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State & Regional Govt & Politics
Georgia 2018: Where the candidates for governor stand on the issues
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Georgia 2018: Where the candidates for governor stand on the issues

Georgia 2018: Where the candidates for governor stand on the issues
Republican Brian Kemp will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in the Georgia Gubernatorial election in November.

Georgia 2018: Where the candidates for governor stand on the issues

Georgia voters are set to elect a new governor in 2018. 

Stacey Abrams --  the former House minority leader -- won the Democratic nomination. Secretary of State Brian Kemp won the Republican nomination. 

Learn about how the candidates plan to take on the major issues facing the state. 

Taxes  |  Medicaid expansion  |  Education/HOPE  |   Gun laws  |   Criminal justice/drug policy  |   Immigration  |  Religious Liberty  |  Abortion  |  Medical Marijuana  |  Transportation  |  Water wars  |  Rural issues  |  Climate change/environment  

Budget and Taxes

Republican

Brian Kemp: Plans to put a cap on state spending, adjusted for growth and inflation, cut income taxes, increase teacher pay and eliminate “wasteful” tax incentives.

In Depth:  State spending could be biggest difference in Georgia governor’s race

Democrat

Stacey Abrams: Backtracked on an earlier position that she would reverse a state income tax cut.  Supports tax credit for lower-income families, expanding Medicaid and new scholarships and tax credits to make child care more affordable. 

In Depth: Abrams shifts, says she would now let Georgia’s income tax cut stand

Medicaid

Republican

Kemp: Opposes expanding Medicaid but supports increasing rural hospital tax credit program and seeking federal waivers to help stabilize insurance premiums. 

In Depth: Kemp’s health care policy opposes Medicaid expansion, supports waivers

Democrat

Abrams: Supports expanding Medicaid and exploring a program to stabilize health insurance premiums. 

In Depth: Medicaid expansion question fuels Georgia governor’s race

In Depth: Abrams’ health care plan centers on Medicaid expansion for poor

Education/HOPE

Republican 

Kemp: Would support “school choice” effort by doubling the state tax credit for student scholarship organizations and boost funding for charter schools. 

In Depth: Kemp proposes a $600 million annual plan to boost teacher pay

In Depth: Kemp unveils school-safety plan

Democrat

Abrams: Supports “historic investment” in early childcare and learning and public schools and a needs-based higher education scholarship. Says she staved off deeper cuts to lottery-funded HOPE scholarship by working with Republicans to keep the program solvent. 

In Depth: Georgia gubernatorial candidates stake out education plans 

In Depth: Abrams has an expansive (and expensive?) education plan

Gun laws

Republican

Brian Kemp: Opposes new gun restrictions and backs “constitutional carry,” which would let gun owners conceal and carry handguns without a permit. He proposed a sales tax holiday for guns and ammunition. Kemp also wants to end some “gun-free” zones. Ran provocative ad showing him brandishing shotgun next to young man courting his daughter. Won support from GeorgiaCarry.Org, a pro-gun group. 

In Depth: Social issues recede to backdrop but remain key to some Georgia voters

In Depth: Gun rights vs. gun control a major factor for many Georgia voters

Democrat

Stacey Abrams: Supports stricter gun laws, including universal background checks for private sales of firearms and a repeal of the “campus carry” legislation that allows permit holders to carry weapons on college campuses. 

In Depth: In Georgia, Democrats chart new course on gun control 

Criminal Justice/drug policy

Republican

Kemp: Calls gang violence a public safety “crisis” and plans to create a new unit in the state attorney general’s office devoted to fighting the crime. Opposes in-state cultivation of medical marijuana 

In Depth: Kemp ratchets up focus on gang ‘crisis’ in governor’s race

Democrat

Abrams: Pledges to eliminate the use of cash bail for some poor defendants, backs taking steps to decriminalize marijuana, expanding accountability courts and ending capital punishment. 

In Depth: Criminal justice reveals wide split in Georgia governor’s race

Immigration

Republican 

Kemp: Has proposed creating a database for tracking unauthorized immigrants with criminal convictions and for speeding up their deportations. 

