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Deal says jobs, water will be top priorities

Governor-elect names trasition team, chief of staff

POSTED: November 4, 2010 12:07 a.m.

Deal at Capitol

Gov.-elect Nathan Deal and Gov. Sonny Perdue speak at Perdue's office in the Capitol, Atlanta.


Georgia governor-elect Nathan Deal talks about his win while wife Sandra looks on during a news conference at the state capitol in Atlanta Wednesday.

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ATLANTA - Just hours after winning Tuesday's election, Gov.-elect Nathan Deal held a news conference in his future office with Gov. Sonny Perdue to discuss his transition team, inaugural plans, goals in office and party unity.

The Gainesville Republican said Wednesday morning that Chris Riley, manager of his gubernatorial campaign and chief of staff during his years in Congress, will serve as his chief of staff in the governor's office.

He named a transition committee that will be chaired by Rogers Wade, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. Vice chairs are Philip Wilheit of Gainesville, who was chairman of Deal's campaign; John Watson, former chief of staff to Perdue; and Pete Robinson, a former Democratic state senator.

Jay Morgan and Tricia Pridemore will co-chair Deal's inauguration committee. Deal said his inauguration will not be elaborate but would appropriately celebrate a new administration.

Deal said he will disclose who contributes to fund the inauguration and is considering putting a cap on donations.

He also announced his private businesses will be put into a blind trust once he takes office. During the campaign, he was criticized for using his elected office to help his businesses.

Deal also reiterated the message of Republican unity he expressed during the campaign and said creating jobs for Georgians will be his No. 1 goal when he takes office in January.

"I have a great team that the people of this state elected (Tuesday). You're going to see us, up and down this ballot, work together to make Georgia better."

The former U.S. congressman, who left Capitol Hill 18 months ago to run for governor, promised to reach out to those voters who didn't support him in Tuesday's election.

"We're all Georgians," he said. "We need to come together and I will do everything I can to earn their trust."

Deal said he expected to reach a compromise on the decades-long tri-state water wars, citing the election of Republican governors in both Alabama and Florida.

"That should be an advantage to us, I'd think," Deal said.

Deal thanked Perdue for his eight years of work as Georgia's leader.

"His cooperation, his friendship and the actual working relationship not only of the governor but of his staff is going to make a seamless transition going into the next administration," Deal said.

Republican Perdue vowed to leave things in order for Deal when he takes office in January.

"Our team is going to deliver you a functionally balanced budget in January of this year," he said. "I feel very comfortable turning the keys over to Nathan Deal."



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