The three candidates for Georgia governor on the Nov. 6 ballot — Democrat Stacey Abrams, Republican Brian Kemp and Libertarian Ted Metz — weigh in on the key issues facing Georgia.
Early voting in the Nov. 6 election begins Monday, Oct. 15 and continues through Nov. 2, including Saturday Oct. 27.
Abrams has committed to fully funding the Quality Basic Education Formula, which the state uses to determine funding for each public school district. However, she does hope to reevaluate the formula to address poverty and help districts that do not have as many resources.
Kemp wants to keep fully funding the state’s QBE formula and has said he would work with the state superintendent to decide how the formula could be improved.
Metz has said the QBE formula should be fully funded but could be reevaluated. He has said that school districts could cut down on administrative positions to free up funds.
Abrams has proposed a state earned income tax credit that, according to her campaign, would increase with work effort for those with the lowest incomes, then gradually decline for people with moderate incomes.
Kemp has said that he would cut taxes and offset any windfall the state is receiving.
Metz wants to eliminate state income taxes and property taxes. He is proposing an across-the-board sales tax to make up the revenue. People with lower incomes may be able to receive discounts on that tax, he said.
Abrams has proposed that the state invest $10 million in small business financing programs and partner with private lenders to provide capital to businesses. She also wants to work to create 25,000 to 45,000 advanced energy jobs. She supports the expansion of the port in Savannah and potential new inland ports.
Kemp wants to cut down on red tape and reduce regulations for businesses. “My plan is to create an environment in our state where we have less regulation, we have a low cost of doing business and low taxes,” he told voters in Dawson County on Oct. 1.
Metz wants to reduce regulations on businesses and has suggested that industrial hemp, which can be used to make plastics and textiles, be legalized as an additional source of industry.
Abrams supports Medicaid expansion. She also hopes to prioritize Alzheimer’s research and devote more resources to the state’s Community Care Services program, which helps people who are elderly or impaired keep living in their homes and communities. She wants to promote telehealth so people can connect with providers outside their communities.
Kemp wants to grow the rural hospital tax credit program, increasing the cap from $60 million to $100 million. He also hopes to limit surprise billing through expanded network coverage and an updated provider directory.
Metz supports allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to write prescriptions. He also wants to create a health insurance pool for catastrophic health care. “Since the use of catastrophic health care is far less than primary health care, then premiums, if we created a pool and could get every Georgian in it, then the actual premium price would be fairly low,” he said.
Criminal justice reform
Abrams supports the elimination of cash bail and fines rather than jail time if someone has a small amount of marijuana. She also wants to expand Georgia’s accountability courts. She has proposed raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18.
Kemp has said he would give the Attorney General’s office the ability to prosecute gang cases across multiple jurisdictions and create a gang strike team to train law enforcement.
Metz said it should be legal for people to have a small amount of marijuana for recreational use. Keeping nonviolent offenders out of the prison system can help with crowding, and training inmates for careers can also help reduce recidivism, he said.
Abrams supports universal background checks, including for guns purchased at gun shows or sold privately. She wants to repeal Georgia’s campus carry law. She also hopes to allow families to petition courts to temporarily restrict firearms access for people who may be dangerous to themselves or others.
Kemp has said he supports constitutional carry, which would allow people to carry a firearm concealed without a permit and application process.
Metz said he supports the Second Amendment and does not think the government should have the power to infringe upon it. Criminals will not follow the law anyway, he said. However, he believes gun safety should be taught to children.
Abrams opposes separating migrant children from their parents. She has said she would work to ensure that people are not afraid to report crimes to law enforcement due to their immigration status.
Kemp opposes sanctuary cities. He wants to create a “criminal alien database,” which would aggregate data from law enforcement agencies and categorize crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
Metz said people should register when they immigrate to the United States. He said he does not think immigration is causing an increase in crime, and immigrants are often positive contributors to society.
Experience: Abrams is the former minority leader for the Georgia House of Representatives. She is also co-founder of NOW Account, a financial services firm for small businesses.
More info: staceyabrams.com
Experience: Kemp is Georgia’s Secretary of State and was previously a state senator.
More info: kempforgovernor.com
Experience: Metz, a U.S. Navy veteran, is now retired but worked in the insurance industry for 20 years and was in telecommunications before that. He has always worked multiple jobs and said he has also been a chef. He is the Libertarian Party of Georgia chair.
More info: tedmetz.com