Democrat

Abrams: Opposed Georgia House Bill 87, a crackdown on illegal immigration that lawmakers approved in 2011, saying it has “harmed our immigrant and refugee communities.” 

In Depth: Abrams was asked if ‘Dreamers’ should get the HOPE scholarship. Here’s what she said:

Religious Liberty

Republican

Kemp: Pledged to sign “religious liberty” measure during the primary campaign. After winning the nomination he said that said he would veto any measure that veers from the federal version, known as the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, that became law in 1993. 

In Depth: Kemp: I will veto any legislation that veers from federal ‘religious liberty’ law 

Democrat

Abrams: opposed bills that threatened to legalize discrimination or allow some Georgians to be treated differently under the law. 

In Depth: Social issues recede to backdrop but remain key to some Georgia voters

Abortion

Republican

Kemp: Has pledged to enact nation’s toughest abortion restrictions. He adopted that position hours after Mississippi enacted a law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks.

In Depth: Social issues recede to backdrop but remain key to some Georgia voters

Democrat

Abrams: Opposes further abortion restrictions. Planned Parenthood endorsed her during the primary campaign. 

Medical Marijuana

Republican

Brian Kemp: He supports a limited expansion of the medical marijuana program but opposes legislation allowing marijuana to be grown in the state, saying it should be up to Congress to tackle the debate. He also opposes decriminalizing marijuana. 

Democrat 

Stacey Abrams: She supports in-state cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes. She would seek to decriminalize some marijuana offenses, and invoked a new Atlanta policy that calls for a maximum fine of $75 and no mandatory jail time for small amounts. 

Transportation

Republican

Brian Kemp: He’s been skeptical of a state-funded transit expansion, saying he first wants to know “what it’s going to cost and who’s going to pay for it.” As part of his plan to cap state spending, he said he wants to prioritize road projects such as the widening of truck routes to accommodate more freight. 

In Depth: Candidates for governor eye Georgia’s transportation needs

Democrat

Stacey Abrams: She’s supportive of efforts to expand transit and says it should be seen as a regional and economic issue. She’s called for more investments in trucking lanes and increased mobility for residents in rural counties. 

Water wars

Republican

Brian Kemp: Says he won’t strike a compromise for the sake of ending the waters wars that will leave “hardworking Georgians high and dry” and is ready to step up the legal fight. “I won’t back down, blink or sacrifice our state’s future on the altar of expediency.” 

Democrat

Stacey Abrams: She’s framed herself as a sharp-edged negotiator who will work to preserve the state’s water interests.

Rural issues

Republican

Brian Kemp: Pledges to bring jobs to rural communities by increasing access to high-speed internet in order to attract jobs to those areas. To improve rural health care, he wants to expand tax credits, stabilize insurance markets and increase access to doctors. However, he opposes Medicaid expansion.

In Depth: Georgia’s rural woes a big problem awaiting next governor

Democrat

Stacey Abrams: Wants to boost rural economies by prioritizing health care. If elected, she vows to expand Medicaid to protect rural hospitals, increase access to telemedicine and support health care workers that want to practice medicine in rural counties. She also supports expanding internet access to help business owners and students in rural regions.

Climate change/environment

Republican

Brian Kemp: Says he supports“fact-based efforts” to protect the environment. His policy does not include any detailed plans to restore shoreline or take other overt preventive measures. He says “one-size-fits-all approach from state government is not the answer” and that local communities should decide their own codes and regulations. 

In Depth: Where the candidates for Georgia governor stand on climate change 

Democrat

Stacey Abrams: Calls “climate change is real” and would strengthen environmental protections. She says her policies could put the the state in position to create as many as 45,000 high-wage jobs in the growing alternative energy sector.

