tv Georgia Governors State of the State Address CSPAN January 14, 2021 11:01am-12:17pm EST
that starts at 8:00 pm eastern. enjoyed booktv this week and every weekend on c-span2. >> live in atlanta, georgia governor brian kemp is about to give the state of the state address. >> madam doorkeeper. >> mister president, the honorable brian kemp, governor of the state of georgia interesting was to guest enter the house chamber. >> please let his excellency brian kemp, governor of the
[silence] all members please take your seats. mister clerk, will you please read a resolution? >> a resolution calling a joint session of the house of representatives and the senate for the purposes of hearing a message from the governor, the justices of the supreme court and judges of the court of appeals to be present at the joint session and for other purposes. >> i would like to recognize some special people today.
>> someone our family has gained great respect for and continues to be so excited about your effort in this state around human trafficking and foster care and so many things first lady of the state of georgia marty kemp. and it is a great honor to introduce the first lady of this chamber, sherry bradburn. [applause] >> my wife was unable to make it today due to a previous scheduled appointment. so i have got with me, this is
a proud moment, my oldest son parker duncan and since the kemps have no girls your the first senate of the house, parker duncan, thank you. i would like to take a moment to welcome many of you to the general assembly, i want to welcome so many of you here for the first time. hard to believe this is my ninth general assembly i have been around, hard to imagine that much time has passed. i stand here today continually reminding you that honesty and integrity are the best long-term strategy for success in this building. [applause]
>> the short-term sugar high of getting something done just for today to sacrifice tomorrow i encourage you, is not worth it. i encourage new members and old members of the general assembly to take to heart something we talk about at our house, doing the right thing is always the right thing. [applause] >> an honor to stand here today with the opportunity to introduce our state's 80 third governor. i got to know governor kemp on the campaign trail. i spent two years traveling around night and day and all over the place and sometimes we would be around the same room but we worked across the state for 2 plus years and every time i got up from listening to
governor kemp give a speech, four things were unmistakably etched in my mind as to why he wanted to be the governor. one because of his conservative values, 2 because he cared about rural georgia and 3, he was a small business minded individual at 4, family centered. the role of governor, i get to work with him every single day and understand those four priorities become reality in virtually every single meeting we are in. i watch him encourage the room when we are sitting around the table to be the one that leads the conversation on how to shrink government, how to make decisions closer to the voter, how to be fiscally conservative and prepare for rainy days. i hear him encourage an entire room to care about rural georgia, on an investment the state makes and every economic opportunity, every education decision. i get to watch somebody who truly does look through the lens of a small business owner, somebody who cares about and understand how hard it is to create just one job and how to keep that one person gainfully
employed even through a pandemic and i have gotten to watch where his family centered values come from. i have gotten to know the first lady, i got to know his 3 daughters, i now know why family centered values are important. i understand why he cares about education, i understand why he cares about community safety. i understand why he cares about economic opportunity for the long-term. i am proud to report the man i met on the campaign trail is the man i call the 80 third governor of georgia, brian kemp. [applause]
>> thank you all. thank you all so much. lieutenant governor duncan, speaker ralston, speaker pro tem jones, members of the general assembly, chief justice milton, chief judge mcfadden and my fellow georgians. in my first state of the state address i talked about building on a shared foundation, we applauded the leadership of governors purdue and deal who guided our state through difficult storms. i extended my gratitude to the georgia general assembly who helped with key investments in education and economic development. during that first address which quite honestly seems like an eternity ago i retold the famous parable of two builders,
one who built a beach house, the other who picked a better life on higher, more stable ground. the rains came, the floodwaters rose, the house built on a sure solid foundation weathered the storm. last year, i talked about our house plans, the blueprint for a safer, stronger georgia. each side of the structure protected those who lived inside, windows face to the future and a front door open for all those looking for safety, opportunity and a better tomorrow. one year ago i had no idea what we experienced in 2020, what we would endure, the storms we would face, one year ago our economy was grown at a rapid pace with unemployment the lowest in the state's history, we had full faith and confidence that our best days
were still to come. when i stood at this rostrum on january 16th, 2020, i didn't know it at the global pandemic was on the horizon. we didn't know businesses would be shattered, unemployment would skyrocket and opportunity would slow under the weight of covid-19. we didn't know our prosperity in our economy would be undermined at the same time our health and well-being was being threatened. we didn't know all the challenges ahead, all the impossible decisions to make. all of the struggle, pain and grief. my family didn't know we would have to say goodbye to harrison deal. the love of lucy's life, like a brother to jared and amy porter and the sun that marty and i
