Hester's trial beginsTimes news video
"For the past several months, it has been my full intention to campaign aggressively for election as Georgia's next Governor. We have recruited a top-notch team, raised over a million dollars, and I've worked to help my family understand the kind of stress we will face. I did this because I truly believe our state is at a crossroads, and the next Governor will play a critical role in determining whether our kids and grandkids have an opportunity to enjoy prosperity and opportunity here in Georgia.
"I have experienced pain in my back and neck for years, but during this past legislative session, the pain worsened. At times my arm was numb and the pain spread. Therefore, as part of preparing to run, I visited my physician. That doctor's appointment significantly changed the way my life will look for the next several months.
"I've been diagnosed with some serious nerve and bone problems and a degenerative spinal condition. The issue could be hereditary or it could be the result of an old injury, but the unfortunate reality is that it requires immediate surgical treatment.
"The good news is that my odds of making a full recovery without long term nerve or muscle damage are high. Left untreated, the lasting affects could be severe. However, fully focusing on treatment and healing without long term problems will severely restrict my ability to campaign for much of this year.
"I feel a deep obligation to Georgia's future, while I also have a strong sense of duty to my family. I want to serve the citizens of our state, but I also need to stay healthy so I can provide for my wife and three sons, the oldest one of whom just began his college education. Georgia needs a strong Governor, but Nita and my boys also need a dad who can provide for them well into the future.
"The only way I can balance both obligations is to make the difficult decision to end our campaign for Governor and seek re-election to the office of Lt. Governor. It would be wrong to tell the thousands of Georgians who want to support a gubernatorial campaign that I am in the race when I simply cannot give it my full attention for most of this year. I expect to make a full recovery by next year's legislative session and intend to campaign vigorously for re-election at the appropriate time. As of Monday, my schedule will be adjusted accordingly to make time to address my medical needs.
"It's an honor to have been considered for this opportunity by so many leading members of our state. And, I want to assure each citizen of our state that I will do everything in my power to work ceaselessly as Lt. Governor and Senate President to build a better future for all of us. If you choose to honor me with another term, I will work just as hard in the next four years as I have worked for the past three.
"Thank you, and may God bless our state."