Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal meets with Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard at an Albany campaign fundraiser June 17, 2010.
ALBANY, Ga. -- Despite the fancy food, the seersucker suits and the elegant business dresses, an air of "just folks" hovered over a visit to Albany by Nathan Deal, a Republican gubernatorial primary candidate.
"Our big message is that we want to bring more business and job opportunities to Georgia," said Deal, 67, of Gainesville. "I'd like to lower corporate tax rates to increase job investment. We could be the best in the Southeast."
After shaking hands with many of the 40 people at a fundraising reception held at 5:30 p.m. at the Shackleford House on Dawson Road, Deal spoke about his family and the problems facing the state.
"We are real people. We face the same challenges everyone faces in the state," Deal said of his family. "I will always be accessible to you to listen to your concerns."
Deal also spoke about concerns such as education and stronger enforcement of laws against illegal immigrants. One of the challenges in education is to curb the drop-out rate, he said.
Education needs to adopt 21st century tools to teach children such as the Kindle and the iPad, Deal said. More local control could help keep classes smaller and keep teachers working, he said.
To further interest children in the trades, perhaps technical schools could reach out to children at an earlier age, he added.
"I doubt children know what electricians, plumbers and auto mechanics wages are," Deal said. "One out of 10 dropouts is incarcerated. It costs five times as much to keep them in jail as it does school."
A few people in the crowd seemed to like that Deal has a background as a state senator and U.S. congressman.
"That is a good qualification for the office," said Earl Thomas, 72, of Sylvester. "He'll have to deal with D.C. to run the state."
Deal's stated commitment to all of Georgia, not just the more heavily populated north impressed many at the reception.
"I think he is the outstanding candidate to represent all of Georgia," said Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission chairman.