Kemp and First Lady Visit VHS
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp visited Toombs County last Wednesday, stopping by Vidalia High School to see first-hand how the City School System has safely met the COVID-10 challenge to resume face-to-face classes. Wearing a mask and having his temperature checked at the door like all visitors to the VHS campus, the governor greeted local officials in the school foyer before proceeding to the auditorium to speak with members of Joy Collins’ tenth grade honors government class. He and the first lady also visited the school’s band room to talk with music director Dr. Beth Taylor about how the high school band is resuming its activities while observing COVID-19 protocol.
At the end of the visit, Governor Kemp paused briefly outside the school to answer the media’s questions about the expectations for economic growth in Southeast Georgia and about going forward in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “My resolve on strengthening rural Georcontinued from page
gia has not changed since the campaign. We have had some record announcements over the new fiscal year and since the start of last year under my administration,” Gov. Kemp said. In the month of July, Georgia announced roughly $574 million in new investments and 3,629 new jobs created in nearly every region of the state. “We are proud to be building on the legacy of Governor Sonny Perdue and Governor Nathan Deal with Georgia as the number one state in the country for business.”
“We know there are great opportunities in Southeast Georgia for places like Vidalia. I am very optimistic about that,” the governor said, emphasizing, “We are continuing to focus on workforce training. That is what is so important about this school (VHS) here is that it is preparing our young people to go into the job market, into job training programs, and into higher education.” He said of the area’s youth, “We want them to have the opportunity to stay right here and have a good-paying job and not have to leave and go somewhere else. We want to give them the opportunity to live, work and raise their families in the community where they grew up.”
Commenting on the state’s fight against COVID, the governor said, “In the last four weeks, our number of (COVID) cases declined 30%, hospitalizations are down, 75% of our hospitals have seen a reduction in COVID cases, and our percent positive has gone from 13% to 9% so we are on the right track.”
Following the success of his “Four Things for Four Weeks” campaign, Governor Kemp is urging all Georgians to do “Four Things for Fall”: wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash their hands regularly, and follow the guidance of public health officials detailed in the executive orders. He emphasized the importance of observing the large-gathering ban. “That is something to keep in mind as people go into the Labor Day holiday. If we do that we will be able to have fall sports, inperson church services, and be able to protect families, especially the vulnerable ones in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and we will continue to be able to continue to open our economy. Our economy is going as good as anywhere in the country.”
The governor said of moving forward in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have to do two things, protect lives and livelihoods.”
Governor and Mrs. Kemp started the day in Baxley at the Coastal Pines Technical College where a press conference was held announcing the Regional College Career Academy. The new workforce development program is a partnership between Wayne, Jeff Davis, Bacon, Pierce and Appling counties and is funded by $3 million from the state’s bond package. The Kemps also attended the Claxton Rotary Club luncheon and made a stop at a Claxton fruit cake bakery. Their trip to Southeast Georgia wrapped up in Metter where they toured the CPE America factory and where the governor participated in a round-table discussion with Candler County Industrial Authority and the Metter Chamber of Commerce.