never had. we didn't know political division would generate ridiculous and harmful conspiracies, lawlessness and death, and no idea 2020 would bring more challenges than any other year in my lifetime. and this virus impacted all of us beyond what we could ever have imagined. too many families are missing loved ones. a heartbreaking devastating loss that i know many georgians are still grieving today. at this time i would like to observe a moment of silence and honor the life of every gorge in -- georgian and every american taken too soon from covid-19. amen. those great georgians may be
gone but they will never be forgotten. we will win this fight against covid-19 and their legacy live on for generations to come. in georgia, our people are the foundation. despite incredible loss and unprecedented challenges georgia is still standing. our house built on a 4 foundation survived the storm. this state while battered is not broken. a better brighter future is right around the corner. [applause] >> yes, we still have challenges ahead. a virus to beat, and economy to rebuild and restore but my fellow georgians, the state of the state is resilient and we will endure. [applause]
>> as you know, agriculture is georgia's oldest and largest industry supporting nearly 400,000 jobs, $76 billion in economic impact throughout the peach state. we take these hard-working georgians for granted we were reminded of their importance in the wake of hurricane michael with winds topping 70 miles an hour, this storm destroyed thousands of acres of pecan, cotton and timber, leveling homes, storefronts instructors, literally appending lives and livelihoods. when the dust settles, i traveled to southwest georgia
to talk with local farmers and support the state's recovery efforts. i remember many conversations when i was there. most of them went roughly the same way. these families were facing the destruction of their livelihoods with bills piling up and federal assistance far away. i would ask how they would move forward. would they be able to continue feeding, clothing and producing for our state and the world, nearly every person said they would clear the fields, repair what they could and start planning. a new legislative session, looking to the past, settle all scores and relive and relitigate 2020. we should take the advice of the farmers, let's clear the fields and start planning. [applause]
>> while jesus was a carpenter like his dad, he had some timeless wisdom on farming and life. in matthew 13 jesus, a few best practices with the crowd that had gathered. a farmer went out into so is seated and as he was gathering the seeds something along the path and the birds came and ate it up. some fellow rocky places where it did not have much soil, drying up quickly because the soil was shallow. when the sun came up the plants were scorched, they withered and had no root. other seed fell among the florence which grew up, other seed fell on good soil. 160, 30 times what they sowed. whoever has ears let them hear.
this parable, told over 2000 years ago, is just as relevant today. good harvest starts with good soul. our future as a state for decades or more will be determined by the decisions we make in the days to come. to ensure strong harvest, our top priority over the next few months has to be can to continue protecting lives and livelihoods against covid-19. from the beginning of this pandemic, i stress the need to balance those priorities, the health and well-being of our people and the ability to put food together on our families. in march of 2020 it was not easy, many problems we confronted led to long days and sleepless nights. it seems like forever ago but in the early days of our fight against covid-19, protecting lives was a minute by minute
battle against a virus we knew little about. our first test was in albany in the southwest part of our stay with a few superspreader events led to the first cases of and hospitalizations in the region. the local healthcare infrastructure was strained to the breaking point and community spread was rampant. in response, the state deployed national guard and infection control teams to local nursing homes. contracted with additional hospital staff to aid local front-line healthcare workers and dispatch the state purchased mobile hospital unit to help with patient overflow. we stood up additional bed capacity and purchased critical ppe supplies and ventilators to aid in the critical care of infected georgians.
alongside local leaders, we made every resource available and worked tirelessly to provide life-saving medical treatment to protect the most vulnerable and flatten the curve. the local community stepped up to the plate and bought into what local and state leaders asked them to do. they wore masks, practiced social distancing, avoided large crowds and followed public health guidance. the community, not the government, flattened the curve and slowed the spread of covid-19. while every part of our state continues to see higher cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths at the hands of this virus the community has shown what is possible when we all work together and choose to be part of a solution instead of part of the problem. here with us today is a gentleman who led a team of healthcare he rose through some of the worst of this virus that has been thrown at our state.
during one of the darkest times in recent memory scott steiner and the hard-working georgians at putney health systems held the line, they worked with the local community partners to educate the public, so when much of the virus was unknown they provided life-saving treatment 2000 of their neighbors, friends and coworkers. like so many nurses, doctors and healthcare professionals across the state, the team worked long hours under extraordinary circumstances not just because it was a job but because they have a deep abiding passion for their work. scott, thank you and thank you to your team for dedication and service to the people of our state.
