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Governor nominates state economic chief

Chris Carr has been nominated to become the state’s top economic development official. (Special photo)

Chris Carr has been nominated to become the state’s top economic development official. (Special photo)

ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal has nominated Chris Carr, currently U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s chief of staff, to succeed Chris Cummiskey as the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

The nomination is awaiting proval by the commission board.

“Chris Carr is respected throughout the state and has built a deep reservoir of goodwill,” Deal said. “I trust he will pick up where Chris Cummiskey has left off and bring more economic expansion to Georgia. He has served Georgia well in Sen. Isakson’s office and he’ll continue to do that in his new capacity.

“Chris Carr has done a fantastic job as my chief of staff, and the Governor has made a great choice to lead the Georgia Department of Economic Development,” Isakson said. “This marks the second time a former Isakson staffer has been chosen to lead this agency that is so critical to Georgia’s future.”

Cummiskey will leave the state post on Oct. 11 to join Southern Co. as the chief commercial officer of Southern Power.

“Chris Cummiskey has worked hard and delivered good jobs for Georgians,” Deal said. “He’s led and partnered with me to make Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation to do business. Others have obviously noticed Chris’s abilities, and he is moving on to a great opportunity. I wish him the best of luck, and we will miss him here.

Isakson said Carr has worked for him since 2003, serving first as campaign manager of Isakson’s successful 2004 Senate race and later as deputy chief of staff and chief of staff in his Senate office. Before that, Carr was vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and an attorney with Alston & Bird in Atlanta.

“I would not be in the Senate today without Chris Carr’s political skills, and I am very glad he will be honorary chairman for my 2016 re-election,” Isakson said. “I am very proud that Chris is now the second Isakson staffer chosen to lead this agency that is so critical to Georgia’s future.”

Isakson said Joan Kirchner will become his chief of staff and Edward Tate will be his deputy chief of staff.

Kirchner has worked for Isakson since he came to the Senate in 2005, and has served as deputy chief of staff, senior policy adviser and communications director. She previously served as chief of staff to former U.S. Senator Zell Miller, D-Ga., and prior to that was a reporter for the Associated Press and for Morris News Service for 14 years in Georgia. As a reporter, Kirchner covered both Isakson and Miller at the Georgia Capitol.

Tate has been Isakson’s state director and general counsel since 2011. Tate was Isakson’s campaign manager during his 2010 re-election campaign and previously was deputy COO and deputy executive counsel to former Gov. Sonny Perdue and an associate with King & Spalding LLP in Atlanta. Tate will continue to serve as general counsel and to oversee state operations in his new role.

“I have known both Joan and Edward for more than 20 years and I have the utmost confidence in them. Under their leadership, I know our organization will continue to provide the responsive customer service that Georgians deserve from us,” Isakson said. “I am excited to have these two longtime friends leading my organization.”