Transcript by Rev.com.
Cost to us, $ 128.80. We operate on donations.
WSB-TV Republican gubernatorial debate
WSB TV video in two parts here.
Sunday, April 24, 2022
I have highlighted text in which illegal immigration is mentioned. I don’t think we missed any.
WSB Moderator: (00:00)
And thank you for joining us for this live debate to the republican primary for Georgia governor. We are now just a month away from election day. There are five republicans running in the primary for governor. To qualify for our debate, a candidate needed to reach a 10 percent threshold in the average of 7 independent polls. The candidates in our debate tonight meet that threshold. One candidate who did not is Candace Taylor. There’s currently a small group of protestors outside of our studios calling for Taylor’s inclusion. But again, she did not meet the polling threshold.
Now, let’s meet the candidates who did. Incumbent Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and former U.S. Senator from Georgia, David Perdue. Gentleman, thank you for being here and making yourselves available to Georgia’s voters.
To question the candidates tonight I’m joined by our panel, Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot, WSB community and public affairs director Condace Pressley, Atlanta Journal Constitution political reporter Greg Bluestein and Univision political reporter Rafael Olavarria. Let’s begin tonight with opening statements. Each candidate will have 90 seconds. We determined the order through a drawing and first up, Senator Perdue.
Candidate Perdue: (01:09)
Well thank you, Justin. First off, folks, let me be very clear tonight. The election in 2020 was rigged and stolen. All the madness we see from the Biden administration, 2 million illegals, rising gas prices, unbelievable inflation, the brink of war, all that started right here in Georgia when our governor caved and allowed radical democrats to steal our election. And because of that, it has divided our party and can not win. What you’re going to see tonight, unfortunately, is an embattled governor, a career politician, 20-year career politician who’s gonna parent his political handlers to distract you away from the fact that he sold us out and cost us a majority in the United States Senate.
Candidate Perdue: (01:55)
I’m proud to have President Trump’s endorsement. With your help, we will get this done. We will win. When my mom and dad raised me and I worked my way through Georgia Tech, uh, I was proud to be from Georgia. I had a 40-year business career where I created thousands of, of good American jobs. What I want to tell you tonight is the only reason that I’m running is to try to save our state. What I’m worried about is that the woke left has entrenched themselves here. What we have to do right now is to make sure we get criminals off our streets, the woke mob off our… out of our schools, eliminate the state income tax, and prosecute voter fraud. Together we have to fight back.
Governor Kemp: (02:46)
Well, Justin, first of all, thank you for having me tonight. I want to thank the panelists and thank WSB for inviting us to be here. You know, when I ran in 2018, I made a very simple promise to the Georgia voters. I told them I would put them ahead of the status quo and the politically correct and put hard-working Georgians first, and I’ve done that. And, you know, I was tired of politicians that would say one thing on the campaign trail but do something else when they got in office or do nothing at all. So I promised you if you’d let me be your governor, I’d do exactly what I campaigned on when I got in office, and that is exactly what I’ve done.
Governor Kemp: (03:25)
As a father of three daughters and a husband, I believe now more than ever we live in the greatest state in the country to live, work and raise our families. Am I, am I, and I am honored to be serving as your 83rd governor. But I also realize that we are in a fight for the soul of our state. And I want to promise you this tonight, if you will nominate me as your republican nominee, I will work every single day and so will Marty and the girls to make sure that Stacey Abrams is never your governor or your next president. I have the record to do that, and I’m willing to put in the work to do it, and we will save our state from Stacey Abrams. So I’m honored to be here. I look forward to your questions tonight.
Gentleman, again, we appreciate you being here. A quick overview of the rules this evening. Each candidate will have 90 seconds for responses, approximately 45 seconds for rebuttals. So let’s get underway.
Senator Perdue, first question to you, please. Uh, there hasn’t been a significant intraparty challenge to an incumbent, uh, governor in more than 70 years. And so, you’ve addressed it before, but your response to those who say that you running, uh, is, is just going to weaken the party as you’re likely going to face, the winner is likely gonna face democratic Stacey Abrams. Are you fracturing the party just by, by running?
Candidate Perdue: (04:49)
Well, last time I checked, Justin, we are in a democra-, democratic republic. That’s what this is all about. You give people choices, and that’s what we’re doing. I’m not dividing the party, the party was already divided. All last year while our governor would not investigate anything, we were called and called and called. Why won’t he investigate? He would not sign… he, he would not stop the consent decree that was signed. He would not give us a special session. In the past year he’s not investigated anything. As a matter of fact, if a democrat was doing what he’s doing now and suppressing information and not following up on leads and not really telling people in this state to investigate voter fraud, we wouldn’t be divided. I’ll tell you this, if he were a democrat, even his strongest supporters would be calling this a gross, corrupt coverup.
Governor Kemp: (05:40)
Well, first of all, I’m not gonna let you call me corrupt like you let John Alsop call you corrupt.
Candidate Perdue: (05:45)
Governor Kemp: (05:45)
And your record and what you’re saying is completely false. I have followed the law and the Constitution. You have a candidate that is gonna attack my record unfortunately all night tonight because they didn’t have a record of their own to beat John Alsop in 2020. They’re also lying to you about the consent decree and other things that I didn’t have anything to do with. And I’m looking forward to discussing that tonight, uh, because, you know, the things that David is saying is absolutely not true. I’m the person… our lawyers invested hundreds of hours and referred a case to the state election board that has subpoena powers and does have the inves-, investigator gate of authority, uh, to do exactly what you’re accusing me of.
So Governor Kemp, there has not been any evidence then or to date that has led you to believe that you should act? Is that what, what you’re saying?
Governor Kemp: (06:40)
Well, the, the jurisdiction… and look, I was secretary of state for eight years, and I don’t need to be lectured by someone that lost their last election about what our voting laws are and who has responsibilities for those in our state. I mean, I’m the guy that sued the Obama Justice Department so that we have a citizenship check when you register to vote. I’m the person that’s been to court multiple times defending our voter ID laws. I’m the person that’s been fighting back against Stacey Abrams and all of these liberal groups that have sued us for years when no one was paying attention, including David Perdue. Uh, so the, the investigative authority per the laws and the constitution of this state in 2020 lies with the secretary of state’s office and the state elections board.
Governor Kemp: (07:24)
Now, we have had things that have been given to our office that we’ve looked in to, and when we’ve thought they had merit, we referred them to the proper authorities to investigate because they’re the ones that have subpoena powers. You know, thankfully this legislative session we passed legislation and we might move the money in the budget long before people started talking about this to allow GBI to start doing that and take the lead on elections investigations and I look forward to signing that bill soon.
Candidate Perdue: (07:52)
I’d like to rebut.