[applause] >> learning from albany as we moved into the summer months, the state launched a strategic plan to address the effects of covid-19 and its impact on our healthcare infrastructure and community as a whole. thanks to the help from our fellow partners, the state purchased four mobile hospital units to respond to increase hospitalizations in real time. working with the general assembly and memorial hospital we ramped up towards a coordinating center to allow for state wide coordination of hospital capacity. we brought additional bed capacity at the georgia world congress center allowing metro atlanta hospital to quickly adapt to changing conditions on the ground. we kept hospitals open,
accepting patients and keeping georgians healthy. like every other state across the country the pandemic introduced a dire need for rapid accurate and widely available testing and infrastructure, the government of public health created from scratch. we persevered through significant supply-chain challenges that we brought in the georgia national guard and contracted with a gusto university to boost testing, set up mega sites and drive-through testing operations, and engage hard-to-reach communities to identify cases and slow the spread of the virus. as of today there has been a staggering 5. million tests administered in the state of georgia. we all know covid-19 has hit our most vulnerable georgians the hardest.
of aside from those working in nursing homes. from the start of the pandemic doctor to me and our team recognized nursing homes and their residents and staff would be among the toughest challenges we faced. the state sprang into action and was first in the nation to utilize national guard infection control strike teams to construct facilities in every community. all told, and conducted missions in 2400 facilities. speaking of the national guard, i would like to pause a moment and recognize truly remarkable efforts through the pandemic. in addition to spearheading our early testing of control efforts, our own men and women in uniform also helped atlanta area schools deliver 948,000 meals to children who were out of the classroom through the spring and summer.
guard members assisted overwhelmed food banks from savannah to atlanta, an answer to the call to keep communities safe. at this time i would like to thank general tom cardin, every georgian serving in the national guard for their tireless work on behalf of our state and our nation, we are grateful. [applause]
>> the state prioritize the fight against covid-19 and two other specific areas, ppe procurement, additional healthcare, activating the georgia emergency management and homeland security agency statewide network, the state secured entire warehouses of ppe from hundreds of vendors sent to hospitals, nursing homes, doctors offices and other healthcare providers on the front lines under the leadership of former director homer bryson and chris stallings, and 80 day supply of critical ppe categories. as hospitals and nursing homes, the fiercest part of the pandemic the front-line healthcare workers in these facilities have faced hell on earth. they worked under brutal
conditions for multiple shifts over months now. no doubt georgia's healthcare heroes have grit and determination that has inspired 11 million georgians, never -- how important your job is and how vital all of you are keeping the state healthy and prosperous. i want to thank you for sacrificing your time with loved ones, for going above and beyond the duty each and every day. god bless you all. [applause] >> to lend a hand to the use
here is the state spared no expense. through the end of 2020 georgia allocated $250 million in cares act funds to augment staff and nursing homes and hospitals across the state. with an additional 70 million plan through early march, these nurses and healthcare professionals have been absolutely vital to our battle against covid-19, serving as a lifeline for these facilities and patients. i want to thank them for their willingness to do so. these have been dark times for our state, for our country and for our nation. we have overcome so much and together we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. thanks to the efforts of operation warp speed we have a miracle of modern science that has quickly been administered,
283,000 georgians vaccinated as of yesterday. we still have a long way to go but we are making steady progress. this is certainly good news but our fight is far from over. this pandemic is still infecting and killing fellow georgians and americans. we must all continue wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing your hands and heeding the regulations of the ticket order still in place. we also know about reasons for hope and optimism. we will get through this. we will get there together. [applause] it is pretty common for us to refer to 2020 and the pandemic as a fighter even a
battle. i know it certainly felt like one for many georgians, myself included and in any fight or battle victory or defeat is often determined by leadership. i have thank god countless times for sending georgia a remarkable leader to see us through these challenging moments because it is not only for god's grace and eternal wisdom we have doctor kathleen to me. if i were to cite her resume we would be here all day. harvard train, decades of experience and epidemiology on paper and no one would be better prepared for the job of confronting a once in a lifetime pandemic but i will tell you the resume does not live up to the woman all of us have seen at countless press conferences, interviews and fly around tours. her knowledge is unmatched. her work ethic is unparalleled and her passion for public
both legislative chambers, outstanding work of the best economic development team in the country led by commissioner pat wilson, georgia's economy would hold its own during 2020, india riddled with economic hardship from coast-to-coast, vice president mike pence said it best, georgia helped lead the way back to a prosperous american economy and if the first half of the new fiscal year is any indication the peach state is well-positioned to emerge from this period of economic crisis, stronger and more prosperous and before. for an unprecedented eighth consecutive year georgia earned the title of number one state for business, affirming and solidifying our status as a leading competitor for jobs and investment in the united states and around the world.
