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Kemp addresses Rotary, talks gubernatorial race later
Secretary of State Brian Kemp opens his remarks to the Rotary Club of Effingham County on Thursday. He discussed issues involved with voting and businesses licenses. Afterward, he talked with the Effingham Herald about the 2018 gubernatorial race. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

RINCON -- Secretary of State Brian Kemp deftly avoided talk of this year's gubernatorial race while addressing the Rotary Club of Effingham County on Thursday. After the Rotary meeting ended, however, the Republican eagerly discussed his candidacy to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal.

"A lot of times, Rotary clubs don't want you to get into politics so I didn't wade in there," Kemp said.

When prompted, Kemp discussed his platform with the Effingham Herald, starting with his push to boost the state's small businesses.

"My record is a little unique to anyone else running for governor," he said. "I am the only person in the race who has served in the legislature, has executive-branch experience running a 250-person secretary of state's agency but, even more important, I've been a small businessman for more than 30 years now -- and that includes today."

Kemp, a member of a six-man GOP field that includes Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, has run a construction company, managed rental properties and owned a small timber farm. He has also been involved in several manufacturing businesses in the state.

"I'm a private sector guy but it's mostly been small business-type stuff. That is really the backbone of our econony," Kemp said. 

Kemp, who limited his Rotary remarks largely to voting issues and business licenses, has visited each of Georgia's 159 counties. He  said he sees the same thing everywhere he goes.

"The people who are still hurting in our state are in small communities and they are small business people," he said. "... That's one reason that the first part of my four-point plan is to make Georgia number one for small business."

See the Jan. 24 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.