In the past few weeks, Brain Kemp has made the transition from candidate to incumbent. Appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to fill the vacancy created by Karen Handel’s resignation, Kemp said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve as acting Secretary of State.
“I’m excited about the opportunity and I appreciate Governor Perdue’s confidence in me,” he said.
Kemp, a state senator from 2002 to 2006, served as the chair of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, vice-chair of the Higher Education Committee and as secretary of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. He also served as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a role he said has helped him immensely as he manages the budget for the Secretary of State’s Office.
Kemp has already proposed several cost saving measures and vowed to do whatever necessary to insure his office remains within budget.
“You will not see me, nor anybody else on my staff, crying about budget cuts,” he said. “We’ve got to do just like you do. We’ve got so much money that we are making and that’s how much we can spend.”
Speaking at the Jan. 18 meeting of the Barrow County Republican Party, Kemp described himself as a fiscal conservative and a supporter of free markets. He said one of his goals as Secretary of State is to make the state more attractive to businesses by removing government obstacles.
“I want to be involved in economic development. I want to be involved in helping the job market here in Georgia,” he said.
Kemp also supports measures such as photo identification laws and citizenship verification to prevent fraud in state elections.
“I’m going to continue to do what we all believe in,” he said. “I think people really understand it is time for Republicans to deliver in this state.”
Kemp will face Republican challengers Robin Carlisle and Doug MacGinnitie in the July 20th primary.
Political newcomer Stephen Northington, candidate for state insurance commissioner, was also a guest speaker at the Jan. 18 Republican Party meeting.
Northington is the owner of Group Insurance Solutions LLC, an independent insurance agency, and has been in the insurance business for the past 17 years. Northington said he was compelled to run after watching events unfold in the nation’s capital.
“We’re going to get some kind of legislation coming down out of Washington,” he said. “I don’t think we need to have any on-the-job training when it comes to insurance regulations.”
While Northington would like to see some of Georgia’s insurance laws changed, he does not see federal legislation as the appropriate way to reform the industry – especially given the impact that health care legislation will have on the citizens of Georgia.
“When you think about the economic impact for the entire health care and health insurance industry, it is going to be very substantial,” he said. “The impact for the citizens here in Georgia will be huge.”
Northington, State Senator Seth Harp, State Senator Ralph Hudgens, State Representative Tom Knox, Peachtree City Mayor Harold Logsdon, GOP activist Gerry Purcell and GOP activist Maria Sheffield are vying for the opportunity to challenge Democratic candidate Mary Squires in November.
The next meeting of the Barrow County Republican Party will be held February 15, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. State Senate District 47 candidates Shane Coley, Kelley Gary and Pat Graham are scheduled to speak. The Barrow GOP meets at the Winder Woman’s Club located at 15 West Midland Avenue in Winder. The meetings are open to the public.
For more information, visit www.barrowgop.com or join the Barrow County Republican Party on Facebook.