On Saturday, July 14, just weeks before the end of the primaries, Republican candidate Brian Kemp stopped in Milledgeville on his bus tour to address his four-point plan and speak with locals one-on-one.
GC was out of session, and most students had returned home for the summer, but an estimated 100 people attended the rally, which took place in the Baldwin County Courthouse parking lot.
The introductions were made by current state Rep., Rick Williams, and former state Rep. Rusty Kidd, both of whom have known Kemp for years.
Kemp spoke on his four-point plan and on topics like education and the prison system.
“When he was here, he detailed his four-point plan, which is making Georgia No. 1 for small business, reforming state government, strengthening rural Georgia and putting Georgians first,” said Logan Blackwell, chairman of GC’s chapter of College Republicans.
Rep. Williams said one of Kemp’s goals is to ensure jobs for everyone in Georgia, meaning that Kemp intends to give attention to rural Georgia, where it’s tougher to make a living, rather than only stimulate growth in metro Atlanta.
“What he also told me is the respect he has for our school teachers,” said Rep. Williams. “And we need to cut through some of the red tape and allow those teachers, who are trained to teach, to let them teach.”
Rep. Williams said teachers are swamped with bureaucracy and need to be allowed to do more of what they are trained for.
“When you send a surgeon through med school, and they get out, and they’re practicing surgery; they don’t necessarily need to be doing as much paperwork,” Williams said, using surgeons as an example. “These school teachers are trained, skilled surgeons, and they passed all of these tests, and we’ve got to promote them. Brian Kemp is behind our teachers and our educators in our high schools.”
Rusty Kidd described the rally as festive and upbeat, a sentiment Rep. Williams held as well.
“It was very festive, and people were glad to be able to meet Brian one-on-one and to realize he’s the real deal,” Williams said. “He’s the same guy they’ve seen on TV and heard in ads, so the atmosphere was very happy.”
Kemp is a personable man who took the time to meet locals one-on-one to discuss their thoughts and concerns.
“He was able to go around and talk to anybody who wanted to talk to him,” Kidd said. “That’s one of his fortes, is he’s a southerner. He’s kind of a country boy, so to speak, and he likes to hear what everybody has to say from all walks of life.”
GC’s College Republicans currently has two members on staff working on the Kemp campaign. Graduate student Hannah Hensley does data analytics, and undergraduate Mark Elliott serves as the middle Georgia house and county field director.
“We’ve been working with the Baldwin county party and their chair Joannah Hollis,” Blackwell said, adding that Hollis was the chair of GC’s College Republicans in 2005.
Blackwell said that College Republicans has a target of 5000 phone calls per week, which they have successfully reached every week so far. Additionally, they just finished 350 postcards for Republican candidate for the Georgia Public Service Commission.
“We recently volunteered at a fundraiser for the Kemp campaign, on Sept. 30 in Eatonton,” Blackwell said. “And what we did there was we served as parking crew, we wrote name tags for attendees and we passed out water bottles.”
In April, College Republicans had 17 members. Now the number has grown to 101, Blackwell said.
“We [College Republicans] meet weekly on Thursdays in Atkinson 107, and we are always accepting new people,” Blackwell said.
He encouraged anyone who is interested to reach out to him via email, at email@example.com.