at a time in our nation's history when jobless claims have skyrocketed our unemployment rate in georgia sits at 5.7% well below the national average and in the midst of a global pandemic, georgia's economic development numbers have shattered record after record. since the start of the fiscal year in 2021 our department of economic development has announced the creation of 16,000 new jobs, and $6 billion in new investment with more than half of those jobs going to outside communities from the metro area. thank you. whether it was georgia-based, growing operation by 100 jobs,
doubling down on their investment by 130 jobs or major brands like papa john's and home depot relocating their headquarters and expanding their footprint creating thousands of jobs in the metro area. those numbers constitute a 40% increase in new jobs created and 47% increase in new investments compared to the first 6 months of fy 20, what they represent is so much more than that, they represent decades of hard-fought battles, foresight, and strong conservative leadership under this gold dome. they serve as a beacon of hope to georgians who had to worry about keeping food on the table or if their kids could build a career in their home state when the dust settles from the pandemic.
they showed rural georgia, not just atlanta, is right for investment and opportunity. they speak to the strength of the business community. those hard-working georgians who face long odds to stay in business and keep teams on the payroll. i face a little criticism from all sides when we chose to safely and methodically reopen the state. for news cycle after news cycle it seemed the only voices given a megaphone were from those who can work from home long-term and those who had resources to shelter in place for months on end but the voices i heard were the voices of men and women who spent years building a business creating jobs, showing artist they hoped to reap for themselves and their families, literally days away from losing it all. i heard their fear, the
uncertainty, not knowing what tomorrow may hold and it was familiar to me. you see, as a small business owner in the construction industry during the great recession marty and i had similar conversations together in our kitchen living week to week day today our to our like many other hard-working georgians. it was not uncommon for the guys on the job site working for me to have more money in their pocket than i had in my bank account. i can tell you those memories came to me often in nearly days of this pandemic, the phone calls, texts an emails i received from folks that were holding out hoping for a miracle. they weren't that different from the thoughts going through my head on more than one night all those years ago. these hard-working georgians were struggling not because their business was a failure or their products or services were no longer needed, they face
devastation because of a virus through no fault of their own. some disagree with me i know our decision to work with doctor to me and her team to give people a fighting chance a glimmer of hope meant everything to them. salon, barbershop, restaurant owners, to implement new covid-19 save protocols. these new regulations up into daily operations that kept many from closing stores, laying off workers and losing businesses that sometimes had been families and communities for generations. hundreds of thousands of waiters and waitresses, contractors, hospitality and tourism workers and farmers, the pandemic came from them as well, this virus took something
>> that decision allowed georgia's small business community to live to fight another day and some of our largest companies like kia and bridgestone to have record success. it has never been clearer that we must honor their commitment to the job creators in the state. our commitment held through these last 10 months, communities rallying around local businesses who overhauled to adhere to public health guidance and keep customers safe and in the work done by leaders in both legislative chambers to make it easier to stay business in the era of covid-19. in the heat of the summer when we were facing the toughest days in the fight with covid-19 when access to testing was crucial and the state struggled to make demand for medical ppe, georgia businesses, large and small who stepped up to meet
the moment, from craft breweries in albany, and manufacturers in rome, to a plastics business in a small startup 13 years ago. our very own pitched in to build up the state stockpile, the need to compete with other states and ensure our healthcare heroes have the resources they need to care for georgia's most vulnerable was one of the businesses, cut the ribbon to mark the grand opening a facility in late 2019 with 52 jobs in their community. the american-made manufacturing, 20 years after many plants closed throughout the united states. of course it meant good jobs and more opportunities on the way to hard-working georgians
