Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal spoke Wednesday for a full 30 minutes about job creation and growing the economy, educating the future workforce, benefits of the Port of expansion project and criminal justice reform during his visit to Liberty County.
Deal and his wife, Sandra Deal, joined local leaders and State Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, and Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, on stage at Bradwell Institute’s Olvey Field. The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce hosted the event.
Liberty County Board of Education Chairwoman Lily Baker, Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, Liberty County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette, Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Gregory and Joseph Martin Elementary School student Elizabeth Rogers greeted the governor and Georgia’s first lady. United Ministerial Alliance President Pastor Richard Hayes offered a prayer before Deal delivered his address.
Thomas thanked the governor for his role in helping to bring Armstrong Atlantic State University to Hinesville and for the Military Education Compact, which prevents military dependents from losing class credits when they transfer from one school system to another.
Young Rogers stole the podium when she told Deal that Liberty County students and community members fashioned the world’s largest crayon by melting 119,000 crayons “in a Lowcountry boil pot.” The recycled crayon stands 9.5 feet tall and weighs more than 650 pounds, she said. Rogers was featured on the cover of a recent chamber publication, according to Leah Poole, CEO of the chamber and the Liberty County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The governor’s speech
Deal’s first topic was job creation. He said more than 177,000 private-sector jobs have been created in Georgia since he took office in January 2011. Deal said 3,000 of those jobs have been created in Coastal Georgia, with 100 of them in Liberty County, thanks to Firth Rixson.
The governor said he is determined to make Georgia the No. 1 state for doing business. The Georgia General Assembly took a step in that direction by agreeing to roll back an energy sales tax on manufacturers during the next four years, he said.
Another component to growing jobs in Georgia is the Port of Savannah deepening project, Deal said. The U.S. House of Representatives approved Wednesday legislation that would allow Georgia to spend the $231 million the state has allocated for the project. Georgia Ports Authority currently generates more than 350,000 jobs.
Supplying a well-educated and skilled workforce is another key factor in drawing businesses to the state, Deal said.
“We can’t attract jobs without that,” he said.
The governor said now that more military members are separating from the service due to the drawdown of troops overseas, they must be assisted in transferring their military job skills to the civilian workforce.
“I don’t want to see our veterans on the unemployment rolls,” Deal said.
Read more in the Oct. 26 edition of the News.