Paragraph IV. Qualifications of Governor and Lieutenant Governor. No person shall be eligible for election to the office of Governor or Lieutenant Governor unless such person shall have been a citizen of the United States 15 years and a legal resident of the state six years immediately preceding the election and shall have attained the age of 30 years by the date of assuming office.
-Article V. Section I, Constitution of the State of Georgia
Tell me. What do these six individuals have in common?
The answer is that none of them finished college.
Bill Gates, Michael Dell and Karl Rove all dropped out of college. Ted Turner was kicked out of college. Casey Cagle attended, but never finished college. And Karen Handel left home at age 17, started at the bottom of the corporate ladder and worked her way to the top.
These six individuals are all very accomplished, and the common thread they share is that none of them have college degrees.
There is a debate emerging on Political Insider and Shepherd’s Political Pie about whether a college degree should be required in order to be considered a legitimate candidate for Governor of Georgia.
Jason Shepherd, an Oxendine supporter, writes that “there are at least two candidates on the Republican side […] applying for the State’s top job [who] are hoping that the requirements don’t include a college degree.”
While Lt. Governor Casey Cagle attended both Gainesville College and Georgia Southern University, an injury ended both his football and college career. By the age of 20 he was back home in Gainesville where he started a small tuxedo rental business. In 1994, at the age of 28, he was elected to the state senate.
Karen’s resume as an executive only rivals Oxendine’s on the Republican side. She has also been very successful in her roles and has been successful at each level.
But does that experience negate the need to have a college degree?
Source: Shepherd’s Political Pie, “Chief Executive Wanted: Must Have College Degree”, January 9, 2009
My answer is yes it does.
Much like the Georgians they desire to lead, Casey Cagle and Karen Handel worked hard; they played by the rules; they had their tough times and they persevered; and they both have managed to carve out relatively successful lives for themselves. . .
. . .All without a college degree.
And I say with little hesitation that the life stories of Georgia’s first Republican Lt. Governor and Secretary of State are both very compelling and makes them both very attractive gubernatorial candidates. Their stories are the nearly identical to those of many other citizens of this state.
Constitutionally, there are only three requirements to be elected Governor of Georgia.
You must have been a U.S. citizen for a least fifteen years, a resident of Georgia for at least six years and be at least thirty years old.
So, are Karen Handel and Casey Cagle qualified to be governor?
Will they be elected governor?
Well, that’s up for the people of Georgia to decide. But, I’m pretty sure that most voters will not automatically disqualify Cagle and Handel for the state’s top job simply because they don’t have a piece of paper that says they’re smart.
And anyone, Democrat or Republican, who would make a campaign issue out of that is a getting a little too uppity.