Candidate Perdue: (07:53)
Thank you, Justin. Well, first of all, the only reason I’m not in the United States Senate is because you caved in and gave the election to Stacey, or to, uh, the liberal democrats in 2020. I go back to the consent decree, Governor, and the fact that today not one person in this state, forget about all that political double talk, not one person has been prosecuted. Tell me what we’re doing to investigate what people are asking you to investigate today. We have evidence that’s compelling. We have a, a court case right, civil court case, where the judge ruled that the evidence was compelling and actually ruled to unseal the ballots in Fulton County, and yet nothing has been done with that. We now have hard indisputable evidence of ballot trafficking and ballot harvesting in this state and you guys are not looking at it all. The head of the GBI saw it a year ago. You saw it a year, and nothing’s been done about that.
Candidate Perdue: (08:40)
What I come back to is this, you keep talking about it as somebody else’s responsibility. You’re the top cop in this state. It’s your job to make sure that we prosecute voter fraud. And right now you’re telling the people of Georgia that not one person violated the law in voter fraud in 2020. Is that right?
Governor Kemp: (08:57)
That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is we got information, some from one of your friends that sent it to us and we actually did something about it, and we sent it to the secretary of state’s office.
Candidate Perdue: (09:07)
And what’s been done about that?
Governor Kemp: (09:08)
But you’re talking about somebody that was a candidate on the ballot that didn’t even ask for a recount. They didn’t go into the courtroom until they were a candidate for governor well over a year after the election was over. And while we were passing the strongest elections’ integrity act in the country, you were nowhere to be found weighing in on any of that. And the GBI has looked at this. But you know what? So has the FBI, and they haven’t moved any further because they’re asking for that one person that supposedly called in that knew about this so-called, um, you know, operation, if it existed or not. I don’t know whether it did, but if it did, we need that one person investigating it. The GBI put that in a letter. Nobody’s given us the name of that person.
Candidate Perdue: (09:53)
Senator, 10, 10 seconds to rebuttal.
Candidate Perdue: (09:54)
Thank you. Well, first of all, that is not answering the question. Not one person, no matter who’s doing this or who’s supposed to be investigating, not one person has been, uh, prosecuted for voter fraud after a year and a half.
Governor Kemp: (10:05)
Well, the governor is not a prosecutor, by the way.
Candidate Perdue: (10:07)
No, but you’re the top person that can make sure that things get investigated.
Governor Kemp: (10:08)
Yeah, but we have a constitution and the attorney general is the top prosecutor of the state as long as, as well with the local district attorney.
Candidate Perdue: (10:15)
You know, that’s what politicians do. It’s somebody else’s fault when it doesn’t go right. But when something’s going well-
Governor Kemp: (10:19)
No David, that’s what the law-
Candidate Perdue: (10:20)
… you’re doing, you’re doing equating.
Governor Kemp: (10:20)
… and the constitution is.
Candidate Perdue: (10:21)
You’re equating what they call a credit, Governor. It’s nice to see this in leaders, weak leaders, take credit when things go well.
Governor Kemp: (10:28)
Weak leaders blame people.
Candidate Perdue: (10:29)
But I’m telling you, they blame somebody else when it doesn’t.
Governor Kemp: (10:31)
Hey, weak leaders blame somebody else for their own loss instead of themselves.
Gentlemen, thank you. We’re gonna get to our panel, please. And WSBTV political reporter, Richard Elliot.
Richard Elliot: (10:41)
All right. The first question is for both of the candidates, uh, and I’ll start with you Governor Kemp. As, as you said, there is a schism in the Georgia Republican party right now. Uh, there is the David Shaffer, the, the chair of the party, pro-Trump wing still talking about November 2020. And then there’s, uh, the Lieutenant Governor Jeff Duncan GOP 2.0 wing. Which wing do you belong to, do you feel you belong to? Let me start with you, Governor.
Governor Kemp: (11:08)
Well, look, I belong to the wing of the voters. I mean, that is what my concern is is making sure that we put hardworking Georgians first. I wake up every single morning determined to make sure that Stacey Abrams is never our governor or our next president. That is what drives me. It is what has driven our agenda. Uh, you know, I’m not what… look, it’s, it’s fine that we’re having the republican primary fight. Like we said earlier, this a free country. You know, anybody’s that got the money and qualifies they can sign up and run. I’m embracing that. I’ve been using it as an opportunity to talk about my record of doing exactly what I said I would do, going after street gangs, Marty Kemp leading the country doing more than anybody at the state level in human trafficking. Incredible economy in our state creating tens of thousands of jobs for hardworking Georgians to recover from the pandemic. Protecting lives and livelihoods, and that’s what my focus is on because that is a record that will beat Stacey Abrams in November, not looking in the rearview mirror.
Candidate Perdue: (12:14)
Well, first of all, uh, you know, I go back to… I stand for the truth. And right now we’ve the leaders, republican leaders in our state are trying to bury that. They want to move on. Let’s look forward. The problem with that is he still hasn’t answered the question, he didn’t use the power of his office to stop the caving in, even in the consent decree. He could have called a special session then. After we saw what happened in 2020 in November, he could have called a special session then to investigate what was happening and to stop it before we had the runoff. Before her certified, he owed the people of Georgia a full and thorough investigation. And yet today he still hasn’t done that and he’s lied to the Amer-, to the Georgia people about oh, he doesn’t have the constitutional authority to call a special session. He just called a special session last year for redistricting.
Governor Kemp: (13:00)
Well, first of all, the only one lying here is you, and that is a fact. I-, I-
Candidate Perdue: (13:06)
Did you call a special session? Did you stop the consent decree, Governor?
Governor Kemp: (13:11)
I didn’t have anything to do with the consent decree.
Candidate Perdue: (13:12)
Of course you didn’t, that’s why you failed. You should have signed it.
Governor Kemp: (13:16)
You were on the primary ballot after the consent decree was signed. You never said a word about it until you lost the election.
Candidate Perdue: (13:20)
Of course, I did. Of course, I did.
Governor Kemp: (13:22)
When we were riding on the bus, when I was campaigning for you in the runoff-
Candidate Perdue: (13:27)
[crosstalk 00:13:27] but you did not stop [crosstalk 00:13:27].
Governor Kemp: (13:27)
When I was campaigning for you-
Candidate Perdue: (13:29)
You didn’t stop the consent decree.
Governor Kemp: (13:30)
… did you ever ask me about having a special session?
Candidate Perdue: (13:32)
Of course, I did but you lied about it.
Governor Kemp: (13:35)
No. No, you did not.
Candidate Perdue: (13:35)
And you lied about it and it was even proven by Greg Bluestein’s own book.
Governor Kemp: (13:37)
How many, how many times was… I don’t care about some reporter’s book. I care about the truth. Well I care about the truth [crosstalk 00:13:44].
Candidate Perdue: (13:43)
Answer the question.
Governor Kemp: (13:44)
Candidate Perdue: (13:44)
Did you ever ask me, the many times I was on the bus campaigning for you?
Governor Kemp: (13:50)
In front of 20 witnesses.
Candidate Perdue: (13:50)
Who are the witnesses? You bringing forth just like this…
Governor Kemp: (13:53)
Your staff, my staff and Kelley [inaudible 00:13:55] staff at Truist Park, absolutely we asked for a special session. You continue to lie about that.
