Whether it was the subject of crime, education, transportation, the water crisis or healthcare reform, Deal pushed a paternal tone that conveyed a message of 'I've been a longtime gone, and look what you've done to my great state' in his first message to Georgia as its 82nd Governor.
One of the other core responsibilities of State government is the education of our children. This is an undertaking that has been the primary focus of several of my predecessors in this office. Despite their best efforts and that of dedicated teachers and educators all across our state, our public education system in grades K through 12 has failed to make the progress we need...Betraying little about the way he intends to tackle some of the large problems he identified in his almost 20-minute speech, Deal said enough to sketch a vision of limited government and personal responsibility helping Georgia find a way out of the hard times it faces today.
This failure is a stain on our efforts to recruit businesses to our State and is a contributing factor in the frightening crime statistics previously mentioned. High dropout rates and low graduation percentages are incompatible with the future I envision for Georgia.
As some pointed out earlier, Deal outlined a somewhat progressive direction in handling the state's overcrowded corrections system, advocating for day reporting centers, drug-, DUI- and Mental Health-courts. But don't think the new Governor's going to be soft on crime, he's asking the entire state to get his back as he works to break the cycle of crime that threatens the security of all Georgians.
Education was next on deck, and even though Deal said Georgia's education system is failing the state's economic development efforts, he said the entire state has got to get his back in making learning a top priority under his administration. HOPE will be passed on to future generations, but there are going to be hard decisions about who is going to get cut out of lottery-funded goodness.
Add to the list of things that are ruining Georgia's opportunities for economic development--Transportation. Driving a car anywhere in Atlanta sucks--especially today. So we need to cast aside our petty regional divisions and get behind the effort to find solutions to successfully meeting the state's challenges. Deepening the Port of Savannah may be a way to do that and bring more jobs to Georgia, so Deal says he's all about it.
And while we're talking about water, the Governor wants you to know that he's going to continue talking about it too--with Alabama and Florida. And whether that works or not, we're going to start building reservoirs and begin implementing plans for water conservation.
And even though that might be something that requires federal oversight or assistance, the former Congressman wants you to know that he does not welcome the federal government's assistance in delivering healthcare to its people.
As Governor, I will resist the efforts of the Federal Government to mandate its solutions on our people, our businesses and our State government.You can hear the many people in the state Capitol who have the Governor's back on this in the audio of Monday's address.
Despite all the things mentioned above, Deal used the final portion of his inaugural address to say that his administration will be measuring success by job creation. And as with many of these challenges, the best way to move forward is through limited government and personal responsibility.