and their families. i'm sure no one at the team anticipated covid-19 pandemic, how hard it will hit the economy. when the pandemic hit they didn't slowdown. they roll up their sleeves and kept shopping. these american heroes shifted their entire operation to begin producing mask and gowns for frontline healthcare professionals and while their products may not bear the name of a major brands they caught the attention of people in high places. receiving fda approval in a matter of days, to frontline heroes. steve hawkins, the president of american myth joins us in the chamber today. i know at this time last year
we could not have fathomed a shift of 20 hour days, to fight a virus we knew so little about. i want to thank you for that, you and your team's commitment to that mission represents the best of the georgia business community and reminds us what is possible in rural georgia, on behalf of all georgians thank you, and god bless you. as state leaders we knew we had to support these businesses as strongly as they were
supporting georgia. that is why i was proud to work alongside speaker ralston, lieutenant governor duncan and leaders in both legislative chambers last session to support passage of a ppe tax credit, to incentivize in-state production and ensure we are not forced to rely on anyone but our own, georgia made entrepreneurs for critical supplies. that piece of legislation was exactly the type of common sense business friendly policy that we should champion here in the number one state for business. to stand longtime businesses working hard each and every day to provide their employees and communities and leverage state programs to support their efforts. that is why part of the legislative agenda, proposing a natural next step to the ppe tax credit by expanding the letter of the law to cover pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturers.
georgia is home to healthcare's strongest killers with the cdc, several healthcare systems, and medical research institutions like augusta university and embree and as we look to the future on the other side of covid-19, we should focus, and and to the healthcare industry, building on georgia's momentum to become a leader in all sectors of the healthcare industry. we learned many lessons as a result of covid-19 and when we learned early on is one that we cannot waste time for states and other foreign adversaries, one nation should not hold a monopoly life-saving medicals
supplies or equipment and we should bring -- [applause] >> we should bring these critical industries and the jobs that come with them back to america and here to georgia. [applause] despite the challenges of 2020, i am exceptionally proud of what we are able to accomplish while working together last year. for the first time in our state's history the general assembly enacted a public health state of emergency granting the flexibility and tools needed to lead our state through the covid-19 crisis. and and and the state budget director of kelly bar, to
balance the state budget when the session reconvened last june. we pass a balanced budget that reflected our priorities, healthcare, public safety, education and economic opportunity. while the media and the politicians in california, new york and others spent their 2020 throwing stones in glass houses, here in georgia i am proud to report unlike them the peach state will not be facing budget cuts this year. [applause] in fact our careful
planning and measured approach was rewarded in spades. when the pandemic's efforts effect on state revenue projections looked at worse, we worked closely with chairman england, chairman tillery, speaker ralston, lieutenant governor and the house and senate budget offices to prepare for the worst. however, thanks to the passage of the cares act, conservative budgeting and measured reopening of georgia's economy, our rainy day fund remains strong. other states are looking at further cuts to employees at essential services. for aid they are now forced to turn to a dysfunctional and distracted washington dc but because we reacted swiftly utterly the budget's my administration will propose in the coming days include no new cuts to state agencies and departments, no furloughs, no widespread layoffs to state employees and i might add no new taxes to pay for it all.
[applause] >> this sound fiscal management enable georgia to maintain our coveted aaa bond rating and we find ourselves in a position many other states should envy, economic experts point to georgia's ability to weather the economic fallout from covid-19 as better than most but now as we begin a new legislative session our state still faces head wents due to uncertainty in the global and national market but it is our job to pass budgets, put hard-working georgians first and get ready for planning.
continuing to invest in georgia's economy means we need to stay laser focused on promoting development in all 159 counties, not just our capital city. this has been a top priority of mine since the campaign trail, and under this gold dome as well. my alert on those promises by championing progrowth and establishing the strike team to bring local developers, elected officials and industry leaders together to bring projects of reasonable 662 communities looking to grow. we can land major investment and job creation and rural communities for georgia but we also know that will not happen if we don't invest heavily in the infrastructure and resources necessary to encourage that growth.
