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Cagle campaigns in area
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, right, talks with Daniel Defense President and CEO Marty Daniel during a campaign stop at the North Bryan County firearms manufacturer Wednesday. - photo by Photo by Ted O'Neil

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who announced his 2018 bid for governor Sunday, brought his campaign to Bryan County Wednesday afternoon.

Cagle, in his third term as lieutenant governor, toured Daniel Defense in Black Creek and met with employees and local elected officials. Daniel Defense, a firearms manufacturer, recently broke ground on an expansion in North Bryan County that will cost $29.5 million and create 75 new jobs.

Given the setting, one obvious question media in attendance had for Cagle was about the “campus carry” bill passed by the Georgia Assembly last month. The legislation would allow concealed weapons on the campuses of state colleges and universities for those holding the proper permits.

“I expect the governor to sign the bill,” Cagle said.

When asked if he would sign the bill were he governor, Cagle immediately said “yes.”

Gov. Nathan Deal, who vetoed a similar bill last year, has until May 9 to decide.

“We live in a state that is committed to the Second Amendment and I will ensure those rights are protected,” Cagle said. “As an avid outdoorsman, I am committed to the cause.”

Cagle pointed to Daniel Defense’s expansion and job creation as an example of the economic growth he hopes to continue if elected in 2018.

“I have a clear vision of greater prosperity for Georgia, not only by expansion but also in recruiting new businesses to locate here,” he said.

Part of that vision includes streamlining the regulatory environment and permitting process. He said he would put in place an economic development liaison to help businesses wind their way through a “bureaucracy” that “should not be cumbersome.”

Cagle also said he aims to create 500,000 new jobs and push for a $100 million tax break.

“For a family of four, that means their first $12,000 in income would be tax exempt,” he said. “We need to put government on a diet and live within our means.”

Cagle added that the tax cut would be equal to about 10 percent of the roughly $1 billion in annual growth Georgia has been experiencing.

“It would mean an economic benefit for everyone by putting that money back in people’s pockets to spend,” he said.

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