The Alma Times > Opinion > Georgia will face a generational choice in politics in governor’s race


The Alma Times > Opinion > Georgia will face a generational choice in politics in governor’s race

Whether he wins or whether he loses – and he’s a huge underdog at this point – state Sen. Jason Carter brings something worthwhile to next year’s race for governor: he will give voters a real choice in which direction they want the state to take.

Carter’s decision to challenge incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal brings us one of those moments when you can feel the beginnings of a changeover from one generation to another. The tectonic plates of state politics are shifting.

In terms of age, there’s a stark contrast between the two candidates. Carter will be 39 when the general election campaign commences. Deal will be 72, nearly twice the age of his challenger. When Deal was first elected to the Georgia Senate in 1980, Carter was a five-year-old kid who hadn’t even started the first grade.

Carter will be criticized for his youthfulness, but he noted: “Richard Russell was 33 when he first took office, Ellis Arnall was 35, Herman Talmadge was 33, Carl Sanders was 37 when he became governor. Those are giants in Georgia politics.”

It is on the issues, however, where you see the major differences.

Deal is part of a Republican establishment that has controlled state government for more than a decade. That leadership believes the most important thing they can do is cut taxes and provide financial incentives for businesses and corporate executives.

Those benefits to the business community have been financed by cutting billions of dollars in funding for public schools and by limiting the money spent on highways, infrastructure, and public safety.

We can now boast of being a state where many schools can’t afford to keep their doors open 180 days a year – but where we are spending tax funds to build a football stadium for a billionaire NFL owner.

Deal’s priorities will be extensively discussed in his own Republican primary. Dalton Mayor David Pennington and state school Supt. John Barge should provide some thoughtful alternatives on how the state could address its economic development and education shortcomings.

Carter, in his two terms as a Democratic lawmaker, has already confronted Deal several times over the issues of K-12 school funding and how best to allocate the money available for HOPE scholarships to college students. That debate will now be carried over into the general election campaign for governor, and that’s a healthy development for voters.

“You really have folks out there who don’t feel connected, and who don’t see the Georgia they want to see right now,” Carter said last week after filing the paperwork for his campaign. “I know that we can do better and the question then becomes, can we afford to wait? And the answer for me is, no.”

via The Alma Times > Opinion > Georgia will face a generational choice in politics in governor’s race.

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