JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Gov. Brian Kemp recounted the accomplishments of the 2019 legislative session to a packed house April 26 at the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce.
Kemp largely focused on nonpartisan issues like raising the budget for teacher pay and school security, hurricane relief and fighting sex trafficking and gang violence.
However, he did mention two of the more controversial pieces of legislation passed during his first legislative session: Medicaid waivers and abortion restrictions.
“I signed, quite a while ago now, the Patients First Act, to craft a Georgia-centric healthcare system that will help lower insurance premiums, expand access to care and improve health outcomes for our families,” he said. “We passed the LIFE act to protect the innocent and the unborn.”
Given the audience, Kemp focused on the strength of the economy and importance of business development to the state.
“I want to thank you all for your strong support and being part of the Georgia economy and for what you do putting your efforts into your small business or the companies you’re working for,” Kemp said. “In my eyes, the folks that are members of the Chamber of Commerce and are involved in the operations and support of local chambers, that is literally where the rubber meets the road.”
Kemp pointed to a couple of economic windfalls for the state, Korean SK Innovations building a $1.7 billion factory in Jackson County, which is expected to add 2,000 jobs, and California-based Plastics Express building a new base in Pooler, Ga., bringing a great deal of new business to the Savannah port.
Kemp said he will continue to focus on business development and take on adoption and foster care reform.
“As you can tell, we’ve accomplished a lot in our first 100 days of my term,” Kemp said. “I want you to know we are not resting on our laurels and we are just getting started.”
After his speech, Kemp was fed questions. Asked about President Donald Trump’s recent visit to the state to attend a conference on the opioid crisis, Kemp commended the president for his work at the federal level and highlighted work being done by the state.
Asked about Amazon, Kemp said the state would not be chasing “HQ2,” or a new headquarters, but that he was confident Amazon will continue to grow its regional offices in Georgia.
On the subject of east-west connectivity in North Fulton, Kemp said he was open to innovative, market-based solutions to transit.
“We have a great problem and a bad problem in the metro area with traffic,” Kemp said. “We’re growing so fast it’s hard to outbuild that growth when you look at road and bridge problems, so we’ve got to start thinking outside the box.”
Kemp spoke as part of the Wellstar Chamber Luncheon Series. For more information about the Chamber, visit gnfcc.com.