ATLANTA — After taking office just days ago, Brian Kemp gave his first State of the State address as Georgia governor Thursday.
The new governor addressed both Houses at the State Capitol, laying out his goals for his first year in office.
Channel 2's Richard Elliot said Kemp touched on plans for cracking down on gangs, school security and his plans to give teachers a $3,000 raise.
In an exclusive interview with Channel 2 Action News, Kemp said at the top of his agenda are issues related to education. Kemp promised a "historic and well-deserved" pay raise for public school teachers.
"To recruit and retain the best and the brightest in our schools, we must remove the heavy burdens in the classroom and keep teacher pay competitive," Kemp said.
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The governor also unveiled a $69 million plan in the amended budget for school security.
"That will give schools, every single school in our state, all 2,294 public schools, a $30,000 grant," Kemp said.
State School Superintendent Richard Woods released a statement Thursday afternoon saying, “I wholeheartedly support Governor Kemp’s call for a $3,000 raise for teachers, and additional funding to come in subsequent years, along with his recommended school security and mental health funding. From where I sit, Governor Kemp is hearing the concerns of Georgia educators, parents and students and taking them seriously. I look forward to working with him on these much-needed proposals.”
Kemp said he also wants to focus on mental health in Georgia schools, proposed the creation of a new GBI-based gang task force for what he says is a growing gang problem in the state and plans to give the Department of Community Health $1 million to find flexibility options for state Medicaid.
During his speech, Kemp acknowledged the legacy of prior governors in making Georgia financially secure.
"Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Sonny Perdue and Gov. Nathan Deal, Georgia has a solid foundation. The state of the state is rock solid," he said.
Cox Media Group