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Kemp visits supporters in Cordele, promises big raise for teachers

Georgia Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp stopped in Cordele on Thursday afternoon as part of his statewide bus tour.

Kemp met a full house of supporters at the Cordele Historic Museum for nearly an hour. The Republican from Athens urged them to encourage as many people as possible to vote in the November 6 election.

Kemp’s stump speech touched on many different issues, including public safety, expanding economic opportunities in rural Georgia, and lowering taxes. But the biggest highlight of his remarks may have been his comments on education.

“With your help, as governor I’m going to invest in public education, and I’m going to give our teachers a $5,000 pay raise,” Kemp said. “We have to do more to recruit teachers in rural Georgia, and we have to grow them here locally – just like we grow our crops.”

He also pledged to preserve the HOPE scholarship, which provides college tuition assistance to Georgia students who maintain a 3.0 grade point average or better.

“I’m going to protect the HOPE scholarship, and I’m not going to give it to people who are here illegally,” Kemp said. “That will ruin the entire program financially, and we can’t let that happen to my children, your children, and our grandchildren.”

Kemp described the 2018 election in idealogical terms.

“We’re in a fight for our future in this state. I think y’all know that. We’ve got the whole country watching this race,” he said.

He painted his opponent, Democrat Stacey Abrams of Atlanta, as a liberal who is weak on illegal immigration and wants higher taxes and bigger government.

As for himself, Kemp said he wants to build off of Nathan Deal’s and Sonny Perdue’s work as governor, “and quite honestly, many other good governors like Zell Miller and George Busbee and other folks before them.

“I’ve been here many times. I know what drives the folks down here. I know what drives the local economy. It’s hardworking farmers and agribusinesspeople, and people in the community that are just like me – small businesspeople.”

Kemp’s stop in Cordele was part of a three-day bus tour of 20 cities across south Georgia.

Advance voting for the 2018 general election is already underway. All polling places will be open on Tuesday, November 6, the final day of voting.