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Cagle: State is focusing on college and career academies

Darton State College President Peter Sireno, from left, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard chat in front of the college’s administration building during Cagle’s whirlwind tour of the region on Wednesday. In addition to Darton, Cagle and his entourage visted Shellman in the morning and followed up with trips to Albany Technical College and Albany State University before ending the day at Georgia Southwestern State University (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

Darton State College President Peter Sireno, from left, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard chat in front of the college’s administration building during Cagle’s whirlwind tour of the region on Wednesday. In addition to Darton, Cagle and his entourage visted Shellman in the morning and followed up with trips to Albany Technical College and Albany State University before ending the day at Georgia Southwestern State University (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

ALBANY — Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle made brief stops at all three Albany institutions of higher education on Wednesday as he and his entourage, which included state Sen. Freddie Powell Sims, swept through Southwest Georgia on a meet and greet of business and educational leaders.

Cagle and his group visited Shellman earlier in the morning, then hopped to Darton State College, Albany Technical College, and Albany State University before winding up the trip at Georgia Southwestern State University.

“It’s great to be here in southwest Georgia at Darton State College, one of the many fine institutions of higher education in our state,” Cagle said.

Cagle then briefly addressed the media. The first questions he was asked was about the shutdown of down of the federal government and ObamaCare and their impacts on south Georgia.

“I was also asked this question in Shellman earlier, and I will tell you that I am glad I am in Georgia right now rather than Washington, D.C.,” he answered. “I hope they get the shutdown issue resolved quickly. “As far as the ACA (Affordable Healthcare Act) is concerned, I don’t see it having a huge impact on us in the short term, but it could have a long-term impact of an increase of $100 million in Medicare and $20 million in additional insurance costs to the (Georgia Board of Regents).”

Cagle was asked about educational priorities when the state legislature convenes in January.

“I think things will continue pretty much the same for right now, although there will be more emphasis placed on college and career academies,” Cagle said. “Our goal is by 2020 for every high school student to have a college or career path and the drive of the career path will be dual enrollment. Education drives the economy, and we have to have an educated workforce to compete in today’s marketplace.”