Candidate Perdue: (14:01)
No. No. You said, after it was politically expedient to do that, that you wanted session after your campaign chief of staff told us you didn’t. So you’re flip flopping on the issue. And look, I know you run a tough political fight then. But the point is, you didn’t answer the question. You never asked me on the bus-
Governor Kemp: (14:15)
I’d like to rebut this, please. Folks, he never asked me. I was on the campaign with him on the bus I don’t know how many times, how many events that wi-, my wife and my family were campaigning for David Perdue and he never-
Candidate Perdue: (14:30)
Excuse me, I’d like to get involved in this.
Governor Kemp: (14:30)
Excuse me, you can have your time when I get done.
Candidate Perdue: (14:33)
I thought we had time for [crosstalk 00:14:33].
Governor Kemp: (14:33)
You never asked me about a dang consent decree that I had nothing to do with. You know, Senator Perdue, former Senator, doesn’t understand how the laws and the constitution of this state work. The reason I affirmed the certification of the election is because the law says I shall. It doesn’t say I may. The secretary of state certifies the election after your local county boards do that so you should, you know, really David, I think you ought to be running for secretary of state.
Candidate Perdue: (15:00)
Somebody should because you sure didn’t do it when you were there.
Governor Kemp: (15:02)
Oh, yeah, let’s talk about my record when we were secretary of state.
Candidate Perdue: (15:04)
Excuse me. Excuse me. Absolutely. When you were secretary of state, we had-
Governor Kemp: (15:04)
You were the asking me to look at things when you were candidate in 2014.
Candidate Perdue: (15:09)
You had no voter ID in 2016. When nine absentee ballots in DeKalb County in 2020… out of 136,000 were rejected because of bad signature, Governor, nobody looked at that. In Fulton County it was 10 out of 147,000. I went back and looked and in 2016 when he was secretary of state, the same rate of rejection. You guys have not been enforcing the voter ID law and absentee ballots ever, ever. But let me go back to this, your… the nine, the fact that you have the responsibility and the authority to call a special session to stop the consent decree, that’s when this all did, all started. The absolute truth is this, that when they passed that consent decree, it invalidated all voter ID law. What it did it changed and to or and allowed fraudulent ballots to be accepted into the race. Absolutely that’s what the consent decree did and you allowed it to happen.
Governor, if you’ll address that specific topic and then we’ll move.
Governor Kemp: (16:03)
Well, you know, quite honestly that’s just factually not tru-, true. David Perdue didn’t care about this issue until he got in the governor’s race.
Candidate Perdue: (16:12)
Well, why is that not true? Why is that not true?
Governor Kemp: (16:13)
Candidate Perdue: (16:14)
Why is that not true? Do you have authority to do that or not?
Governor Kemp: (16:15)
His name was never on a lawsuit after the election with all this information. You remember how many-
Candidate Perdue: (16:19)
Did you ever call a special session? Do you have authority to stop the consent decree and call a special session?
Governor Kemp: (16:23)
The way the law works is you have to go in front of a Superior Court judge after election is certified to get remedy.
Candidate Perdue: (16:31)
So do that. Do that.
Governor Kemp: (16:31)
Why didn’t you do it? You’re the candidate.
Candidate Perdue: (16:33)
I didn’t have the authority.
Governor Kemp: (16:38)
Your name was on the ballot, David. You didn’t have enough guts to do it then.
Candidate Perdue: (16:40)
Governor Kemp: (16:40)
You didn’t have enough guts to ask for a recount when you were in runoff because you were just playing the politics like you always do.
Candidate Perdue: (16:44)
You didn’t want to sign it [crosstalk 00:16:46].
Governor Kemp: (16:46)
So quit blaming me for your loss.
Candidate Perdue: (16:47)
You had your own lawyers sign the consent decree-
Governor Kemp: (16:49)
You’re trying to blame everything on everybody except you.
Candidate Perdue: (16:52)
… because you didn’t want to fight state senate, Governor. You didn’t want to fight state senate.
Governor Kemp: (16:53)
Well look, the Georgia… Fight state senate? I’ve been fighting Stacey Abrams for over a decade.
Gentleman, thank you. Condace Pressley with the next question, please.
Condace Pressley: (17:03)
Thank you, gentleman.
Speaker 9: (17:04)
Condace Pressley: (17:05)
Senator Perdue, you declared your candidacy saying that you don’t think that the governor can defeat Stacey Abrams in November. Yet, as of today, you appear to trail him when it comes to fundraising, you appear to trail him in the polling. You did lose the last election and he did defeat Stacey Abrams in the last election. What makes you the better choice for Georgia voters?
Candidate Perdue: (17:30)
Well, first of all, let’s look at the facts. He barely beat Stacey Abrams in ’18 when I helped him secure President Trump’s endorsement, which he still today doesn’t think helped him at all. I won that election in November of 2020 by 90,000 votes. That’s more than twice the amount of votes that he won, almost 500,000 more votes than he got in ’18. I did that because I brought the party together. Regular republicans, women in the suburbs, and Trump voters in 2020. What he’s done is split the party by not enforcing the law and not fighting for us. That’s what I heard all year. That’s why I’m in this race. He hasn’t fought for us. He’s caved in to big bloke-, woke corporations like Rivian to bring tw-, jobs to Georgia by investing several hundred thousand dollars, 700 million dollars of our tax payer money to woke companies owned by George Soros instead of standing up and fighting against these, um, radical democrats who took over our election.
Candidate Perdue: (18:25)
What I am prob-, trying to do right now is expose him as a weak leader, somebody that did not fight for us, and he’s misleading the, the people of Georgia about what he did do and what he didn’t do and what he couldn’t do and what the constitution said and all of this. I am clear on one thing, we’re standing here right now and at the election of 2020 not one person has been prosecuted and that divides this party and he’s done nothing to solve that.
Condace Pressley: (18:48)
If I can follow up, Senator. You have both bickered back and forth about what should have been done, who hasn’t been prosecuted, who should have been prosecuted, who did this, who did that. What evidence, factual evidence can you present to our viewers tonight that there was voter fraud-
Candidate Perdue: (19:06)
Condace, thank you.
Condace Pressley: (19:06)
… that should have been prosecuted.
Candidate Perdue: (19:08)
Thank you. I’m glad somebody asked that question, finally, because most people in the media have already assumed the close on that. There’s a court case in Georgia right now brought by, uh, a group of women, these are voters in Georgia in Fulton County who have evidence of fraudulent ballot. Evidence of ballots that, uh, were run redundantly. You have missing batches, 161 missing ba-… he certified this election. In Fulton County alone they’re missing 16,000 ballots. They didn’t look at the signatures in Fulton County and DeKalb County where we already talked about the nefarious activity. But the most egregious to me is the fact that there were 36 errors on the secretary of state’s website that was not even looked at. He had sent one letter to the secretary of state about one small piece of that. Just the first two were material and might have changed the outcome of the election.