Complete Georgia elections coverage

Inside the Georgia governor election 2018: Latest polls and predictions

Georgia candidates for governor have mapped own paths to victory

Breaking down the ads of the race for governor

Read in-depth profiles about the candidates

Georgia elections central

Read More

News

  • The brother of a woman shot by her husband at a medical clinic in Potts Camp, Mississippi is honoring his sister’s life. Around 10 a.m. Tuesday, state representative candidate Carl Robinson shot and killed his wife – Latoya Thompson – before turning the gun on himself inside the Williams Medical Clinic. The couple had been married since 2014, but court records show Robinson, 43, and Thompson, 33, had filed for divorce in April.  According to legal records, the two filed a joint complaint for divorce April 26. At the time, only one lawyer was involved.  That changed Tuesday morning. Records show that Thompson hired her own attorney and that she changed her mind about a previous agreement she signed about child custody, support and other details July 15.  Now, Thompson’s brother said his family is remembering her for her love of life and passion for singing. “She was a singer, she was our little songbird. Ever since she was a kid, she was always singing something. Beautiful smile, beautiful spirit,” said Kevin Thompson. Thompson said his sister loved her family, especially her 3-year-old son.  His last memory with her is from Saturday, when he traveled in town for their grandmother’s funeral in Lamar, Mississippi. “She was just real happy this weekend, and that’s what I take from all of this,” Thompson said. Three days later on his way home, Thompson found out his sister was shot by her husband.  Investigators said Robinson shot Thompson inside the clinic, where she worked as a receptionist. He then killed himself. Three staff members tried to help Thompson after she was shot.  According to Marshall County officials, staff attempted to perform CPR on Thompson to resuscitate her, but she died before she could be airlifted to a hospital. Robinson was running for state representative in Mississippi, officials confirmed. According to Robinson's campaign Facebook page, he was running in District 5 for the upcoming election. “I was mad at what happened to my sister. I was sad at the fact that I lost my sister, and I was numb because I couldn’t do anything about it,” Thompson said. Thompson said he knew her husband, but he did not know the specifics about their relationship. “I knew he had a temper like most of us did. I didn’t know to what extent,” he said. “You may know someone is off but never think they would go to this extent.” Thompson said his focus now is being there for her 3-year-old son. He said he will include Robinson’s family in the child’s life. “We are going to work together to make sure he has the best of both. It would be unfair for us to shield him and hold onto him,” he said. He said a memory he will hold close to his heart is their last conversation – when she told him that she loved him. Funeral arrangements have not yet been planned.
  • A Mableton man is accused of hiding his 5-year-old son from his wife — who has a temporary protection order against him — before leading deputies on a three-hour manhunt, authorities said. Quantavious Carrol, 27, faces 10 charges after the Thursday chase, which ended with deputies using a Taser on him, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Deputies tried to pull over Carrol’s vehicle, which also had a passenger inside, near Upper Riverdale Road and Tara Boulevard, the release said. Carrol, who allegedly knew he violated the restraining order, drove away from the traffic stop on I-75 North. While driving, he’s accused of throwing a stolen handgun of the window. The gun was stolen out of Gwinnett County, the release said. The chase continued onto I-285 and ended on Fairburn Road, where Carrol got out of the vehicle and ran away, the release said. The passenger was blocked inside the vehicle and was captured by deputies. His charges have not been released. Carrol continued to run, and deputies found him after searching for about three hours, authorities said. He allegedly fought with deputies after they located him, which is why a Taser was used. The 10 charges against Carrol include fleeing police, obstruction, not having car insurance, theft by receiving and multiple driving citations, records show. He remains held at the Clayton County jail without bond. The 5-year-old has been reunited with his mother, the release said. In other news:
