Republican Brian Kemp was sworn in at a university stadium on Monday as Georgia’s 83rd governor.
Kemp visited the Gainesville Civic Center on Jan. 11, three days before his inauguration, and thanked his supporters as well as outgoing Gov. Nathan Deal and first lady Sandra Deal.
Kemp was joined by his family and state legislators on the eighth of nine celebration events statewide. The tour was a way for him and his administration to connect with Georgians, both supporters and people who may have voted for another candidate, Kemp told media.
“It’s been an opportunity for us to see a lot of hard-working Georgians like this, tell them thank you, tell them thank you for supporting the transition. … It’s also a way to let people know that we’re not going to forget them. I’ll be a governor who is going to represent this whole state,” Kemp said. “My whole message at most every stop has been, even people who didn’t vote for me, as governor, I’m going to be working hard for you.”
Savannah Emerich, the second vice chair of the Lumpkin GOP, attended Friday to show support for Kemp. She said she hopes his administration upholds conservative values, such as opposing gambling and abortion.
“I think Brian Kemp provides a conservative view as far as where Georgia might go in the future, and I think he holds true to a lot of values our president has, and I think that’s something to admire,” Emerich said.
State Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, introduced the Deals at the event, thanking them for their eight years of service.
“You’ve planted trees under which you will never enjoy the shade. … You have changed tens of millions of Georgians’ lives and the trajectory of their lives, and we are so very, very grateful,” Miller said.
Deal said he saw some familiar faces when he looked out at the crowd in Gainesville.
“Some of you were introduced to me and Sandra during the 2010 governor’s race,” he said. “Many others of you from this area of the state have been with us for a very, very long time, going all the way back to my days in the state Senate in 1980.”
Deal also praised Kemp’s character in the face of a difficult campaign cycle.
“He stood steadfast, he carried through with the things he said he was going to do in the campaign, and I think we can be assured he’s going to do that when he is sworn in to the office,” Deal said.
Kemp is 56 and a native of Athens. He and his wife Marty have three daughters.