Candidate Perdue: (19:53)
But the last thing, and this is the most visible right now, since May of last year they have seen the evidence, he and the GBI head saw the evidence of ballot trafficking, ballot harvest. This is indisputable. It’s corroborated by bank records, by testimony, by, uh, video and also by cell phone data. He’s not only tried to suppress that, he’s tried to cover it up and he fought the individuals trying to bring this to light and get the truth. This is what I’m talking about. They double talk this all the time. “Oh, it was a clean…” He said it was a clean election. He denied [crosstalk 00:20:23].
Governor Kemp: (20:22)
I never said that. I have never said that, ever.
Candidate Perdue: (20:32)
Well, do you not… tonight think it was a clean election.
Governor Kemp: (20:32)
I never said it was a clean election. You’re putting the words in my mouth.
Candidate Perdue: (20:32)
The difference between you and me, governor… Well, the difference between you and me-
Governor Kemp: (20:32)
You’re making up-
Candidate Perdue: (20:34)
Excuse me, I’m not done yet. The difference between you and me is the fact that you think John Alsop and John Bi-, or, uh, Biden won fair and square. That’s the difference between the two of us. You’re telling the people of Georgia that that’s what the truth is and you want us to swallow that and move on.
Governor Kemp: (20:48)
Well, let me remind you, I can speak for myself and that’s not what I said. I’ve always said there’s fraud in every election.
Candidate Perdue: (20:55)
Governor Kemp: (20:55)
And when I was secretary of state, I went after it. I didn’t say there wasn’t problems in this election. Look, I was as frustrated as anybody else, that’s why we passed the strongest election integrity act in the country because a lot of things that were done by other people, like drop boxes being approved by the state board elections. I’m sure you’re gonna blame me for that later on. But the point is, a special session would have done nothing to solve this problem. The only way after an election is certified is for a candidate, that was David Perdue. He never put his name on a lawsuit until well over a year after the election.
Candidate Perdue: (21:30)
You said that four times tonight. [crosstalk 00:21:32].
Governor Kemp: (21:31)
You have to ask yourself why is that? And, you know, he criticized me first. The Rivian plant, time at the George Soros. David, you’re being just disingenuous with the voters of this state. It’s a public company, anybody can buy stock in it. If it had been around when you were in the United States Senate, you could have bought it when you were doing your other trade. But the reason he doesn’t like this deal is because we’re bringing 75 great paying jobs to rural parts of our state. That’s gonna be good for our economy. And he doesn’t care about that. He spent his whole business career outsourcing jobs to China. That is what I have been fighting on. Do not believe and let him blame everybody else for his problems and his loss. It was because he didn’t have a record. And because he doesn’t, he’s having to attack mine. And hopefully at some point during the debate tonight maybe we could talk about records.
Candidate Perdue: (22:23)
Well, I’m sure you don’t want to talk about election anymore. But we’re gonna keep talking about it until you answer the question.
Governor Kemp: (22:29)
Candidate Perdue: (22:29)
You haven’t answered the question yet.
Senator, if you kindly have a rebuttal, and then we’ll move on.
Candidate Perdue: (22:32)
Thank you, sir. Thank you, Justin. Well first, let’s talk about jobs. I mean, what you’re doing is you’re taking hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars in Ge-, in Georgia and giving them to a company primarily owned George Soros, a woke company who’s gonna bring their jobs to Georgia and you’ve crammed it down the throat of the people in the, in that area. What you haven’t told us yet is how many hundreds of millions of dollars. Yeah, we do know that your cronies got 125 million dollars for s-, 2,000 acres, almost $60,000 an acre. You have not yet today told us how much you’re investing in Rivian. Would you tonight tell us how of our tax payer money you’re investing in that?
Governor Kemp: (23:08)
Well look, I’m glad to talk about Rivian and all the jobs that we’ve created. We have had a record year the last two years in row for economic development in our state and I’m proud of that and I’m proud of the deal we’re working on. And you’ll be glad to know the jobs tax credits that companies like Rivian, like Kia, like SK Battery get, they’re in the statute, they’re in the law. Nobody’s been given anything. They earn that when they created those jobs that brings that opportunity to those local communities.
Governor Kemp: (23:41)
Also, you’ll be glad to know that this deal was structured just like the Kia plant that Governor Sonny Perdue did back 15 years ago, and look how successful it’s been and what a great transition it’s been for the city of Westpoint. Same thing happened with Commerce, Georgia, when the SK Battery plant was created there. Governor Deal announced that. Same structure for Rivian. So we’ve been consistent, but we’re also proud and you have moved jobs to China, sir.
Candidate Perdue: (24:10)
Let me answer the question real quick. I get one more response.
You had an extra one there.
Candidate Perdue: (24:14)
First of all, this is an artificial way to create jobs. And the proof of that is that three states right now, Florida, Tennessee and Texas, are eating our lunch. Tennessee and Texas are growing 35% faster than Georgia, Governor, because of this arbitrar-, arbitrary way of, of creating jobs. The thing that those three states have in common is they don’t have a state income tax. You’ve told people in Georgia that’s impossible. I want to bring the, the… I want to get rid of the, the state income tax and help attract jobs here for the right reason, not buying them with hard earned tax payer dollars.
Candidate Perdue: (24:45)
All the double talk and political speak you have, you brag about how you handled the economy in, in, uh, Covid, but the truth of the matter, the National Bureau of Economic Research actually gave all repub-, all governors a grade. And I want you to know, our governor got a C, whereas DeSantis got an A during that period of time. So this is not the economic boom that the governor brags about. He takes credit for the economic growth that we’ve had, 4 billion dollar surplus. He’s talked about that as if it were his accomplishment. He’s riding the wave of the Trump economic turnaround that was the best economic turnaround in US history.
Governor Kemp: (25:15)
All right. Well, with all due respect-
Candidate Perdue: (25:17)
Another one? He gets another one?
Governor Kemp: (25:19)
You got one on top of me. You need to keep up with having debates flowing. I mean look, we are returning over a billion dollars to the tax, tax payers of this state as we speak, money that we didn’t need because we budgeted conservatively and the economy’s doing so great. We have the lowest unemployment rate of the 10 most populous states. By the way, one of those is Florida. So, like, you don’t understand what you’re talking about, David. All you’ve been concerned is, uh, with in your career is moving jobs to China, and that is what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to distract from your record of that and talk about mine because that’s all you have to talk about. [crosstalk 00:25:55]
Candidate Perdue: (25:55)
I have to say… I have to have one more response on that. He has accused me several times-
Ten seconds, please.
Candidate Perdue: (25:58)
… of taking jobs to China. Governor, you denied that two years ago when you were helping me run for senate, and now you’re saying it’s the truth. Which is it? Were lying then or are you lying tonight?
Governor Kemp: (26:07)
I would just tell people to look at your own words and make their mind for themselves.
Thank you. Thank you. Our next question is from AJC reporter Craig Lucie.
Craig Lucie: (26:15)
Yeah, Governor, I’m, I’m confused a little bit. You’re, you’re about to sign into law an education measure known as the Divisive Concepts Law that seeks to direct how race is discussed in public school cl-, classrooms. So my question to you is how should Georgia students be taught about slavery? How should they be taught about Reconstruction? And do you worry that a, a measure such as this will have a chilling affect on educators seeking to guide them about what to teach and what not to teach?
