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Posted: October 15, 2010 8:05 p.m.

Nathan Deal visits Newton County

By Gabriel Khouli/

When asked to simplify Georgia's gubernatorial race, Republican Nathan Deal said he's the best candidate because of his extensive legal and political background and his conservative promise to not increase residents' tax burden.

Deal spoke for 15 minutes to a small group of prominent local Republicans at a lunch event Friday at Smiley's Restaurant in Porterdale. The event was hosted by a local committee supporting Deal for governor.

Local County Commissioner Mort Ewing introduced Deal and praised his military service, public service and support of agriculture, calling him the most conservative U.S. congressman from Georgia.

Deal said his legal experience as a prosecutor, district attorney, juvenile judge and county attorney and his time spent in the Georgia Senate and U.S. Congress give him a broad background.

He said Georgia residents are concerned about one thing: jobs. If elected, he plans to make the state more attractive to prospective businesses by reducing corporate income taxes and by eliminating the net worth and business inventory taxes, according to his website. He said his proposal would move Georgia from the 29th most competitive state for business, as measured by the non-partisan Tax Foundation's 2010 State Business Tax Climate Index, to the to the 16th most competitive.

He also spoke about his plans for education, including allowing schools to use existing state money more freely. Currently, much of school's funding is restricted to one use depending on its source, including new infrastructure or staff development. Deal said he's not in favor of raising taxes to increase funding but is in favor of allowing schools to more freely allocate funding.

He also believes charter schools have been a positive addition to the education system, and he suggested that technical training begin as early as middle school in order to break the mindset that every child needs to go to college.

The 2010 gubernatorial race has been filled with negative campaigning regarding unethical abuses of power on both sides, and Deal referenced several controversies in his speech.

He denounced Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes recent ads as gender and race baiting. He also accused Barnes of suing the citizens of the state and bankrupting businesses during his legal career. Finally, he said it was unfortunate someone would bring up his daughter's recent bankruptcy.

"Roy Barnes is entering the desperation stage in his campaign, and he is willing, apparently, to do or say most anything to generate extra buzz," Deal said, noting his lead in the polls. According to an Oct. 7 Rasmussen Reports phone survey, Deal had support from 50 percent of voters with Barnes collecting 41 percent. The General Election is Nov. 2.

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