Governor Deal’s State of the State Address

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Governor Deal and House Speaker David Ralston at the State of the State Address
Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Governor Deal and House Speaker David Ralston at the State of the State Address.
Photo: Jon Richards

Governor Nathan Deal addressed a joint session of the Georgia House and Senate this morning. In the annual State of the State message, he focused heavily on education and transportation, but also touched on medical marijuana and proposed a new “Department of Community Supervision,” which would combine some functions of probation and parole with those of the Department of Family and Childrens Services.

Dr. Sid Chapman, president of the Georgia Association of Educators, issued this statement following Deal’s address:

The 2015 State of the State delivered today by Governor Deal gives us hope for the future of k-12 in Georgia. A restoration of $1billion in austerity funds is a good beginning after years of education taking a back burner in the state budget. The establishment of the Education Reform Commissions is the right step to fully evaluate the full context and content of how to evolve our k-12 delivery mechanism. We plan to share with the commission valuable data to incorporate in their evaluation and plan to make salient recommendations.

We share the Governor’s interest for real efforts to be made in the recruitment and retention of quality educators. People have been leaving the profession at an alarming rate while fewer and fewer students have been matriculating to programs of education.

GAE also looks forward to reviewing the plans for the Opportunity School District as they unfold.

Georgia’s Democrats weren’t as sanguine about the Governor’s speech. Georgia Democratic Party Chair DuBose Porter issued this statement this afternoon:

In his speech, Nathan Deal said the state of our state is ‘strong and growing stronger every day,’ but the facts clearly show us that the state of Georgia is at risk of getting even further behind. Under Deal’s watch, Georgia’s middle class has withered, our school rooms are overcrowded, and the promise of opportunity has become a faded memory. Instead of laying out a path forward for our state, what Gov. Deal offered today are the same policies that crashed our economy and crushed our middle class.

Georgia prospers when hard work pays off, responsibility is rewarded, and every single Georgian has a fair shot. If we’re to become competitive in the country once again, we need to invest in our teachers, keep our workforce healthy, help send more students to college and provide them with job training, and tap in to the greatest resource we have—the talent and grit of the people of Georgia. We’ve tried the GOP’s top-down approach for more than a decade. And while it has benefitted a handful of folks at the top, it has wrecked our economy and devastated the middle class.

I urge Gov. Deal to work with Democratic leaders in the state House and Senate and craft a vision for Georgia that invests in our workers and grows our economy from the middle out.

Twitter tweeps had their share of reactions to the State of the State. Below, we compiled some of the best reactions from the #gapol feed.