Governor Kemp: (26:37)
Well listen, I’m proud of my record on education. We’ve had a historic year this year. Uh, but really, again, just fulfilling my promises of when I was running in 2018. A $5,000 teacher pay raise completed it. Senator or David Perdue called disgusting, by the way. We passed this piece of legislation to make sure that our kids are not going to be indoctrinated in our schools. I’ve never said we don’t need to not teach race and not teach history. But it needs to be the facts, not somebody’s ideology. And that’s what we’ve done. We also have passed a parental bill of rights this year, uh, to make sure that there’s transparency and our parents can be involved in their kids’ classroom. Uh, we’ve, uh, done a lot of other things to put, uh, parents first as well on education like taking the mask off of our kids and putting that to bed.
Governor Kemp: (27:28)
So look, we have been fighting for educators and we’ve been fighting for parents. And we believe in Georgia that the parents know better than the government, which is really how I’ve governed the whole time during Covid with no vaccine mandates. We sued the Obam- the Biden presidency four or five different times in regards to that issue. And there’s many other things that we can talk about. But I’m proud of my educational record, uh, and we’re gonna continue to do more in the second term.
Sir, did you want to address that?
Candidate Perdue: (27:57)
Craig, did you want each…
Craig Lucie: (27:58)
I would love for Senator…
Candidate Perdue: (28:01)
Yeah, I’d love to. Thank you, Craig. Yeah, I bet you’d like to stand on your record. You’ve got a good solid C by that same Bureau of Economic Advisors, uh, about, uh, your handling of, of all this crisis, Covid in education. You keep bragging about teacher pay. What I say was ridiculous, you waited until the last minute. Well, I got in the race to make this an election year issue for teacher pay. My mom and dad were school teachers, my wife’s a school teacher. Of course, I want to pay school teachers. The problem is they need more support than that. They need to make sure that the woke mob’s not taking over the schools, and you’ve left them high and dry. As a matter of fact, right now on your watch in Fulton County in, in the Atlanta Public School Systems, George Soros is funding a program where, with Stacey Abrams help, they’re teaching kids that voter ID is racist. Now, that’s just improper in my mind. I call that indoctrination. History is proper. We want to teach history.
Candidate Perdue: (28:47)
We also want to teach the other fundamentals that actually create people that can go into the workforce, and this where I think parents and teachers have to get together. I’ve watched this my entire life. What’s happened here now is we’ve let liberal school districts actually supersede the right, the, uh, power of the governor to, uh, to mask our kids, keep schools closed and so forth. That’s why he got C. If I had brought a C home to my fifth grade teacher mother, I wouldn’t have been very, she wouldn’t have been very happy with thatModerator: (00:00)
Georgia Governor live from the WSB-TV Studios in midtown Atlanta. Let’s continue our questions now for the candidates and the next question comes from Univision’s Raphael Olvera.
Raphael Olvera: (00:11)
Thank you. Gracias. Governor Kemp, uh, 2020 showed how important, uh, Latino voters are in Georgia. The Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials sh… shows, uh, uh, Latino voters down from 244,000 in 2016 to 385,000 in 2020. There’s probably now more than one Latino voter whose parents might be undocumented and who remembers of your last campaign ad, where you vowed, and I quote, “Track and immediately deport illegal aliens,” which for many now voters, it means their friends, their family. What’s your strategy to now get the support of these voters?
Governor Kemp: (00:44)
Well, listen. The Latino voters that are here are, are a great asset to our state. I mean, they’re great families. They line up on us on great pieces of legislation that we pass like the Heartbeat Bill, the strongest pro-life legislation in the country. Uh, Latino voters are like me. They’ve been small… a small business person for over 35 years. They’re creating jobs in their local communities and giving value in those communities, and they were thankful when I reopened our economy. First person in the country to do that amidst heavy criticism, to make sure that we were putting hard working Georgians first.
Governor Kemp: (01:16)
I mean, I’ve talked to those business owners. I’ve had Latino restaurant owners tell me, you know, “You saved our business by opening us back up.” And so I think they have great appreciation for the conservative leadership we’ve had in our state. But look, we have a disaster at the border, which is why I’ve joined the ter… uh, the task force with a lot of other Republican governors around the country to continue to press the Biden administration. It’s why I agreed to send Georgia National Guard troops to the border well over two years ago to help the Border Patrol.
Governor Kemp: (01:46)
Unfortunately, the policies of the Biden administration need to be changed and I’ve sent them a letter, uh, to ask them to address that and demand that, uh, because they wanna end Title 42, which will have more people just flooding into our country. Uh, that is the wrong direction to take, and if they’re gonna do that, they need to start the wall back. They need to build the wall. They need to send more personnel to help the Border Patrol, send more National Guard troops, and catch and release, and a lot of other things. And so I think people that are here appreciate that because a lot of them have gone through the legal immigration process.
Candidate Perdue: (02:21)
Well, first of all, thank you for the question. Um, in my career, I work with people from all over the world. What I have found is this, in the state of Georgia, we’re a melting pot and it’s one of our great strengths, just like America. Faith, family, work. This is what, I believe, is the key cornerstone of the… of the commonality. They also, most of them that I know, came here legally, and most of those people are frustrated with the people who are trying to come here illegally. On the governor’s watch, we have more illegal immigrants in Georgia than when he took office. We actually have more illegal immigrants here than the state of Arizona.
Candidate Perdue: (02:56)
As a matter of fact, if you look at Florida, 70% of their counties have a contract with ICE to find and deport illegal criminals. In Georgia, only 3% of our counties. On his watch, we have grown a illegal community here, and I think the Hispanic community here that’s hardworking, small business and all that, really want that cleaned up too. I remember the governor, when he ran in ’18, told us that, you know, “I’m gonna round them up, put them in my pickup truck, and get them out of here.” Governor, what happened? Your pickup break down?
Governor Kemp: (03:25)
No. Still running. Still running, still working, still creating jobs, still doing something about stopping folks coming across the border. Uh, but as you know, we had two years of a global pandemic. So I don’t know how going around picking up people that might have COVID when our law enforcement was sending, um, ventilators and PPE supplies to hospitals would’ve been a good strategy. But the fact is if you hadn’t have lost your race to John Ossoff, we wouldn’t have lost control of the Senate, and we wouldn’t have the disaster that we have in Washington right now.
Governor Kemp: (03:55)
What I have been doing as Governor is trying to help Georgians with runa… runaway 40-year inflation by sending back their hard earned taxpayer money, by suspending the gas tax for two months that you called disgusting, by doing the largest state income tax cut in state history that I will soon sign to make sure that Georgians can cope with the disaster that we have in Washington. But that’s why it’s so important that we win in 2022 and we elect someone that has a record and a history of beating Stacey Abrams to make sure that she never becomes our governor.
