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Op-Ed: Plucking the Weeds of Destruction

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During his final “State of the State” address, Governor Nathan Deal highlighted the sound investments made during his tenure in office.

From criminal justice reform to economic development initiatives, reforms in education and vital transportation projects, the “orchards of opportunity” planted under his leadership have certainly yielded their first fruits.

Sadly, “weeds of destruction” – opioid addiction, gang violence, and illegal immigration – are beginning to sprout in Georgia and we need a governor who will rip them from the soil before it’s too late.

As a small businessman, State Senator, and now as Georgia’s 27th Secretary of State, I have earned a reputation for taking on seemingly insurmountable challenges and delivering measurable results for hardworking Georgians. As Georgia’s next governor, that’s exactly what I will do to keep our citizens safe, our communities strong, and our future bright.

Early in the campaign, I met with medical professionals, impacted families, and lawmakers to develop a plan to tackle the opioid crisis in Georgia.  With A&E’s Intervention filming in North Atlanta suburbs – a place designated as “The Heroin Triangle” – it’s abundantly clear that we must attack this epidemic with unbridled resolve.

I fully support Georgia State Auditor Greg Griffin’s comprehensive opioid strategy that “increase[s] access to MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) —including increasing the number of MAT providers; providing resources and training to practitioners, state supervising officials, and the public; and mitigating barriers to public insurance coverage.”

With a comprehensive, common sense approach, we can remain a state of success – not one in need of on-camera intervention.

Gangs and gang-related violence are also threatening our families and Georgia’s future.  Members of MS-13 – an international crime gang with ties to the Mexican drug cartel – are gunning down their rivals and creating mayhem in the streets.  How can we recruit conferences to Savannah or concerts to Gwinnett when ruthless thugs are terrorizing local neighborhoods? How can we keep our children safe when these animals have infiltrated our schools and places of worship?

We need a governor who will stand with and support the FBI, GBI, and local law enforcement as they fight to put these criminals behind bars.  We must make it abundantly clear to gangs members – young and old – that Georgia is not their playground.

Governor Deal reduced our prison population by giving non-violent offenders a second chance and a way out. As governor, I am going to make sure that gang members – and those who commit heinous crimes – never see daylight again.

The final “weed of destruction” that threatens our bright and promising future is illegal immigration.

We must defund sanctuary cities, pass U.S. Senator Perdue’s RAISE Act, and support President Trump’s plan to secure the border.  As Georgia’s next governor, I will also take it a step further.

Georgia taxpayers are spending millions to shelter, feed, and clothe criminal illegal immigrants.   We must deport all criminal illegal immigrants from our prisons and jails immediately.

If we refuse to get tough with those who are here illegally – and commit crimes – Georgia will become the next California.  What happened to Kate Steinle – who was gunned down in San Francisco while taking a walk on the pier – will happen in the Peach State if we sit on our hands and do nothing.

By tackling opioid abuse, cracking down on gang violence, and deporting illegal immigrants from our jails, we can keep the “weeds of destruction” from suffocating the “orchards of opportunity” planted by Governor Deal.

The time for study committees, empty talk, and half measures is over.  It’s time to lead – not punt – on these critical issues.   As governor, I will work with law enforcement, lawmakers, community advocates, and business leaders to rip these weeds from the soil. We will foster fertile ground to keep Georgia growing!

 

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