Georgia won’t elect a new governor until November, 2010, but candidates are already out stumping for votes -- and one such hopeful made a stop in Pembroke on Monday.
Lt. Gen. David Poythress, Georgia’s adjutant general, a former state labor commissioner and secretary of state, visited for more than an hour with a handful of supporters at the J. Dixie Harn Community Center.
Among Poythress’ concerns are the state’s economic recovery, health care, law enforcement and unemployment, he said, but the Macon native spent much of his time in Pembroke talking about water, transportation and education.
"Those are the three big issues," he said. "They present great opportunities and great challenges."
On education, Poythress said:
"Education underpins the economic well-being of the state. Teacher pay is good, but it could be better. Classroom size is an ongoing issue and testing is an ongoing issue -- children’s test scores are still not where we want them to be. Our students are not competitive in the global economic market the day they walk out of high school."
Poythress said the state needs to fulfill the third promise given to Georgia voters when they approved the Hope Scholarship in the early 1990s and put more technology in classrooms. He pointed to Georgia’s Youth Challenge Academies, where students who have gotten in trouble are put in a military environment and given a second chance.
"They use a lot of the latest and best classroom technology," he said. "The results have been quite amazing. Ninety plus percent of them walk out the door with a GED and a job. When you’ve got that kind of teaching system and it works that well in that environment, how much better will it work in (regular classrooms)?"
Poythress voiced concern over the buildup of silt in the intracoastal waterway and talked about the Savannah port, which is set to double in size in five years, he said. That expansion will lead to more trucks on interstates such as I-16 and means the state needs to get workiing on increasing its capacity to move goods by rail from the port to various destinations.
On water: Though water is currently a bigger issue for North Georgia, where the recent drought hit metro-Atlanta particularly hard, "we’re all in the same state and share in some cases the same rivers," Poythress said. He said he would stress conservation and the creation of smaller reservoirs in some parts of the state.
Read the entire story in today's Bryan County News.