In case you haven't noticed, it's an election year for the governor as well as many other statewide offices. Democrat Jason Carter isn't the only gubernatorial hopeful Republican Nathan Deal has to worry about.
From roundtables to kitchen tables, State School Superintendent John Barge and former Dalton mayor David Pennington are hitting the campaign trail hard in their bids to represent conservatives in the November governor's race.
"From the governor's office and specifically the budget, we have underfunded public education horribly,” said Barge.
At his farm in Kingston, just east of Rome, Barge explains that most of his platform centers around education and restoring the hundreds of millions of dollars state leaders have cut from the state's public schools over the last decade.
"I felt like I didn't have much of a choice but to step up and fight for education because the children in this state—1.7 million—that are in our public school system need those teachers, they need those resources and they need a state that believes in them and invests in them."
Barge tells potential voters that investing in education will pay dividends in economic development by preparing graduates for high-paying jobs and drawing businesses to Georgia for quality employees.
"The Governor claims we're the number one state in the nation to do business. That's a nice claim and unemployment's down. We're still higher than the national average. But with all of that, we are still fifth in the nation in poverty,” said Barge. “The number of our residents and the percentage of people living in poverty has gone up every year that the Governor's been in office. So we're not restoring and we're not bringing back quality jobs."