The Tech College Republicans hosted another Republican candidate for governor at their weekly meeting on Mon., March 28. The Republican primary will be on May 22, in which Brian Kemp will run against Casey Cagle, Hunter Hill, Clay Tippins and Michael Williams.
Kemp graduated from the University of Georgia (UGA) and opened a small business, Kemp Properties. From 2003 to 2007, he served in the State Senate after defeating a Democratic incumbent. In 2010, he became Secretary of State under Governor Nathan Deal, where he continues to serve as he runs to fill Nathan Deal’s open seat.
Kemp spent most of the evening emphasizing his decades of experience. As Senator, he “did exactly what we said we’d do—cut regulations [and] cut taxes.” As Secretary of State, he said he followed through on his promises yet again.
One way he did this was in his “fight for fair and accessible elections” in the state of Georgia. He emphasized how important this was to him, mentioning that he sued Obama and the Department of Justice (DOJ) twice over changes in the voting laws. The lawsuits were both dismissed since the DOJ approved the two alterations, which were to implement a check of citizenship before voting and a cross-check of voter registration data with Department of Driver Services data on file.
In order to continue this work, a component of Kemp’s gubernatorial platform is to create a centralized database of criminals that describes, among other things, the number of offenses, the severity of the crimes, and the gang markings the criminals have. “This will make it easier to track down criminal illegals and deport them.” He claimed that the database will not only keep these “criminal illegals” from voting in Georgia elections but also to weaken the growing reputation that Georgia has for being a “hub for the Mexican drug cartel.”
The rest of Kemp’s platform is based on a four-point plan to make Georgia the number one state for small businesses. Kemp’s view is that small businesses are essential to ensuring that the areas between the big metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Savannah, Athens, etc.) don’t “dry up,” so he wants to “take the power we have in metro areas and spread it to the whole state.”
“It’s great if we get Amazon, but if we don’t, I won’t lose any sleep over it,” Kemp said when asked about drawing large corporations like Amazon to Georgia. Kemp seemed comfortable with Georgia’s situation with its large, metropolitan economy and said that small businesses should become the focus.
Another question probed at Kemp’s stance on the recent March for Our Lives protests on Mar. 24. Kemp, a strong supporter of the second amendment, said that that mental health, not the guns, should be the focus of legislation. Yet he said he did not expect to be dealing with this as governor: “I’m a local control guy. State government shouldn’t make this decision unilaterally.”
Overall, the theme of the evening was trust: “Who do you trust to do what he says he’ll do?” Kemp repeatedly posed this question to the audience.
Kemp said that the ’08 republicans in control of the federal legislature and executive branches “didn’t do the things they said they’d do” and dissuaded republican voters from going to the ballot boxes. Personally, Kemp voted for McCain “because he would’ve been a whole lot better than Barack Obama,” but he couldn’t blame voters for not trusting the Republicans anymore.
That situation had prompted him to decide that “I’ll run on what I’ll do, and when I get in office, I’ll do it.”
The Tech chapter of College Republicans meets on Monday evenings in Scheller School of Business. More information can be found on their Facebook page.