Brian Kemp was sworn in as the 83rd governor of Georgia on Jan. 14 and did not waste any time jumping right into the political minefield. He filled three executive orders on his first day in office, staying true to one of his promises on the campaign trail.
Kemp had his first State of the State address on Jan. 17 at the capitol building in Atlanta. He strayed away from immigration, making education his major issue and promising Georgians that he had confidence in his ability to continue Gov. Deal’s efforts to fully fund public school education.
“My 2020 budget proposal includes a $3,000 permanent salary increase for certified Georgia teachers,” Kemp said.
The governor not only wants to focus on the teacher pay raise but also school security and mental health. He hopes to allocate more money towards mental health professionals to be available to students.
Kemp’s campaign focused on “putting Georgians first,” and he has outlined his efforts to do so in his four-point plan. This includes making Georgia No. 1 in small businesses, reforming state government and strengthening rural Georgia.
“So far it seems that the policies Gov. Kemp is focusing on are the less ‘Trumpy’ ones and more policies that would keep him out of the political spotlight,” said Benjamin Clark, GC lecturer of political science.
However, some Georgians still have issues with the politics Kemp used as his platform during the general election.
“I think his first term will be characterized by an obstruction to progress,” said senior Ben Branch, an outdoor education major. ”His policies on immigration seem to be completely backwards and aligning with extremely right-wing ideology.”
With only a few days under the governor’s, belt only so much can be said about the ways in which he will govern. On his first day in office, he revoked the state’s current sexual harassment training program and demanded that the state inspector general’s office become the first point of contact for any and all complaints.
“It is difficult to say at this juncture whether Kemp is going to end up as a conservative but not quite polarizing figure, like Gov. Deal was, or if he will be more reminiscent of the Brian Kemp that we saw during the election cycle, whose commercials involved him pointing guns at teenagers and talking about rounding up illegal immigrants in the back of his big truck,” Clark said.