  • An Indiana man has been charged with endangering the welfare of children after authorities said he took kids to Kentucky and forced them to sell candy for him. >>Read more trending news Shawn Floyd, 54, of Indianapolis was arrested last week in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said in a statement. The 12 children involved in the case were taken into protective custody. Floyd is accused of taking 12 Indiana children to Kentucky and forcing them to sell candy for profit, the statement said. The children were allegedly made to sleep in one hotel room with three adults, and had to purchase their own meals and water, according to the statement. The youngest child was 11, the office said. Kentucky labor law requires a person to be at least 14 years old to be employed. Beshear's office was notified July 12 of about 25 solicitor permits issued in Bowling Green, mostly for minors. The office had also received previously reports of Floyd possibly being involved in human trafficking in several Kentucky counties, the statement said. 'I want to commend the work of the Bowling Green Police Department and our human trafficking investigator,” Beshear said. “Their actions prevented any further possible exploitation or suffering for these children. When it comes to preventing such crimes, it requires cooperation across agencies and promoting awareness of such actions in every community.” Floyd has a pretrial conference scheduled for Sept. 4 in Warren County, Kentucky, WANE-TV reported. Online records show Floyd has bonded out of Warren County Regional Jail. Anyone who has information on people being exploited for commercial sex or labor can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 (or text 233733) for immediate assistance.
  • A California family is mourning the loss of their 9-year-old daughter and warning others about the dangers of underwater pool lights. >> Read more trending news  McKenzie Kinley, who was just shy of her 10th birthday, was killed Sunday after she was electrocuted in her family’s backyard pool in Citrus Heights, according to news reports.  The child was killed after touching an underwater light fixture that was not sealed and was under repair, KOVR-TV reported. “As much as we know, she grabbed the pool light, and it electrocuted her,” the girl’s father, Cliff Kinley, told the news station.  Sacramento County rescue crews rushed to the scene, but were not able to save the child. “Thank goodness it didn’t get anyone else, because there were four other children in that pool,” Kinley said. Kinley said the family is talking about the tragedy to warn other people about the potential dangers in backyard pools. “If nothing comes from losing my daughter, at least this could save others,” the child’s mother, Lisa Moore, told KOVR. The family started a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses.
  • A former Atlanta attorney and his son were sentenced to nearly six years in prison Tuesday for a banking and investment scam that netted them more than $15 million, authorities said. Donald Watkins and his son Donald Watkins Jr. were convicted earlier this year  of deceiving former NBA star Charles Barkley and using the name of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to support the scam. Watkins was sentenced to five years in prison, while his son got 27 months behind bars, The Associated Press reported. The elder Watkins was also ordered to pay $14 million in restitution.  During the trial, witnesses including Barkley testified about losing more than $6 million in investments and loans to the former attorney. Barkley said he was friends with Watkins, who split his time living in Birmingham, Ala. and Atlanta. Other athletes who lost money in the scheme included former NBA player Damon Stoudamire and former NFL players Takeo Spikes and Bryan Thomas. Rice testified that Watkins used her name to promote an energy business without her permission, the AP reported. She declined to get involved, but Watkins included her name in emails to investors anyway, she said. As a lawyer, the senior Watkins once served in Montgomery as a city council member. He helped defend HealthSouth Corp. founder Richard Scrushy in a fraud that nearly bankrupted the company, now known as Encompass Health. He has also worked on various civil rights cases. Watkins reportedly only had a net worth of few thousand dollars despite portraying himself as wealthy, the AP reported. He attempted to purchase a major league baseball team and the the St. Louis Rams before the team left for Los Angeles.  In other news: 
  • A couple in Clarksburg, West Virginia, is in jail facing child neglect charges after three children wandered off from their home. >> Read more trending news WBOY reported that Clarksburg Police Department officials said officers received a call on June 1 about three children who were seen in the area and were not wearing clothes. A criminal complaint obtained by WBOY said one of the children was carrying a steak knife. >> Read more trending news According to the complaint, the children were away from their parents for about 25 minutes. Police located the children about a quarter of a mile away from home. Two of the children, girls ages 3 and 2, had no clothes on, the complaint said. A 4-year-old boy was only wearing a diaper, which was full of feces. Police contacted the children's mother, 24-year-old Sarah Nardo. They learned Nardo and her boyfriend, 27-year-old Donald Johnson, were sleeping when the children got out of the house.  Johnson and Nardo were arrested and charged with gross child neglect creating risk of death or injury, WBOY reported. According to North Central Regional Jail records, they were booked Tuesday. They are being held on $50,000 bond.