ATLANTA, GA (WTOC) - Brian Kemp was sworn in as the 83rd Governor of Georgia on Monday, Jan. 14, and he’s ready to get to work.
WTOC sat down with Kemp and spoke with him ahead of his swearing in to discuss his plans for the state. He says he has big plans for Georgia, some of which include reforming the immigration system, gun violence and adding regulations in legal gun buyers and even drug cartels.
Kemp says he has been preparing for this day for months.
“Our focus has been on transitioning and getting our policy ready for session and getting the budget prepared. We’ve been working with Governor Deal’s office and himself on that and some of his priorities as he leaves office, and they know what my priorities are,” Kemp said.
The inaugural ceremony traditionally takes place on the steps of the Georgia State Capitol Building, but this year, it was held at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion.
There was a lot of energy and excitement as Nathan Deal passed the baton to Kemp. Those in attendance hope Kemp delivers on campaign promises that helped get him nearly two million votes.
“With our low taxes, a business-friendly government, and access to logistics hubs at the Port of Savannah and Atlanta Airport, Georgia is the epicenter of job growth, the Hollywood of the South, and soon to be the cyber capital of the world,” the new governor said. “We will make Georgia the number one state for small business. We will invest in early learning and protect the vulnerable. We will crack down on organized crime and those who threaten our future. The challenges ahead are great, but it can be done.”
Kemp highlighted some of his plans while speaking optimistically about the future of the state of Georgia.
“In the years to come, we will spur private sector job creation by cutting taxes and red tape. We’ll fully fund education, stand with our farmers, and protect the values we hold dear.”
The Republican also issued a call to action to fellow lawmakers whose help he’ll need in passing key legislation regarding teacher pay raises, rollbacks on government regulation, and more.
“Elections can simply rip us apart, but after visiting all 159 counties, I can tell you this. We have so much in common. As governor, I will fight for all Georgians. Not just the ones that voted for me," Kemp said. “As governor, I will work every day to keep Georgia moving in the right direction. My vision is for a safer and stronger state. I know it can be done.”
Brian Kemp emphatically declared victory around 3 a.m. the day after the election. He capped off a long campaign through a contentious primary runoff and then one of the most high-profile general elections in state history.
That week followed with accusations of voter suppression and cheating from his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams. It also included huge rallies at the state house to count every vote. One Democratic state senator even got handcuffed in the process.
Some feel the state is more divided than ever given the recent election. Kemp says the hard-fought race is in the past though, and it’s time to move forward for all Georgians.
The other constitutional officers in Georgia who were also sworn in Monday include Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
“I’m really excited about the bright future of Georgia,” Lt. Gov. Duncan said. “I believe our best days are in front of us and I want 11 million people in every corner of this state to wake up every single day regardless of their political party and realize those best days are in front of us also.”