Gov. Nathan Deal’s official portrait was unveiled Thursday morning at the Georgia Capitol, and the painting reflects his and his wife Sandra Deal’s priorities during his eight-year administration.
The couple is joined by a statue of the scales of justice, representing Deal’s work in criminal justice reform and reducing recidivism in the state’s prison system. A crane in the background stands for construction on the Nathan Deal Judicial Center near the Capitol. A camera-shaped bookend refers to the $10 billion annual economic impact of the film industry in Georgia. A model car is a nod to the state’s auto manufacturers.
Sandra Deal’s work is also honored. Books and an apple in the portrait represent her 1,000 school visits reading to children. Her 1,000th visit was in Oakwood in November. Sandra Deal, a Gainesville native and former educator, will continue visiting schools after her husband leaves office, the governor’s chief of staff Chris Riley, a Gainesville native, said Thursday.
Riley had saved flags that flew on the days of each of Deal’s two inaugurations and presented those at the portrait ceremony Thursday. He praised the couple’s leadership and said the portrait was a reflection of the administration’s accomplishments.
“I look forward to bringing my grandchildren and explaining this portrait and explaining what we did,” Riley said.
Deal thanked staff and supporters, telling them that the work reflected in the portrait had been a team effort.
“You are a part of this portrait,” he said.
The portrait was painted by artist Thomas Nash.
Deal was sworn in as governor in 2011. He spent several years in Gainesville as an attorney before being elected to the state Senate and U.S. Congress.
Brian Kemp will be inaugurated as Georgia’s next governor on Jan. 14.