deal has a slight lead, but the margin of error in polls makes this a very close race.
Georgia governor’s race can make a difference in the balance of power in the U.S. Congress. Since Georgia’s population has increased according to the recent 2010 Census, Election Data Services estimates that next year, Georgia will gain one seat in the House of Representatives. The congressional districts in Georgia have to be redrawn, so every district has a population of equal size. Both parties will fight to redraw the districts to its own party’s advantage. It will up to the state legislature and the governor to veto or approve the new congressional districts. Whether that new district will be made up of primarily Republican or Democratic voters could be up to the next Governor.
As Deal and Barnes face off in the final few days before November 2, Scholastic Kids Press will be there to cover the final stage of the race. Check back here for the results on Election Night, November 2.
PHOTOS: (Top) Nathan Deal. (Photo Courtesy Nathan Deal.) (Bottom) Roy Barnes. (Photo Courtesy Roy Barnes)