many of the economic, medical and other challenges facing rural georgia cannot be fixed with a top-down 1-size-fits-all approach. these issues are best addressed through targeted, innovative public-private solutions that meet the needs of specific communities, not just today and 5, 10, 25 years down the road. that is why i have included in my budget $40 million to establish a rural innovation fund to provide readily available pool of resources that empowers rural georgia businesses and entrepreneurss to get started, expand and thrive. [applause] >> this pandemic highlighted many challenges for communities outside metro atlanta, but none
more so than the critical need for high-speed internet access. for better healthcare and educational outcomes, job opportunities and something as simple as keeping in touch with loved ones. i'm proud to announce $20 million for this fiscal year, to boost access to rural broadband grants so local leaders continually growing and vital partnership with private sector and quickly improve internet access for the people of rural georgia. >> in a year where doctors,
nurses, medical staff, public health workers and healthcare professionals, shown themselves to be the best of georgia and the best of america, no question we must direct every resource available to the expansion of health care access in georgia. to our most vulnerable, to the families who have seen their income cut, the hard-working georgians trying their best to make ends meat. we made great strides towards this goal already was passing and signing over 50 healthcare bills in the last two use to expand access, spur innovation and cut costs for better coverage including the first act. georgia has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country and many who are insured are struggling to pay for care. in the midst of a pandemic that is quite honestly an acceptable. more action is needed. that is why my budget proposal for the coming fiscal year include $76 million to
implement georgia pathways and access to make healthcare accessible for the first time to thousands, and affordable for millions more, for promises by healthcare.gov giving georgians and up and increasing competition in the private sector to drive down costs, with state resources to shore up georgia's healthcare problems with $329 million in medicaid and peach care to fund projected costs in the coming year. when it comes to innovative reforms and healthcare georgia is leading the nation. to plant the seeds we grow in our state for years to come, we must add important nutrients
and strengthen vital life-saving programs and invest our resources and keeping georgia healthy and prosperous for generations to come. [applause] >> our oldest daughter jared is in school at the university of georgia to become a teacher. earlier this week she started her student teaching assignment, we are so proud she's chosen this path and passion for educating strengthened my commitment to the teachers of our state. the state was proactive in easing overwhelming challenges for teachers and administrators, $30 million to ensure student connectivity, cutting the requirements in testing, allocating $19 million for working parents providing
8.3 million units of ppe across the state. the daunting task of the next generation in the midst of covid-19 is anything but easy. so many educators went the extra mile in the classroom, in the best home life. they had meals to last them throughout the day. investing in children in the front lines, with additional burdens and remote learning, social distancing, wearing a mask, adapting to the new normal, made educating overwhelming. the men and women running georgia schools did not miss a beat, principals, teachers, custodians, bus drivers and support staff on down, their actions have inspired us all.
working closely with state school superintendent richard woods, the state will provide additional support to school system reopening efforts equating to a one time supplement of $1,000 per teacher and other employees. richard woods and his team had been tireless champions for schools, teachers and students even before the pandemic and i appreciate his friendship and his leadership. at his time i would like to ask all those in the chamber and those on live stream to thank our educators, administrators, cafeteria workers and school staff who face covid-19 with heart, passion and perseverance, thank you all.
ladies and gentlemen, the responsibility of all of those serving under this gold don't is a clear message that we support educators, students and parents. that is why for this year's budget i'm recommending $647 million to restore funding to school systems across the state. fully fund enrollment growth and whole schools harmless for enrollment productions with $570 million allocated to continue those efforts in next year's budget as well. [applause]
>> those funds mean schools will prioritize student safety, insure quality instruction continues and stand with our educators with months and years to come. other states may face no other option but to cut education dollars, furlough teachers and cut back on essential student programs, backing teachers, to keep kids enrolled. like many families get used to distance learning. i speak for many parents, students and teachers when i say having a class through a computer screen is leaving too many kids behind. experts in education and pediatrics have been sounding the alarm for months and i believe the toll on the pandemic, taking the next generation to a crisis point. these challenges are most
concerning for special needs children whose educational achievement, personal development and emotional well-being have been severely impacted. to prioritize assistance to these at risk students and families my office will be working with department of education to set aside $10 million in emergency education relief funds to reimburse expenses, parents and guardians have incurred while providing quality education to their loved ones during covid-19. pandemic or not, it is my commitment that we will make every resource available to give each and every student the opportunity to succeed. as many of you have written news reports over the last few months covid-19 has had a negative impact on enrollment in some of our colleges and universities. the institutions hit the hardest have often been those serving minority students. with an additional $5 million,
pilot programs university system of georgia, we can keep 10,000 juniors and seniors with unmet obligations enrolled in college. these hard-working georgians have merely crossed the finish line of their higher education and i believe the least we can do is ensure that financial hardship at the hands of covid-19 does not stand in the way of them achieving their dreams. .. [applause] >> in addition to the pandemic, our country faced another crisis throughout the summer and early
fall of 2020. in the tragic deaths of george floyd and ahmaud arbery. the entire nation witnessed injustice with their own eyes, and i was proud to support peaceful protests that the world attention to these terrible acts. and those voices demanded change to protect the lives of every georgian regardless of race creed or political preference. in a bipartisan way leaders under this golden dome stood side-by-side and answered that call. together, we passed meaningful hate crimes legislation that reaffirmed georgia's commitment to be a welcoming state, that values the life of each and every one of its citizens. i would like to thank speaker rolston, lieutenant governor duncan, dean, chairman, senator counselor, senator harold jones and others for the work on this important issue.
