Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp strikes populist tone in run for governor

Article originally published on The Gainesville Times

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is striking a populist tone in his 2018 run for governor, touting his record as a small business owner, prioritizing rural Georgia and adopting a “Georgians first” attitude to state spending and illegal immigrants.

The seven-year secretary of state sat down with The Times on Monday to discuss these issues and others involved in his campaign to be Georgia’s third Republican governor.

After entering the race in late March, the Athens conservative launched an economic platform focused on recruiting and building small business — the “next logical step” of sitting Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign to recruit big business and manufacturing to the state, according to Kemp.

The secretary of state, whose job includes overseeing Georgia business licenses, said about 95 percent of the licenses registered with the state involve corporations with fewer than 50 employees.

He thinks kitchen table issues will be the biggest facing the next governor: health care costs, public safety and jobs.

“I’ve been a small business owner for 30 years,” he said. “I’ve been working with working Georgians every day, and that includes today. I think that’s one of the values that I’ve had — I’ve never lost touch with what’s going on in the real world.”

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