Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal was on a tight schedule Saturday morning. On his way from meeting with friends in Chatters Restaurant in Lyons to attend the Possum Hollow festival in Dexter, Deal dropped by Bevricks Char House Grill in Metter.
A native of Bulloch County, which is home to dozens of his relatives, Deal said Bevricks is another one his family's favorite haunts. The restaurant was bedecked with bunting and festooned with Deal signs. After greeting the crowd, Deal immediately addressed negative ads Roy Barnes, his Democratic opponent, currently is running on television.
Deal said the latest attacks by Barnes haven't just attacked him, but rather have chosen instead to focus on the financial support of his daughter and her husband.
Deal said they are untold numbers of other businessmen and women across this country whose businesses has fallen victim to the recession that is ravaging the country.
Some at the "Meet and Greet" said they had come because of the personal attacks. A gentleman who had recently moved to Metter from Gainesville decided to come by and show some support for his old friend.
Also present were Cobbtown residents Larry and Linda Banks. Larry Banks is retired from the military, while Linda is a retired school system employee. Both were bothered by the negative attacks on Deal. Larry Banks said "I knew that the real truth was not being told."
Linda Banks said, "I know he's a good man, a deacon in his church, and all. I knew that there to be more to the story than what they were writing."
Deal, meanwhile, was upbeat. He shared his plans for what he considers to be the top four priorities for Georgia's next governor: public safety; K through 12th grade education; transportation; and health care.
He has proposed establishing loan forgiveness programs for college graduates who are willing to either teach in Georgia or use the skills they have learned in Georgia's colleges by working for the businesses in the state.
The plan, he said, would bring a halt to the flight of top-notch talent that Georgia's colleges create. As to public safety, Deal said the police and fire departments and the courts must be given the tools they need to prosecute the laws of Georgia.
Concerning transportation, Deal said that the ports of Savannah and Brunswick must continue to be deepened, and the state's highway networks leading away from those areas must be expanded so that they can handle the added cargo coming in and out of the ports.
Finally, he said that with the implementation of the new health care bill, the state's Medicaid rolls will be expanded to include those who now have 133 percent of the maximum allowable income to qualify for the program.
Deal said he believes doctors will be incapable of handling the greatly expanded number of patients and offices and hospitals would be overwhelmed. Also, he fears many doctors may now choose to withdraw from the program. The result: even less health care available for those who need it the most, he said.