oftentimes the best of what is accomplished in this building is the chief when we put politics aside and simply do what is best. when i signed hb four to six into law last year i called it a sign of progress and the milestone worth applauding. what we know thanks to the example set for us all my titans like c. t. vivian and john lewis, that work is far from finished. on may fifth, 2020, a viral video shocked the world comes with the killing of ahmaud arbery shook the georgia community to its very core. we all felt anger, disbelief and a deep sorrow, but none more than his family and loved ones. he was the victim of the vigilante style of violence that has no place in our state. the drains behavior that led to this tragedy was excused away because of the law that is ripe for abuse and enables senator
evil notices. that's why my administration plans to introduce significant reforms to our state citizens arrest statute, and working with legislative leaders and members of both parties i believe that we can take another step toward a better, safer, and more just future for our state. we can't begin send a clear message. george is a state that protect all of its people, and fight for justice wherever it is found. [applause] will peaceful demonstrations across our state in honor of ahmaud, george floyd and others were made possible by our dedicated men and women in law
enforcement. they worked long hours to protect protesters and to ensure if anyone had a different motive involving violence, that our communities and streets remain safe. unfortunately many of our law enforcement personnel or faced with destruction threat the summer months of 2020. i don't believe believe it's ever been tougher, more dangerous, more challenging to where a law enforcement uniform. but police officers across the state have made us proud. our state cannot prosper or read a good harvest without safe communities, safe streets, and safe families. [applause] in a day and age were many vilify the many women who protected our communities each and every day, my message is very clear. in georgia as long as i am governor we back the blue.
[applause] [no audio] >> atlanta police officer max brewer is an 18 year law enforcement veteran, and a self-described motor man for life answers in atlanta police motorcycle unit. on saturday may 30, his -- on the corner of marietta and spring streets come assisting in traffic flow and ensuring demonstrators were kept safe.
around 10:30 p.m. officer brook was struck struck by a drunk maniac on an atv and suffered serious life-threatening injuries. going in and out of consciousness and losing the significant amount of blood, officer brewers need was critical. the call went out for help. the closest available assistance was the georgia national guard unit under the leadership of sergeant first class justin rustin. sergeant rustin scheme responded quickly to the scene, applying a tourniquet to officer brewers leg and providing life-saving medical treatment at a moment's notice. the actions of sergeant rustin and his fellow georgia guardsmen literally saved officer brewer'ss life. he was transported where healthcare heroes continue to save his legs and his life.
