If you were Georgia’s governor, what would you want your legacy to be? Most would want a spotless legacy, we would think, with several key points paramount on ways they would have improved the lives of the governed.
We think back to the way Carl Sanders is thought of as an “education governor,” in that he greatly improved public education for our state at all levels. (He might also be called the “airport governor, ” as he established many local airports, using this as a tool for economic development.)
Eugene Talmadge would never be thought as the “education governor” after his efforts to stack the Board of Regents led to the University of Georgia losing accreditation. That’s a legacy, too.
George Busbee may be thought upon as the governor most interested in overseas economic development. Zell Miller will certainly be remembered for bringing the Hope Scholarship (through approving a Lottery) to our state. And don’t forget Herman Talmadge, who foresaw the way the state could be improved by having a sales tax to pay for many levels of government. (No, taxes are not always bad.)
But what if you were a governor by the name of Nathan Deal? What would you see as your legacy?
For certain, Governor Deal may be remembered, but not in a good way, for seeking to stranglehold the entire state for his refusal to buy into the Affordable Health Care Plan for our state. He and his Insurance Commissioner, Ralph Hudgens, seem to have no heart at all when it comes to the plight of average citizens needing health care, who want to sign up for improved health care. But the two stand in the way, saying “Never!” They resist Georgia joining progressive states with an adequate health care plan.
Governor Deal, right, may also be remembered particularly well in his previous hometown of Gainesville, where he has appointed first one person after the other to state positions or to serve on state boards. In fact, rumor has it that the governor is having a hard time in finding other Gainesvillians to serve on other boards, and may have to branch out to Lula, New Holland and Chicopee (though still within Hall County) for other upcoming appointees.
Another way Governor Deal is making inroads toward being remembered in a negative way is his recent efforts to take away health insurance benefits for school bus drivers. These people, entrusted to protect our children as safe bus drivers, of all people are in the governor’s radar, He feels that cutting their health benefits will be fair, since the state has other part-timers, who do not get benefits. That may be true, but these other part time employees of the state are not in the same league as the people who shepherd our children to and from school.
Not only that, but for a state which wants to improve education, this seems no way to go about it. It sends negative connotations to other states, and to industries who might want to move here.
Think too, when you attack school bus drivers, you are also attacking lunchroom workers, cleaning crews, and other low-income employees of our school systems. Teachers, who will remember the governor’s efforts toward the bus drivers, will wonder, “Are we next?”
It’s a sad state of affairs for our governor to be so negative.
Nathan Deal has more than 3.5 years remaining on his term. We pray to see a change in heart of the governor, and giving us more positive vibes to burnish his legacy.
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COMING NEXT: A three part series on how Georgia State University grew from being a stepchild of the University System, to soon becoming its biggest school, plus being a major research university.