Candidate Perdue: (04:29)
Yes, thank you. So using COVID as an excuse not to enforce the law in Georgia, that’s a… that’s new. That’s rich. The gas, you gave a two month holiday that expired seven months, seven wee… seven days after this primary. I mean, how transparent is that, Governor? And Ossoff, let’s say this again, I would be in the United States Senate if you had not caved in on the election fraud and s… not let that consent decree go through. I’d still be there. We produced 90,000 more votes. That’s twice the victory you had over Stacey Abrams, and you had the Trump endorsement. You won’t have the Trump endorsement this fall.
Governor Kemp: (05:02)
Candidate Perdue: (05:02)
And I’m just sorry to say that you have totally caved in and allowed the Democrats to steal this election in Georgia and you will not take responsibility for it.
Governor Kemp: (05:10)
Well, the only endorsement I’m worried about getting in is that of the voters on May the 24th.
Governor Kemp: (05:15)
I’d be honored to have their vote and support.
Our next question, please, from [Richard Elliott 00:05:18].
Richard Elliott: (05:19)
Um, let’s change gears again. I wanna ask you about crime, uh, an issue in Metro Atlanta and across Georgia. Um, uh, Senator Perdue, you have said that you would bring the National Guard to help patrol and back up law enforcement. And we’ve seen National Guard used in catastrophes like hurricanes. We’ve seen them come in during the civil unrest, uh, the summer of 2020. How are soldiers patrolling Atlanta or Metro Atlanta street not the same thing as kind of a localized martial law?
Candidate Perdue: (05:47)
Well, thank you, Richard. What I said was in moments of cri… of crisis, the governor’s done that. I would certainly do that. But let’s look at the problem. Murder and rape in la… Atlanta, Georgia are up 40%. 40% just this year. The murder rate in Atlanta is over the mur… is larger than the murder rate in Chicago. We have more illegals than Arizona, for goodness’ sake. What we have here is a runaway crime situation that the Governor’s burying his head about. Right now, the number one law enforcement agency of his that he can control is the state patrol and he’s… he’s mixed words here and said, “I don’t support the state patrol.” He’s been giving lip service to the state patrol.
Candidate Perdue: (06:25)
Today, we have fewer than… we have 15% fewer state patrol um, uh, troopers on the road right now than we had when he was elected. We have less than half the troopers than North Carolina. And yet, at the same time, he was growing the state government by 15%. He cut the staffing of the state patrol by 15%. That’s not what I call getting after crime. This is one of the key issues right now behind Buckhead City. The people in Buckhead deserve a vote. He has denied them that, and the number one issue is crime because he’s so tied up with the big company cronies downtown, they’re his big donors, that are desperate to not let that happen. So this is one that I’m very, very emotional about. This is one that can be fixed and needs to get fixed right now. You’re talking about economic development? If you don’t get crime and education fixed, we’re not gonna have economic development in Georgia.
Richard Elliott: (07:12)
But a… but again, if I may for one moment, Governor, um, how do s… do soldiers rolling through the streets of Atlanta, um, how is that conducive to economic development? A… and again, how is that-
Candidate Perdue: (07:26)
They supplement… they supplement a staff that’s hundreds of people short in the City of Atlanta. That’s what they do. They back them up. They back up the state patrol that’s not so… hundreds. Hundreds short of where they should be. I mean, less than half that of North Carolina. North Carolina’s about the same size as we are, and our state patrol is less than half that. We’re losing them right and left. He gives the lip service, pats them on the back goes to a barbecue. “Oh, see, I’ve got your back.” When, in reality, while he’s growing the government 15% in three years, he cut the staffing of the Georgia state patrol by 15%.
Governor Kemp: (07:57)
Well, again, David, you’re attacking my record because you have no record on your own, and you’re also lying. When the next trooper school graduates here in just couple of weeks, we’ll be up to the same number of state troopers in the Georgia state patrol as to when I took office in 2019. Despite what our state and this country’s been through, and our men and women in law enforcement have been through with civil unrest around the country.
Governor Kemp: (08:22)
There was a lot of retirements early on. We have worked hard and built that back. That’s why we’re giving our state patrol and state law enforcement a $5,000 pay raise this year. To honor them and thank them for their service. You know, I was with them at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning night after night after night at the state operations center during civil unrest. I saw just how elite our Georgia state patrol was. And you said they aren’t.
Governor Kemp: (08:47)
Also, we don’t count our Motor Carrier Division officers that are POST certified, that are on the road and highways every single day in our counts. So your numbers comparing us to North Carolina are just incorrect. But finally, I have created, and asked Colonel Wright to do this, a crime suppression unit to actually do something about crime. While you’ve just been talking about, I’ve been doing this for over a year. We have arrested 450 people that had outstanding warrants because of our good work.
Governor Kemp: (09:18)
We have taken 26 people that had outstanding murder warrants off of the streets. We have impounded thou… over a thousand vehicles. We’ve made 20,000 stops. We continue to chase street racers. We’ve toughened penalties in the statute to do that, and we’re gonna continue to do that as long as it takes. You know, regardless of what happens or not with the city of Buckhead. I am gonna be in this fight because as a father of three daughters, it’s sickening that you can’t let your child go pump gas or go to the mall, or your wife do the same. And so we are gonna continue to be in the fight.
Governor Kemp: (09:54)
And because of what we’ve done, we are now bringing the locals to the fight with us.
Candidate Perdue: (10:00)
I’d like, uh, I’d like to respond to that.
Candidate Perdue: (10:01)
He called mine out, so, um. When I talk about elite leadership that you absolute… this is what your handlers do. Take it out of context. I was talking about your leadership, Governor. Your lea… You know that today you talk about crime interdiction. You know how many people we have in crime interdiction and state patrol right now at a 750? 24. 24. Murders are up 40%. Rapes are up 40%. We have the highest murder rate in the country, and we got 24 state patrol.
Candidate Perdue: (10:27)
Yes, they’re elite. But they need to be supported. In my governorship, they will absolutely be supported.
Governor Kemp, earlier this month you signed the Constitutional Carry Law, making it legal for most people to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. Uh, supporters say it protects the Second Amendment. Those who are opposed to it say that… and sometimes they call it reckless. Um, if you were to address that and, Senator Perdue, your position on constitutional carry.
Governor Kemp: (10:54)
Well, certainly don’t think it’s gonna be reckless, you know. I think it’s needed. This, to me, is a public safety issue ’cause of what we’ve seen, uh, in… with crime in Atlanta. It’s why I’ve taken so many steps that I have. Crime Suppression Unit, uh, making sure that we’re putting additional troopers on the road up in the metro areas to support the local law… uh, law enforcement folk. But look, people need to have the ability to protect and defend themselves. You know, a lot of the naysayers worry about this are like, “Oh, you know, the bad guys are gonna get the guns.” Well I got news for you, the bad people already have the guns. We’re trying to give law-abiding citizens the ability to protect themselves, their family, and their property. That is all this is doing.
Governor Kemp: (11:33)
To me, it’s common sense. It’s embedded in our constitution. But it’s also a public safety issue. And I have a strong record of protecting the Second… Second Amendment. Early in COVID, when you had local probate judges that wouldn’t open their offices and… and, uh, process concealed weapons permits, I took executive action to extend deadlines so people could continue to carry their concealed weapon and protect themselves. That is the kind of leadership that you will get in a second term of Governor Brian Kemp. This is something else that I campaigned on. You know, I didn’t just talk about it. We got it done. And I’ve signed that bill, and I’m glad I did it.
