Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle says he’s ready to be Georgia’s next governor.
The Republican has thrown his hat into the ring with Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Georgia House Minority Leader Stacy Abrams, Democrat, State Sen. Hunter Hill, R-Atlanta, and other candidates.
Cagle stopped by the Coastal Courier Tuesday afternoon to talk about the 2018 race.
He said a priority would be creating better educational access for students.
He said he has helped establish 40 college and career academies, including Liberty’s County’s, and seen how it’s changing lives.
"Having individuals explore career paths on the front end and then determine what path they want to pursue and it’s exciting to see the number of kids coming out of high school with industry certified certificates, a really prepared workforce."
Workforce development is part of Cagle’s "very bold vision of greater economic prosperity for everyone."
If elected, Cagle vows to create 500,000 jobs in his first four years, focusing on small businesses and existing companies.
He plans to place "economic development agents" in each state agency to help businesses grow and create jobs.
Cagle wants to build infrastructure for rural broadband to attract companies.
"I believe that in rural Georgia, particularly, that we’re no longer bound by bricks and mortar, the world is our marketplace," Cagle said. "We need to afford rural Georgia and all of Georgia to market new ideas and new products to the world."
Expanded broadband will also help students, he said.
Cagle wants to be "a governor that builds out that infrastructure" of roads and bridges as well, citing growth of the ports and increased truck traffic on roads.
If elected, within his first 100 days Cagle said he will push a $100,000,000 tax cut, exempting the first $12,000 of income for a family of four.
He said there would be no offsetting hidden tax increase. Government would be "placed on a diet as well, living within its means."
Cagle’s said his push for "economic prosperity" stems from his youth. He described himself as someone who was not supposed to be the lieutenant governor.
He was raised by a single mother after his father left when he was 3. Cagle attended eight different schools by the sixth grade and his mother worked two jobs.
"Today 25 percent of our kids live in poverty and that’s not acceptable to me and I believe the only way to get out of poverty is make sure we’re giving greater opportunities, greater choices to kids," he said. "...As governor I’ll have the opportunity to make those sacrifices to put the right public policy in place, so every single person cannot look at poverty as something you are trapped in but something you can look at to create a springboard."
One of Gov. Nathan Deal’s initiatives last year was the Opportunity School District, allowing the state to temporarily take over chronically failing schools.
Cagle believes in local control.
"Anytime you try to run something from Atlanta you have problems," he said. "But when you really give ownership to local community to design an education curriculum around the needs of their community and also around the needs of individual students, you will have education excellence."