these two gentlemen and countless other first responders and to the call to duty in 20200 both sergeant rustin and officer brewer'ss went above and beyond that call, and for that my family and our state are incredibly grateful. officer brewer'ss wanted to join us today by the still is receiving treatment for his injuries. today, sergeant rustin is in the chamber with us and i want to thank them both. thank you, sir. [applause] as state leaders we spent a lot of time talking about georgia
status as a best place in the country to live, work, and raise a family. we talk about it because for so many georgians that phrase reflects the reality of how blessed we are to live in the peach state. george is rich with the good soil, but it is our job to weed out the evil which sink to steal a promise from all of those who call our state home. it is abundantly clear that no industry and bodies that theft of innocence childhood and opportunity more than the sinister enterprise of human trafficking. during our first days in office we hit the ground running to crack down on traffickers, care for victims, and eradicate modern-day slavery in our state. and before i go any further let me just say this. i don't think and i know, no first lady in the country has done more to end human trafficking that our first lady and the people of georgia, myself included are lucky to
have you. thank you for your work. [applause] >> martie and the grace commission of done incredible work these first two years, implementing statewide training programs to georgians know the signs and how to report instances of human trafficking. passing bipartisan legislation, meaningful legislation that toughens penalties on those whose participate in the sale of a person's innocence for profit and working with organizations on the front lines of communities throughout georgia to ensure survivors of human trafficking find their voice and their transition back into society. but as marty and all those who are fighting tooth and nail to and that industry will tell you,
there is far more work to be done. on the heels of a year that sowed so much division among party lines more than any in recent history, i'm asking members of the general assembly to unite once again. let's build on the great work done by the grace commission. by implementing more training programs that equip georgians to recognize and prevent instances of sex slavery. let's make a commonsense reform to our laws so survivors seeking a name change to build a new life no longer have to take out an ad in a paper that puts their safety at risk. and let's strengthen our statutes to add a civil remedy that allows victims to seek court action against their trafficker or those who knowingly aid in their trafficking. there is no shortage of issues -- [applause]
there is no shortage of issues on policy or politics to debate this year, but taking commonsense steps to keep people safe and bring an end to modern-day slavery is a goal that each of us can work together to achieve. you see, there is so much more that unites us than divides us, and working together we can continue taking necessary, bipartisan action to champion the voices of the vulnerable here in georgia. protect our children, implement adoption reforms to make it easier to put them in in a s, loving home. and ultimately secure the promise of georgia for generations to come. as i come before you today, my memories of 2020 will not just be the struggles, then many challenges i spoke about today. the countless, tough decisions or the sleepless nights. like many of you i will remember
times spent with my family that otherwise would not have been possible. i will remember standing shoulder to shoulder, well, six feet apart, with the best private sector, political and civic leaders in our state to face a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. i will remember my travels across the state to visit georgia companies and workers who prove innovation and hard work are the backbone of our economy and well-being as a people. i will remember the countless sacrifices and hardships faced by the people of our state, and how we pulled through, how we weathered the storm, have emerged resilient and stronger than ever. the reason you build a house with a strong foundation is not for the good times, not for the sunny days. you do it to weather the storm when times get tough. i spent my summers working on a farm.
it's hot. it's hard work, but it's also rewarding. watching the seeds you plan to go over the days, weeks and months. literally enjoying the fruits of your labor. i know that many in this room and those watching our worn-out, tired and burdened. it's a new year but at all feels the same. there's no doubt that this new normal isn't really normal. and, frankly, it's not clear when things will return to business as usual. but my fellow georgians, we have the opportunity and responsibility to make strategic decisions and now that will impact generations to come here we have the opportunity to act and accomplished what we were sent here to do. in five years, ten years or 20 years. we can look back and tell our kids, our grandkids and their kids that we invested in
healthcare, education, and the safety of our communities. we upheld our sworn oath and stood up for what was right, even when it wasn't popular. we prioritize jobs and prosperity in all parts of our state. we championed legislation to make our state a more welcoming place to live, work, and raise a family. we protected the lives and livelihoods of what makes georgia great, our people. it's time to put differences aside, put 2020 in the rearview. let's stand together as georgians and through the destruction caused by the storms in life. let's click away this conspiracy theories and the division. let's focus on the bountiful harvest to come. let's find that good soil together and start planting here may god bless you, and may god continue to bless this great
state of georgia. thank you very much. [applause] [applause] >> thank you, governor kemp for this great word. thank you for your steadfast and consistent leadership for the past, the present, and the future. and i'm reminded of another bible verse that you gave to us last year. i'm doing a great work and i
cannot come down. thank you so much on behalf of 11 million georgians for not coming off that wall. thank you. [applause] madame doorkeeper, , please esct the governor and his distinguished guests from the chamber at this time. >> members of president-elect biden is covid-19 advisory board will be holding this discussion on plans the administration has to distribute covid-19 vaccines and reopening schools during the pandemic. live coverage here on c-span2. >> we can use this at spirit and opportunity not only to close the gaps with regard to covid-19 but also apply those lessons and those practices and finally apply this initiative to perhaps a number of other health conditions that affect these communities as well. >> thank you.