ATLANTA — Another Georgia Republican is stepping down from Congress, the second in three days to announce his departure.
Rep. Nathan Deal told a crowd at the Gainesville Civic Center on Monday that he is stepping down immediately to run full-time for governor of Georgia. Rep. John Linder announced this weekend he wouldn’t seek re-election this November.
“The Bible teaches us that ‘To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,'” Deal said, according to his Web site. “I firmly believe that now is the season for me to devote my full energies to the campaign for governor.
“I believe the people of my district, like all Georgians, know that this is a time that demands leadership,” Deal added. “These are critical days for Georgia and my experience at the local, state and national level have uniquely prepared me to lead Georgia as we lead the nation out of the recession.”
Deal was elected to Congress — as a Democrat — in 1992. He is one of a number of candidates seeking the Republican nomination this fall.
Critics contend Deal is stepping down to avoid the outcome of an ethics investigation into allegations that his Hall County auto salvage business won $1.5 million in no-bid state contracts.
“He must lay to rest the allegations that he lobbied Lt. Governor Cagle to pressure government officials into keeping his ‘sweetheart deal’ alive,” Jane Kidd, chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, said in a statement. “Otherwise, it appears that Deal’s fortunate timing is a cynical ploy to obstruct this investigation.”
DEAL’S FULL STATEMENT
Here is the text of his remarks delivered Monday at the Gainesville Civic Center:
One of the highest honors of my life has been the privilege to serve the great people of North Georgia in the Congress of the United States.
My wife and my family join me in thanking you for your support and confidence which have allowed me to lead the fight to preserve the values that have made our nation great.
Having entered the campaign to become the next Governor of Georgia, I have worked very hard to balance the responsibilities of my current office with the demands of sharing my vision for our state.
The Bible teaches us that “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
I firmly believe that now is the season for me to devote my full energies to the campaign for governor.
I believe the people of my district, like all Georgians, know that this is a time that demands leadership. These are critical days for Georgia and my experience at the local, state and national level have uniquely prepared me to lead Georgia as we lead the nation out of the recession.
As governor, my first priority will be getting Georgians back to work while making sure that essential state services are maintained. Our state needs leadership on education, water, transportation, health care and public safety, which must be balanced against the financial crisis facing our state government.
Make no mistake, our Georgia values are at risk. I have stood up against those who do not share our conservative values and, I assure you, they have the governorship of the state of Georgia squarely in their sights.
I’m leaving Congress because I’ve had a front row seat to the damage that inexperience in the executive branch of the federal government has done to our nation…a growing debt that will bankrupt our children’s future, an ever increasing grasp by government that snatches away our freedom, and an effort to bargain away the rights of our state for a few crumbs of federal tax dollars that are packaged as stimulus.
My experience has prepared me to be a governor who understands these dangers. This is not a time for untested leadership in the governor’s office. The economic future of our state is in peril. I am committed and ready to serve this great state.
I love this state and I love its people. My Georgia roots are deep. As I have traveled from the mountains, where I live, to the piedmont, where I grew up and went to school, to the coastal plain, where I was born, my resolve to be governor has grown even stronger.
I will be a governor who will listen to you and consider your needs. Like the deep veins of granite and marble that undergird our state, I am rock solid in my dedication to the task at hand. I will lead with strength, tempered by a servant’s heart.
I invite you to join me, my family and an ever-expanding circle of friends on this quest to be the next Governor of Georgia. Together, we can reaffirm the values that have made us great, enrich the lives of our families and leave our children a state that is a prosperous beacon of hope for the future.
I ask for your vote. I invite you to share my vision and encourage you to join my campaign for governor.