Senator, your position on constitutional carry in Georgia.
Candidate Perdue: (12:13)
Well, [inaudible 00:12:14] said I was one of the strongest supporters of… of, uh… of, uh, Second Amendment rights. Uh, this is one where the Governor and I actually agree on it. My only complaint about this, uh, in constitutional carry, is he promised that four years ago, and it wasn’t until I got in the race in December that he made it and issue, started driving it in this session. I’m glad the state legislature passed this bill. It’s the right bill for our state. It’s right, right now.
Candidate Perdue: (12:35)
But if we don’t enforce the law, then what good are the laws? And so my point right now is, we’ve got illegal immigrants on the… on the road. We’ve got, uh, people who should not have firearms out there who are illegal. We are not doing what we should do to protect the people in our state.
Candidate Perdue: (12:49)
The big thing I come back to in the city of Atlanta is Buckhead. Why would he not let the people… people of Buckhead determine their own future? Crime is a big reason they wanted to have that vote. And I, for one, support that. His answer to that was, “Oh, I’m just gonna keep my powder dry on that.” That’s not what a leader does. You’ve heard him tonight pass the buck several times. This is one he did it again. So I call on the Governor tonight. Why won’t you let the people in Buckhead have a vote?
Governor Kemp, if you would address Buckhead city-[crosstalk 00:13:15]
Governor Kemp: (13:14)
Yeah, I’ll be… I’ll be glad to. I have kept my powder dry. You know, I’ve said many times, the reason this debate’s going on is because crime in Atlanta. People are sick of it, and there needed to be debate on that issue. But this is a legislative issue too, you know. I know as much as you want me to be a dictator, unfortunately I am not. I have to abide by the laws and the constitution of this state. And as you know, there’s been a lot of other legislators and political leaders that have weighed in on this city of Buckhead issue. But look, it’s still out there. That’s fine with me.
Governor Kemp: (13:46)
But while you continue to talk about this, I’m actually doing something about crime in Atlanta with our Crime Suppression Unit. And we’re gonna continue to do that. We have taken stolen weapons off the street. We have arrested, you know, uh, people that have… f… for drugs and trafficking and other things that we’re doing. And we’re gonna continue to do that.
[crosstalk 00:14:06] How do each of you-
Candidate Perdue: (14:07)
Let me follow, Jeff. And I’m sorry, Jeff. You’ve got 45 state patrol officers for a weekend to get a headline. So many people arrested, so many guns collected. Where are they today? Where are they today? Why do we only have 24 in the Crime Interdiction Unit in the state patrol? These are things I’m talking… Results matter. I hear all the activity, Governor, but r…. rapes and murders in Atlanta are up 40%. Murder rate’s the highest in the country. I don’t understand.
Candidate Perdue: (14:30)
People ask me all the time, “Why would you not let the people of Buckhead vote?” You still haven’t answered. What… what are you keeping your powder dry for?
Governor Kemp: (14:36)
Well, the answer is it’s gotta pass the legislature for that to happen-[crosstalk 00:14:40]
Candidate Perdue: (14:39)
Are you driving that?
Governor Kemp: (14:41)
But let me just say-[crosstalk 00:14:41]
Candidate Perdue: (14:41)
They don’t want a dictator, they want a fighter.
Governor Kemp: (14:43)
L… Let me…. Let me… Let me just say this. I haven’t been just coming up here with the state patrol for political purposes. We have been doing these operations for over a year. We’re having to work men and women in overtime, and I’m thankful that they are so dedicated to their job. This is very dangerous. Perhaps you ought to go ride with them some night and see it. ‘Cause it’s not like a once a month kinda thing. We’re on the road doing this night after night after night. And I’m committed to continuing to do that while people continue to talk whether Buckhead will be a city or not.
Governor Kemp: (15:17)
I mean, look, that’s something’s gonna have to go through the legislative process. But with-[crosstalk 00:15:22]
Candidate Perdue: (15:22)
Will you support that tonight?
Governor Kemp: (15:22)
The point is, until that-
Candidate Perdue: (15:23)
Will you support that tonight?
Governor Kemp: (15:25)
No. The point is-
Candidate Perdue: (15:26)
What, you won’t?
Governor Kemp: (15:26)
Candidate Perdue: (15:27)
You won’t support that tonight?
Governor Kemp: (15:27)
I… I have-
Candidate Perdue: (15:29)
Will you support the Buckhead vote?
Governor Kemp: (15:30)
I… I am keeping my position on the city of Buckhead the same.
Candidate Perdue: (15:33)
That’s what weak leaders-[crosstalk 00:15:35]
Governor Kemp: (15:35)
It’s gonna take… It’s gonna take the legislature to get behind this. That’s not something I-
Candidate Perdue: (15:40)
The legislature gets behind the Governor, sir.
Governor Kemp: (15:41)
That’s not something I can control. But while you’re talking and interrupting me, just know the Georgia state patrol is going after street racers. We are going after violent criminals. We are the ones that are being called when they need pit maneuvers for people that are eluding the police. We’re the ones that the SWAT team has called to help in dangerous situations. These men and women make me so proud every day. They are putting their lives on the line and so are their families. And I will continue to support them as long as I’m on… able and honored to be serving this great state.
Would each of you please, uh, just answer this simple question as simply as you can. Do you personally support or not Buckhead becoming its own city, leaving the city of Atlanta. I’ll start with you, Senator Perdue.
Candidate Perdue: (16:27)
I… I certainly do. 100%.
You want it to leave Atlanta.
Candidate Perdue: (16:31)
I w… I first said I want them to have the right to vote. That’s the number one thing. And I fully support- [crosstalk 00:16:35]
But you personally-
Candidate Perdue: (16:35)
And I personally support them seceding from the city of Atlanta. As long as you enable bad behavior, you’re gonna get bad behavior. These people have no service up there. They’re trying to protect themselves. And the only way to do that is get control of their own government. Keeping your powder dry? People are getting killed up there right now. Of course they need to have this vote. And I personally support it.
Governor, you personally. Where do you fall on this?
Governor Kemp: (16:55)
No, look. I think the debate needs to continue-
Candidate Perdue: (16:57)
Oh, he’s not gonna answer the question.
Governor Kemp: (16:58)
I’m gonna… I’m gonna continue to keep my powder dry, let this movement, you know, come forward or not. That’s the decision that the legislature’s gonna make. But as the chief executive in this state, what I’m gonna continue to do while everybody else is talking about it and fighting about it, I’m gonna continue to keep officers in the city of Atlanta. I’m gonna continue to go after violent criminals and street racers, and use everything that we can to be able to do that.
Governor Kemp: (17:21)
I mean, we’re using millions of dollars out of the Governor’s emergency fund to do this, and I’m committed to continuing to do that in the future.
Our next question, please, from [Condice Presley 00:17:29].
