Deal lays out a light agenda in ‘State of the State’ address

[private]Gov. Nathan Deal spent more time looking back than ahead as he delivered his final “State of the State” address Thursday to a joint session of the House and Senate.

With his eighth and last year as governor looming ahead, Deal was more inclined to take a victory lap over the achievements of his past seven years in office than to talk a lot about new policy initiatives.

“A little more than half of the legislators here today were not in office when I gave my first State of the State address in 2011,” Deal noted in his speech in the House chamber.

“Yet whether it was with old partners or new, we have still worked together these past seven years to make Georgia the No. 1 place for business five times over, the leader in so many pressing areas of our time, and the state where so many want to live, learn, and raise their families,” he said.

He used the metaphor of planting trees to describe the work that still lies ahead for legislators.

“We must adopt the same mindset and gaze as the pecan farmer in South Georgia who plants a tree and knows that its growth is well worth the decades of careful attention it will take to nurture it to its greatest heights,” Deal said. “Just as a parent does the same for a child.”

There were a few new developments Deal included in his speech.

He’s creating a new deputy commissioner position in the Technical College System who will “develop and maintain a unified process with our 22 campuses, the University System, and the Department of Economic Development in terms of how those campuses interact with companies here in Georgia.” Laura Gammage will fill the position.

He will move the state’s Division of Workforce Development to the Technical College System and will relocate the state’s customized recruitment office to TCSG.

The governor’s office created a Commission on Children’s Mental Health last June to develop recommendations on improving mental health services for children. As a result of that commission’s report, Deal will include $22.9 million in his budget proposal.

Deal even worked in some light humor in his address to lawmakers, concerning the fire last year that destroyed a portion of Interstate 85 near downtown Atlanta.

“The last time I spoke in this chamber was on Sine Die of the last session,” Deal quipped. “So let me take this opportunity to ask that you please refrain from setting any fires on your way out of town this year?”

© 2018 by The Georgia Report


Tags: Nathan Deal , State of the State