Op-Ed | Georgia On My Mind

Walt Farrell

Published November 23, 2020

From the CEO


Georgia On My Mind

By Chris Clark, Georgia Chamber President & CEO  

We know we have it good in the Peach State and, when we work together, we accomplish great things. We celebrate our wins and lament our challenges, but we do this together as one statewide community. We travel from the mountains to the sea to catch up with friends and relatives. We have incredible companies making products we can appreciate and enjoy and farmers growing food to essentially feed the world. We have sports teams that either keep our hearts racing or break them in a moment’s notice, but we, as fans, remain eternally optimistic. We have an incredible economy with an affordable cost of living that attracts tens of thousands to move to our state each year and millions more to visit it.

Now, the entire world has Georgia on their Mind, too. They are all waiting on us to see which party will gain control of the U.S. Senate and the direction of the nation for years to come. This monumental election will conclude with the votes of hard-working citizens in the Peach State. And I, for one, am okay with that.

But while everyone is watching, whispering, even shouting, about us; here are a few thoughts to consider about these elections:

  • The elections were fair and managed in accordance with applicable laws by our Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and the many local election officials and volunteers all over Georgia. They stepped up in the middle of the pandemic and we appreciate their hard work.
  • There was no widespread voter fraud or manipulation, just math. And as my son says, “Math doesn’t lie, Dad.”
  • Though many Georgians are not happy with the results, we do respect democracy and the ideals of others. We are all created equal in God’s eyes; we all have value. And that is a truth we should not just believe, we should also live out, daily.
  • In local and state elections, voters largely chose those hard-working public servants that they know, who focus on job creation, economic mobility and improving our quality of life. Voters tended to reject the agendas that continually divide us and vote on the issues they believe will ensure a stronger and more vibrant future for our state.
  • Georgians showed that they are largely approving of our state’s leadership, both Republican and Democratic, as well as our general direction and expanding recovery.

And while Georgia plays out this election on a national stage, there are a few more things that everyone should know about the Peach State:

  • For the eighth year in a row, we have been named the best state for business by Site Selection Magazine.
  • Companies from around the world have chosen to relocate here; we have 34 Fortune 1000 companies and have one of the fastest growing minority business start-up rates in the country.
  • Consistent job creation announcements by Governor Kemp and his team show that companies value our focus on health, recovery, and economic livelihood. Just in the last few months, we have welcomed tens of thousands of new jobs with the location and/or expansion of companies like Agile Cold Storage, Amazon, BandD Foods, Bang Energy, Chemours, Deluxe, General Mills, Hooker Furniture Corporation, LaRegina Atlantica, MasterBrand Cabinets, Microsoft , Outdoor Network, Papa John's, Radial, Inc. and TEKLAS, to name a few.
  • The University System of Georgia has reached an all-time high for enrollment this year with over 340,000 students enrolled, generating a fiscal year economic impact of $18.5-billion
  • Our High school graduation rates are at an all-time high.
  • By the end of the decade, Georgia will be the fifth most populous state and a majority-minority state, rich in culture and even richer in the diversity that allows everyone to thrive here.

In the coming months, we are going to move forward and tackle our issues as Georgians. We are going to have policy discussions about expanding our transportation infrastructure and improving rural broadband.  Our work on civil rights, equality and equity will continue with intensity and urgency. Our General Assembly will convene in January to further expand the economy and jumpstart the recovery. We will listen and follow the leadership of Governor Kemp and Dr. Toomey as we battle the next wave of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, social distancing and focusing on the health and safety of our employees, customers, and clients. Georgians will vote again, and we are committed to showing up, because we care about our future and each other. And if all this is not enough, the Georgia Chamber will spend 2021 listening to our local communities and collecting ideas about how to spur economic growth and mobility all over the state. We are going to lead a family discussion, together.

Georgia is always on my mind. I welcome the opportunity to show the world why we all chose to live, work, play and pray in this great state and why we are committed to building a reimagined New Georgia Economy.