Speaker 6: (17:30)
Governor Kemp, our state has at least 148 medically underserved areas or populations. In the last decade, eight rural Georgia hospitals have closed, only Tennessee and Texas are worse off in this area than Georgia. If re-elected, and then for you, Senator, if elected, what plans do you have to grow the numbers of healthcare providers in these underserved areas?
Governor Kemp: (17:53)
Well, look, that’s one reason I ran on strengthening rural Georgia in 2018. And we’ve been working on that. We’ve got to have economic prosperity in all parts of our state. And if you look at our record year, uh, in 2020, 74% of the record $11 billion of new investment coming into our state, and over half the jobs that are coming with those, are outside the ten metro counties. 87%… or, let’s see, 85% of Georgia counties with less than 50,000 people, we’ve announced at least one new project. So focusing on those ar… areas.
Governor Kemp: (18:28)
So the area’s more economically viable to support rural hospitals. We’ve also passed the Patients First Act. So we can lower private sector health… health insurance in rural parts of our state where many times there’s only one provider. State-wide, the average of health insurance through these plans is down 12%. In rural parts of our state, somewhere upwards of 20 to 25%.
Governor Kemp: (18:52)
We’re gonna continue to do that. But this year’s budget that I will soon sign has 1,300 positions for rural… the rural healthcare workforce. 136 slots for rural doctors or physicians, 500 new nursing slots, and several hundred allied health professionals, uh, to build and supply the rural market that we have out there. But we gotta continue to do more, and I’m committed to doing that.
Candidate Perdue: (19:16)
Conndis, thank you. This is a really good question. I get this a lot when I’m travel the state. Not only about healthcare, but also about education. Rural education and rural healthcare is on a different standard than it is in urban parts of Georgia. Uh, that’s not all his fault. It’s been…. It’s been that way for a long period of time. But w…. the way to solve this is economic development. And I don’t believe that giving hundreds of millions of dollar… taxpayer dollars to companies like Rivian is the right way to do that.
Candidate Perdue: (19:40)
The better way to do that is to grow small… He talks about, brags about his small business, uh, background, well why not invest some of that money in small businesses in those small rural towns? And what this will do is help the economic activity to attract, uh, medical professionals to those communities.
Candidate Perdue: (19:55)
The next thing is you gotta get broadband around the state. And this is a major thing. [inaudible 00:19:59] and I worked hard to get this test program from the federal government. We wanna continue that. And the last thing we want to do is move to a single-payer health insurance plan, which I think would absolutely devastate, uh, rural, uh, healthcare.
Gentlemen, tell me about gas prices. It’s affecting, uh, Georgians. It’s affecting businesses. Uh, what can a… and, and should a governor do, beyond what you’ve already done with, uh, suspending the state gas tax. You have just 45 second each, please. Governor?
Governor Kemp: (20:30)
Well, I… I think, you know, that was a… a big issue. I believe we, you know, did it at the right time when gas prices were surging to help hard-working Georgians out there be able to cope with the 40 year Biden inflation that we’re seeing. But we’ve done a lot of other things when it comes to our supply chain. Great example is the port of Savannah. They have grown over 22% in the last two years because of good old hard working ingenuity and running our port like a business. I’m very proud of the Ports Authority and all that they are doing and will continue, uh, to do that.
Governor Kemp: (21:00)
But I also have emergency orders in place right now because of the supply chain issues to allow trucks to haul a little more weight that is helping get, uh, products to the market. As you know, we have a shortage in truck drivers. We have, uh, money in the budget for new positions to teach more truck drivers so we can produce more educated drivers and get them on the road for our Georgia companies.
Senator, on gas taxes, just a few seconds, please.
Candidate Perdue: (21:24)
Well, I just think it was disingenuous to have a gas tax holiday for the two months. That was almost cruel, uh, when you’re gonna have it expire seven days after the primary election. Number one, he’s gonna take credit for the port now? I mean, for 20 years career politicians just like him try to deepen that port five feet. 20 years. I got elected office and when Donald Trump got elected, we got that port deepened. As a matter of fact, it was just completed about a month ago it just completed about a month ago. Third largest port, fastest growing port. It’s a huge economic engine we’re not taking advantage of.
Candidate Perdue: (21:51)
We can grow our exports there, that will help. But the number one thing we gotta do to fight inflation, which is 25% higher in Atlanta than in the rest of the country. 25% higher. Is to get rid of the state income tax.
Thank you. Gentlemen, time now for closing statements. Each of you will have 90 seconds. Once again, we determine the order through a drawing, and we start with Senator Perdue.
Candidate Perdue: (22:11)
Well, thank you, Justin. Thank you, panel, and viewers, thank you for, uh, tuning in tonight. This is a critical, uh, election. What you heard tonight was a weak Governor trying to cover up a bad record. Crime is out of control. Our kids are being indoctrinated. They stole the election. And when he brags about his great record under COVID, he got a C by a credible rating agency. DeSantis, by the way, got an A. We’re at a tipping point. He has divided us. He will not be able to beat Stacey Abrams. And if we wanna protect our freedom and our values, we have to vote. And we have to make sure that Stacey Abrams is never a governor.
Candidate Perdue: (22:57)
When our kids and grandkids look back on these troubled times and ask us, “Well, what did you do?” What will our answer be? Double talk like the Governor? Well, Bonnie and I are fighting like hell. And we’re asking you to join us. The time to stand back… or, to fight back, is right now.
Candidate Perdue: (23:17)
Governor Kemp: (23:19)
Well, thank you guys for having me tonight. It’s been an honor to be here. It’s been an honor to be serving as your 83rd Governor. And every day that I’ve been in office, I’ve been putting hard-working Georgians first. Ahead of the status quo and the politically correct. And I’m gonna continue to do that tonight… or… or… or the rest of my, uh, tenure here. And that’s why I want to have your support to continue to do that.
Governor Kemp: (23:40)
But look, make no mistake. My opponent’s attacking my record because he has none of his own, which is why he didn’t win his US Senate race. He’s trying to blame everybody but himself. But you know what? That’s all right. Because you can look at the facts, and you can see that I’ve been putting hard-working Georgians first, and I’ll continue to do that.
Governor Kemp: (23:58)
Again, I believe we live in the greatest state in the country to live, work, and raise our families. And I will promise you, if you make me your nominee, Marty, Jarrett, Lucy, and Amy Porter and I, we will work hard every single day all the way through… through November, to make sure that Stacey Abrams is never your Governor or your next President.
Governor Kemp: (24:18)
I’d be honored to have your vote. But even more importantly, I’d be honored if you would join us. Join us in this fight. There’s only one person that’s beating Stacey Abrams, and that’s me. And I plan on doing it again, and I have the record to do that. Thank you for, uh, joining in tonight. God bless you.
Thank you both for being here. And this wraps up our time tonight. Before we go, a few reminders. The primary election is Tuesday, May 24th. It’s coming up. If you are not registered to vote, you have time. You must do so by the end of tomorrow to vote in the primary. Advanced voting begins May 2nd. Thanks for being with us tonight