A kerfuffle has emerged between Governor Nathan Deal and Democratic nominee Jason Carter on the topic of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Yesterday, Carter stated that, if victorious in November, he intends to conduct a nationwide search for a new head of the agency. In his mind, it currently lacks “top notch” leadership; he bemoaned recent appointments as politically-driven, as opposed to focused on the economy.
“They set up ribbon cuttings,” Carter reportedly griped.
The current DOE head is Chris Carr, who formerly served as chief of staff to Senator Johnny Isakson. He was appointed by Deal last year.
Deal’s campaign has taken issue with Carter’s comments, today issuing a fiery press release blasting the Democrat’s understanding of the department and its role.
“Public-private partnerships spur growth and opportunity,” the governor said. “Economic Development works with private companies, local development authorities and elected officials to help create jobs and economic investment. But I can understand why Jason Carter thinks ‘setting up ribbon cutting’ is all the 230 department employees and I do. That’s all he’s ever attended.”
The release subsequently touted 1,397 company location or expansion announcements the department has aided with since Deal took office. An AJC report of the spat also mentioned Carol Henderson, “a state recruiter who spent f our years working to recruit Baxter International to Georgia – so long the assignment was code-named Project Marathon,” as someone who might disagree.
The response from Deal’s re-elect campaign closed with a dig at Carter’s upbringing in Chicago, a subtle reminder of the efforts being mounted to tie him to the policies of President Obama.
“As we’ve seen over the last six years, state senators from Chicago need additional help in understanding how business works and how the private sector creates jobs.”