published Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Deal urges Georgians to embrace VW

by Kelly Jackson
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    Staff Photo by Kelly Jackson Nathan Deal no over info

DALTON, Ga. — As a candidate for governor, U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal said North Georgia doesn’t “need to be afraid of Chattanooga.”

“We need to be a partner across the state boundary so that we experience the mutual growth and mutual benefits that these kinds of transportation lines will provide to our communities,” Rep. Deal, R-Gainesville, said Friday while meeting with supporters in the Whitfield County Courthouse.

During a speech, he said the state should take advantage of industrial opportunities associated with the new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.

Rep. Deal said he recently met with Volkswagen representatives in Washington, D.C., and sees an opportunity to develop industries that could provide essential supplies to the new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.

“The opportunity to have those allied businesses located in our state (is) going to be very, very important,” he said.

He also expressed interest in efforts to link Chattanooga and Atlanta with high-speed rail, advocated improvements in Georgia’s education system and called for prudent spending.

Dalton’s carpet industry has served as the “backbone” of the region and needs support, he said, adding that he believes diversification of the local economy is necessary.

He also said the slumping economy makes it necessary to control government spending.

“In hard times, it gives those leaders in government the opportunity to be able to cull those things which, while they may be desirable, do not meet the characteristics of necessities,” he said.

Mr. Deal also spoke of the need to have more health care practitioners that accept Medicaid by ensuring providers are paid more quickly through the Medicaid system.

The candidate said he expects his campaign for governor to cost about $3.5 million or more just for the primary and perhaps twice as much for the general election.

H. Phillip Neff, chairman of the Whitfield County Republican Party confirmed that Republicans already planning to run for governor are state Sen. Eric Johnson, R-Savannah; Secretary of State Karen Handel; Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine; and state Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton.

Whitfield County Commissioner Mike Cowan, also a Republican, announced he would run to replace Rep. Deal as U.S. representative for Georgia's 9th Congressional District.

Mr. Cowan said he has served 14 years on the Whitfield County Commission and his current term ends in 2010. He decided to run for the U.S. House of Representatives when Mr. Deal announced his departure.

“I knew that was the direction I needed to go,” Mr. Cowan said.

He held a public meeting Friday to announce his candidacy at the Tunnel Hill Barber Shop.

Martin Matheny, media contact for the Georgia Democratic Party, said he was not yet aware of any Democrats who have announced their candidacy for the 9th District congressional seat.

But a slate of Democrats have announced a run for governor: state Attorney General Thurbert Baker; House Minority Leader DuBose Porter, D-Dublin; and former Georgia National Guard Commander David Poythress have said they’re running.

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