After Thursday’s annual State of the State speech by Gov. Brian Kemp (R), which heavily focused on unity and Georgia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Peach State’s top Democrat lawmaker rejected Kemp outrightly.
“Do I think the governor is going to be more conciliatory? No. No I do not,” state House Minority Leader James Beverly (D-GA-143) told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “His policies have shown who he is.”
Beverly did not elaborate.
“It’s time to put our differences aside. Put 2020 in the rearview. Let’s stand together as Georgians and clear the destruction caused by the storms of life,” Kemp said during his speech. “Let’s clear away the conspiracy theories and the division. Let’s focus on the bountiful harvests to come.”
The reference to “conspiracy theories” was a clear jab at Republicans, and particularly supporters of President Donald J. Trump, many of whom remain convinced that there was massive voter fraud in the 2020 election.
During his speech, Kemp also nodded to the left’s social justice agenda, calling for a reform to the state’s citizen’s arrest laws after the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man allegedly killed by two White men in Brunswick, GA, in February. Kemp also described the death of George Floyd, which sparked nationwide riots over the summer, as a “tragedy.” Floyd and Arbery became prominent figures in the Black Lives Matter movement.
“As we begin a new year, a new legislative session, there are some who want to look to the past, assign blame, settle old scores, and relive and relitigate 2020,” Kemp said. “Today, I think we should take the advice of those wise farmers. Let’s clear the fields and start planting.”
The Georgia Star News reached out to Beverly to ask if he believed bipartisanship in the Georgia legislature was an unattainable goal.
He did not return The Star News’ comment request.
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