By Matt Anderson
DALTON, Ga. —; Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican candidate for re-election this year, spelled out his vision for “the new Georgia” for Dalton Rotary Club members Tuesday.
The first-term governor said he is striving for a customer-focused, principle-centered and results-driven state. He focused on alternative energy and said he hopes new technology pioneered by the University of Georgia to convert pine trees to ethanol would be available to consumers soon.
“None of the Southeast can survive on cheap labor, cheap land and unlimited water anymore,” he told the luncheon audience at Dalton Golf and Country Club.
Gov. Perdue is being challenged for re-election, with the top two Democrats battling for their party’s nomination being Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor and Secretary of State Cathy Cox.
A spokesman for the Taylor campaign did not return calls Tuesday, but a spokesman for the Cox campaign said his candidate had no immediate plans to visit Northwest Georgia.
Ms. Cox has a more ambitious plan for alternative fuels, which would have 25 percent of the state’s fuel consumption coming from biofuels by 2025, according to her communications director, Peter Jackson.
“It seems like Sonny Perdue is playing a little bit of those ‘me, too,’ politics,” he said.
The incumbent governor took the opportunity to tout his economic record in Georgia, a state he said has moved from No. 12 to No. 3 on a list of states most favorable to new business during his tenure.
“Folks, I’m going for number one,” he said.
Mr. Jackson said it was “astonishing” that Gov. Perdue would run on his economic record.
“Georgia is tied with Louisiana at dead last for the number of jobs lost in the past year,” Mr. Jackson said.
At least one Rotarian was pleased with Gov. Perdue’s economic record. Maurice Sponcler, a Dalton attorney, said he is a committed Perdue voter because of the governor’s fiscal responsibility.
The state will have a $500 million surplus next year, Gov. Perdue said, noting, “It took tough decisions.”
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