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Gov. Kemp:

“In a Fight For The Soul of Our State”

Governor Brian Kemp stopped at the Vidalia Community Center Thursday on a campaign swing through the state.

“Make no mistake – we are in the fight for the soul of our state,” Kemp emphasized during his address. “That’s exactly what I told you in 2018. The problem was, in 2018, a lot of people didn’t believe that; they didn’t think that [the 2018 Gubernatorial] race would be that close – but it was.”

He referenced the pandemic and the decision to remain open when the rest of the nation was shutting down to emphasize the “fight” that continues daily through various disagreements amongst politicians, according to Kemp. “They criticized me for being the first state to reopen,” he explained. “They criticized me continued from page

when I didn’t shut down for the second wave of the pandemic. They criticized me when I pushed to get our kids back into the classroom. Regardless of whether it’s under the Trump administration or the Biden administration, our kids need to be in the classroom.”

“The reality of it is we did not have to protect just lives – we also had to protect livelihoods,” Kemp continued. “We warned early on about the ramifications of keeping our economy shut down, not having our kids in school, mental health issues, physical health issues, and economic viability issues for our families.”

“Georgians now know more than ever that it matters who your governor is,” Kemp remarked. “There has been one person in each state in this country who decided whether or not you could open your business. It is scary to think about living in a place where someone can tell you that you cannot go to work or provide for your family and the people that are working for you. It is scary to think you have one person that has the ability to tell you that your kids cannot go back to school. It’s scary to think about one person in each state telling you that you cannot open your churches. We didn’t do that in Georgia, and as long as I am governor, we never will.”

Kemp referenced various controversial events throughout his tenure as governor, such as the Heartbeat Bill, which he signed into law in 2019 – a promise he made during his campaign for election. This legislation made abortion illegal after a heartbeat could be detected during pregnancy.

He added, “We cannot win this fight alone. As hard as we are working, we still cannot win this fight alone. We need you all in this fight with us. We need your vote, and we need you to communicate with those around you – remind them of the past events and of the primary and general elections.”

Kemp also commented on his work with Senator Blake Tillery (R-19), Vidalia, through Tillery’s role as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I had the honor of standing with Blake yesterday, along with Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan (R), the Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston (R), and a lot of the other agency heads, when I signed the amended budget,” Governor Kemp informed the Vidalia crowd who had gathered to hear him speak. “It is one of the best budgets, I guarantee, in the country.”

He went on to tell the crowd that education, from kindergarten to twelfth grade, will be fully funded by the state government. Also, teachers will receive increased pay as an act of appreciation for their work.

In that same amended budget, taxpayers will be returned some money because of a surplus of tax funding. A total of $1.5 billion is set to be returned to those who filed taxes in 2021. Those who filed single- individual forms will receive $250 back, while those who filed jointly will receive $500 from their tax payment last year. “We have more money than we needed this year because we budgeted conservatively and because we kept our economy within the state during the pandemic when others did not,” Kemp said. “There was excess revenue, and

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our accounts are in the best position in history, so we are giving back to the taxpayers. That is how government should work.”

Kemp also noted that during his term in office, Georgia experienced the lowest unemployment rate in the state’s history.

When asked about the Governor’s focus on industrial growth and economic development throughout the state, Kemp pointed out that 74% of the $11 billion invested in the state by companies was focused outside of the Metropolitan Atlanta counties. He also said 89% of counties with a population of less than 50,000 people, have received help from the Governor with economic development.

Industrial development outside of the metro Atlanta area includes the location of the new Rivian Automotive Plant in Morgan County, announced in December 2021, which is the single largest economic development in Georgia History. This $5 billion plant will create 7,500 jobs at its 2,000 acre site. This project was a joint effort by the Jasper, Morgan, Newton, and Walton County Development Authorities.

The SK Battery Plant, a $2.2 billion development, began in 2019 and will place 2,600 jobs in Henry County. Savannah landed an expansion of Amazon Distribution, which created 1,000 jobs, and an electronics recycling facility at a cost of $85 million, which added 150 jobs. Purple Mattress expanded its operation, and opened 500 new jobs in Henry County. Freshly Food Delivery expanded in Clayton County with a $52 million investment. CISCO expanded its operation to the tune of $41 million in Midtown Atlanta.

The Governor’s Office announced on March 10 a $260 million expansion of the PepsiCo manufacturing plant in Dekalb County, creating 136 additional fulltime jobs.

Closer to home, Aspen Aerogel Manufacturing, a technology leader in aerogel-based sustainability and electrification solutions, will construct a $325 million facility in Bulloch County, and will create over 250 advanced manufacturing jobs. Dodge County is also seeing economic growth, as SoPoly Recycled Outdoor Furniture is investing $5 million into the expansion of its facility in the county, creating 200 new jobs. When asked what plans were in the works to locate industries in Vidalia and the surrounding counties, Kemp stated there are no current plans for doing so.

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