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Election 2018: Cagle promises jobs, low taxes in hometown rally at Gainesville Civic Center
03122018 CAGLE
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle addresses a crowd during a campaign rally for governor Sunday, March 11, at the Gainesville Civic Center. - photo by Jeff Gill

Repeating a campaign vow to create 500,000 jobs in his first term if elected as governor, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle told a mostly hometown crowd in Gainesville that he hopes to take Georgia to “a new level.”

“I’m going to make sure … we are a low-tax state, a low-regulatory environment … and a workforce that is second to none,” he said during a rally Sunday, March 11, at the Gainesville Civic Center.

“When we do that, I can promise you the state of Georgia will be a beacon to the entire nation, if not the world. We are already the capital of the South, but we are always better when our reach is a little bit further than we can imagine.”

Several hundred showed up for the event, with the ballroom decorated in Cagle signs and other campaign materials.

The Republican and Hall County native is part of a crowded field to replace Gov. Nathan Deal, who’s completing his second and final four-year term.

The other candidates are Clay Tippins, Eddie Hayes, Hunter Hill, Brian Kemp, Marc Urbach and Michael Williams. They will face each other in a May 22 primary.

Cagle’s appearance at the civic center marked the third stop in his statewide “Country Tour.” He has visited Evans and Rome, and is set to hold rallies in Perry, Midway and Midville.

“I tell people often that I’m not running against anyone for governor,” he told the crowd. “I’m not running for a job and I’m not running for a position, because I don’t need one. I’m running to make a difference.

“It’s about the vision of this state and moving it to a place of greater economic prosperity where no one is left behind.”

He said Georgia is expected to grow by 4.5 million people in the next 15 years.

“Some of us might kind of cringe (at that), but I’m excited about it,” Cagle said. “It gives me an opportunity as governor to not just plan, but to shape, what that growth is going to look like.”

He said to meet that population, infrastructure improvements need to be made.

In introducing Cagle, state Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, spoke to the crowd about the race ahead.

“It’s a marathon, folks, so get laced up,” he told supporters. “We want you to be there every step of the way.”

Miller said “it’s a great honor to serve with Casey.”

“He has served with distinction,” he said.

In introducing Cagle’s wife, Nita Cagle, state Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, said, “We want to see this family in the Georgia (governor’s) mansion.”

“We often hear that the best place to see someone’s ability to lead is at home,” Nita Cagle said. “I can tell you … he is the best choice we have, as Georgians, to lead our state.”