Rebuking a growth in government, Gov. Nathan Deal in his inaugural address called on Georgians to assume personal responsibility, saying he will continue to fight Washington over the healthcare reform Congress passed last year.
“The evolution of society has infringed on much of the elbow room our ancestors enjoyed and government has been asked to regulate our actions as we bump into each other in our frantic search for success,” the governor said.
Deal, who defeated former Gov. Roy Barnes in November, to succeed Sonny Perdue is only the second Republican governor of Georgia since Reconstruction. A former Congressman, Deal resigned from his post in March to run for governor.
In his speech Monday, Deal also called on “on communities and civic and religious organizations to continue and expand their efforts to serve the needs of people” in communities statewide.
“State government cannot and should not be expected to provide for us what we can provide for ourselves,” Deal said. “Let us refocus state government on its core responsibilities and relieve our taxpayers of the burden of unnecessary programs. Let us be frugal and wise. Let us restore the confidence of our citizens in a government that is limited and efficient.”
In his speech, Deal touched upon a number of issues that will likely be at the forefront of the incoming General Assembly, including education, transportation and healthcare. Georgia and 19 other states are challenging the health care law. The lawsuit – initially filed by Florida’s attorney general – is still pending.
“I will resist the efforts of the federal government to mandate its solutions on our people, our businesses and our state government,” Deal said. “We will do our part to provide healthcare to our most vulnerable citizens, but government cannot make or keep us healthy.
“The primary responsibility for good health rests with individuals and families,” Deal added. “We can help cultivate a culture of wellness in our educational programs and offer incentives in Medicaid and the State Health Insurance Program, but it is only individuals and families that can make healthy lifestyle choices.”