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State Sen. Jason Carter campaigs with his grandfather looking on.
State Sen. Jason Carter campaigns with his grandfather looking on.
State Sen. Jason Carter told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he will challenge Republican incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal next year.

Gov. Deal is fighting multiple corruption and ethical allegations, including claims that his office was involved in efforts to destroy documents in an open investigation involving the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Sen. Carter, the eldest grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, is a true progressive candidate with a legitimate but tough shot at winning the seat in a state that has been solidly red for more than a decade.

“We want a Georgia that’s at its best,” Carter told the AJC. “And Georgia at its best invests in education, it doesn’t cut billions out of the classrooms, it has an economy that works for the middle class, and it always has an honest government.”

Gov. Deal has shortchanged Georgia’s schools (PDF), blocked access to affordable health care and choked the state's best pipeline for skilled jobs.

Just this week, Gov. Deal celebrated his loyalty to corporate CEOs, a revealing sign of how he has ignored middle class families.
 

In an elaborately staged event on Monday Nov. 4, 2013, Gov. Nathan Deal stands side by side with corporate executives from Home Depot and UPS.
In an elaborately staged event on Monday Nov. 4, 2013, Gov. Nathan Deal stands side by side with corporate executives from Home Depot and UPS.
And then we get to the constant state of suspicion that Nathan Deal is simply a crooked governor:
  • The state ethics commission recently called for an independent investigation of charges stemming from Gov. Deal’s last campaign for governor. The state’s top ethics attorney said the governor’s office was involved in efforts to destroy documents in an open investigation involving the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office. The ethics commission has now reversed its call for an investigation without a vote.
  • An independent reporter recently discovered that Gov. Nathan Deal is collecting political contributions greater than most Georgia families make in a year and failed to file reports for two years.
  • The governor is making millions of dollars from a Texas-based company that won't pay Georgia what it owes. The company owes the state $74 million in back taxes, but Gov. Deal won't do anything about it, even though he made sure he got paid.

In addition, Gov. Deal has refused to expand Medicaid in Georgia, keeping insurance away from more than 600,000 Georgians. According to numerous polls over the past year, Georgia voters support Medicaid expansion at a consistent 60 percent. Just last week, the Georgia Hospital Association broke its silence and said Gov. Deal’s position on Medicaid expansion has put hospitals and the state’s economy at risk.

Gov. Deal has shown little more than lip service for education in Georgia, instead promoting a Constitutional amendment that favors corporate charter schools.

A report published Wednesday (PDF) shows just how poor Gov. Deal’s education leadership has been:

  • 71% of school districts no longer teach students the full 180 days
  • 95% of school districts have had to increase class sizes
  • 42% are eliminating arts and music programs
  • 62% are eliminating electives
  • 38 districts raised local property taxes to make up for state funding cuts
  • 38% are cutting back on remedial programs that help low performing students

While a gubernatorial campaign will be tough for any Georgia Democrat, the race is winnable.

A recent PPP poll commissioned by Better Georgia showed Gov. Deal at 44 percent and Sen. Carter at 40 percent. Women voters form the basis of Carter's support, with 43 percent of female voters saying they would vote for Carter over 37 percent for Deal in a hypothetical matchup.

“I wouldn’t be getting in this race if I didn’t think I was going to win,” Carter told the AJC. “I’m still mad that I finished second in my law school class. I’m not in this to finish second. I think we have every opportunity to win.”
Sen. Carter is an experienced leader with a proven progressive record.

Jason Carter on Education

“The current leadership does not realize that education funding is a unique investment in our state’s economic health.  Treating education investment like other government spending just doesn’t make sense – as a community we reap far more than we sow when we invest in education.  And when we refuse to invest, the consequences are amplified.”
Sen. Carter traveled the state in March 2013 to talk specifically about rural education with south Georgia voters.

Carter told crowds of families that much of the blame of the current problems lies with policy makers in Atlanta.

“No one at the state level is pushing for educational policy changes,” Sen. Carter said. “The first thing they'll tell you is that 'there is no money.' Well, that's just an excuse.”

Early Childhood Education

“Investment in early learning does more than any other investment to close achievement gaps and help ensure that all children get the education they deserve.”
K-12 Funding
“Jason’s wife, Kate, is a public school teacher, and Jason knows that we must also value and support our teachers.  Virtually every study shows that nothing is more important to good educational outcomes than good teachers.”
HOPE Scholarship
“Under Governor Deal’s failed reforms, HOPE will continue to vanish over time.  Every year there will be more and more high-achieving students who cannot afford to go to college.  We are already seeing the results: for the first time in decades, 2012 saw drops in enrollment at two-year, four-year, and technical colleges across the state.”
Jason Carter's Voting Record

Sen. Carter is an attorney with Bondurant Mixson & Elmore.

He is married to Kate Carter and is the father of two boys.

State Sen. Jason Carter is sworn into his Senate seat with his wife, Kate, and two sons.
State Sen. Jason Carter is sworn into his Senate seat with his wife, Kate, and two sons.
Sen. Carter received the Stuart Eizenstadt Young Lawyer Award from the Anti-Defamation League for his pro-bono efforts to protect voting rights and has been named a Georgia Super Lawyer "Rising Star" twice. He also serves on the board of the DeKalb Women's Resource Center, Georgia Afterschool Investment Council and Georgia Appleseed.

Sen. Carter also co-founded the Red Clay Democrats, an Atlanta-based group of young professionals, and Democrats Work, a national organization that engages Democrats in community service projects. He is the author of Power Lines : Two Years on South Africa's Borders, a book about his two years as a Peace Corps volunteer near the Swaziland border.

And, finally, Sen. Carter is ready to fight as a champion of progressive values in Southern state.

Originally posted to BryanLong on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Kos Georgia.

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