January 16, 2013
Members of the Georgia Chamber, Lieutenant Governor Cagle, Speaker Ralston, state legislators, elected officials, judges, justices, ladies and gentlemen:Let me begin by congratulating you. We have had one of the best years of economic development in quite some time. A few notable companies that have chosen Georgia include Baxter, General Motors, and Caterpillar, along with numerous others. We did this with your help, with both the private and the public sector doing their parts!Several weeks ago, the lieutenant governor, along with Sandra and I hosted a reception at the Governor’s Mansion to honor Georgia’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes who competed at the London Olympic Games. This was an outstanding group of young people of whom we are extremely proud.One of the men in the group was Aries Merritt, a native of Atlanta and a graduate of Wheeler High School in Marietta. Aries won an Olympic Gold Medal in the 110 meter hurdles.Unlike sprinters who travel in a straight line with no obstacles other than the lane markers assigned to them, hurdlers, as the name implies, must jump over obstacles that are placed in their path.Making analogies between sports and government is always risky, but I want to suggest to you that the business of governing our state is somewhat similar to running the hurdles.As governor, my goal is to see Georgia become the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business. I have made that clear from the beginning, because I believe that is the best path to economic growth and the quickest way to get Georgians into jobs. And we are not all that far off from reaching our target: For two years in a row, we have ranked in the top five for business climate by Site Selection Magazine, and we ranked No. 3 for doing business in 2012 by Area Development Magazine. But we certainly still have some hurdles that we must overcome before we get there.This morning I will focus my remarks on one of the highest hurdles facing state government, that of healthcare. In Georgia, we have had many successes in the realm of healthcare. With rising healthcare costs, we have worked to keep Georgians healthy so that they can avoid some of these expenses rather than react to them when they become ill.