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When I first ran for governor in 2018, I ran on a promise to put hardworking Georgians first – ahead of the status quo and the politically correct. Shortly after I was inaugurated in 2019, I told Georgians I would fight for them every day, whether they voted for me or not.
Nearly four years later, I am proud to say I spent my first term doing exactly that.
Despite pressure and harsh criticism from all sides, Georgia led the nation in reopening our economy and protecting lives and livelihoods throughout the pandemic. Thanks to that decision, Georgia’s unemployment rate is at its lowest point in state history, more Georgians are in the workforce than ever before, and our state has broken records for new jobs and investment for three straight years.
Because Georgia reopened first, we have seen a record surplus in state revenue, and under my leadership, we are putting those dollars where they belong: back in Georgians’ pockets to help them fight through 40-year-high inflation.
FILE – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp looks on during the celebration honoring the Georgia Bulldogs national championship victory on Jan. 15, 2022, in Athens, Georgia. (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Working with leaders in our General Assembly this year, we returned more than $1 billion in surplus funds to hardworking taxpayers in our state because that money belongs to Georgians, not the government.
We have suspended our gas tax since March, saving Georgians 28 to 30 cents on average every time they fill up, while Joe Biden’s disastrous domestic energy policy makes daily commutes a strain on everyone’s wallet.
We are implementing the largest income tax cut in Georgia’s history, because Republican leadership in our state stood up to cut Georgians’ taxes while Joe Biden and the Democrats broke their promise and raised them in the midst of a recession.
And in recent weeks, I rolled out second term priorities for another $1 billion refund and property tax rebate made possible by Georgia’s success.
On top of our economic record, Georgia has also been a leader in building an education system that puts parents, students, and teachers first.
We led the country in getting kids back in the classroom. We championed a parents’ bill of rights to give families a voice in their child’s education, and we took action to ban divisive concepts like CRT to ensure our students learn how – not what – to think.
We also passed the largest teacher pay raise in state history, prioritized teacher recruitment and retention, and allocated historic funding for school security and mental health resources.
And while Democrats across the country – including my opponent – spend their time advocating for defunding police departments and enacting policies that prioritize violent criminals over the safety of our communities, the state of Georgia continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with law enforcement to keep our families safe.
We have toughened penalties for street racers and human traffickers, created new units in state government to go after the gangs that are terrorizing our streets, and signed legislation to ban rogue local governments from defunding law enforcement.
At every turn, we have put Georgians first – ahead of woke politics, political pressure, and out-of-state billionaires in blue state enclaves attempting to install their values in the Peach State.
But let’s be clear: none of this would be true if Stacey Abrams had been governor the last three years.
Democratic Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams speaks with Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie following a rally with the Asian-American community in Gwinnett County, Georgia on October 7, 2022. (Brandon Gillespie)
Since her loss in 2018, Abrams has spent her time endearing herself to far-left special interests, TV hosts, and mega-donors on the Democratic presidential campaign circuit rather than listening to the needs of hardworking Georgians.
When small business owners faced losing everything they had during the pandemic, Stacey Abrams ran to the nearest liberal news network to campaign for longer lockdowns.
When we followed the data and got our kids back in the classroom, Stacey Abrams sided with the teachers unions and demanded we force children to learn from a screen and face greater learning loss.
While we stood with law enforcement and went after criminals, Stacey Abrams collected a paycheck from organizations seeking to strip law enforcement funding, abolish prisons, and end cash bail.
To put a finer point on it: Georgia is doing well because we said “NO” to everything Stacey Abrams has wanted to do since 2018, and we have to say “NO” again this year.
If elected Georgia’s governor, Abrams only offers Georgians the same, failed policies of blue states and D.C. Democrats: higher taxes, more spending, and crushing regulations that would leave our state’s economy stuck in the mud. That’s why this race is so critical.
Once again, we find ourselves in a fight for the soul of our state, and if I am honored to serve a second term, I will fight tirelessly to give Georgians relief, create greater economic opportunities, and build a safer, stronger Georgia.
Brian Kemp is the 83rd governor of Georgia.