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November 18, 2013

Pennington officially enters governor's race

After several months gauging support around the state, Dalton Mayor David Pennington is officially announcing his campaign for governor today and formally entering the race.

In a video message to his thousands of supporters throughout the state, the conservative mayor announced his decision this morning.

"Our next governor needs to be someone people can trust, not someone who is in the world's newspapers with personal ethics problems," said Pennington in the video. "Our next governor needs to be someone who spent his lifetime creating jobs, not playing politics in Washington. Our next governor needs to be a real conservative — not just in words, but in deeds."

Pennington notes that as mayor he was given a Guardian of Ethics Award, that he donates his mayor's salary to fund local scholarships, that he has spent his lifetime creating jobs as a small businessman, and that he has a proven record of cutting spending and taxes including a whopping 28 percent property tax cut.

Over the last few months, Pennington has raised several hundred thousand dollars for his campaign committee.  Pennington has also been gathering support across the state.

Pennington's formal entry comes on the heels of two significant events over the weekend showing his broad base of support.  First, the Georgia Republican Assembly, one of the most influential conservative groups in the state, voted in a straw poll an overwhelming 65 percent to 35 percent in support of Pennington over Gov. Nathan Deal. Hours later, a large gathering of official Republican Party committees in West Georgia voted a tie in their straw poll giving both Pennington and Deal 41 percent — an indication Pennington is catching on with both grassroots leaders and Republican officials.

A full copy of Pennington'ts announcement text is below:   

"For too long, too many politicians have put themselves before the people. They forgot campaign promises are not just to win elections; they are a trust between the candidate and the people. It is time for people of Georgia to have pride again in our state — to have confidence that whoever sits in the governor's chair has their best interests at heart.

"Our next governor needs to be a real conservative — not just in words, but in deeds. Real job growth with higher wages, lower taxes, eliminating wasteful spending, improved local control in education, lower cost health care with less government, and real welfare reform do not need not be promises in the future; they need to be reality today.

"Our next governor needs to be someone who has spent their lifetime creating jobs and accomplishing these goals, not someone who learned to play politics in Washington; someone people can trust, not someone who is in the world's newspapers with personal ethics problems. My standard of ethical behavior is not legal or illegal; it is what is right or wrong.

"I'm David Pennington and that's why I am running for governor of Georgia.

"The problems we have here in Georgia are stark. Working Georgians' incomes are now ranked down where they were in 1979. Georgia has trailed the nation with the national economy growing a full 71 percent faster than ours for much of the last decade. Today, we are ranked 34th out of 50 in the Tax Foundation's annual State Business Tax Climate index — a key indicator, and a bad one, of whether businesses will come here to create jobs. And for a time under our current governor, Georgia has the highest unemployment rate of any state in the Southeast.

"It is time for a new course.

"As a successful small businessman who has created jobs in multiple businesses for decades; I understand what must be done to turn around our economy. I have done it in government. As a mayor I cut taxes and streamlined government. I cut business license fees up to 50 percent and streamlined the permitting process to shorten the time for a new business to get up and running — to shorten the time for them to create jobs. While the area around my city is still struggling, our city is doing well.

"As a job creator, I know job growth is not going to come from higher taxes, even for regional transportation. It does not come from taxing private car sales. Economic growth doesn't come from failed stimulus schemes or growing government. Those are the failed policies of our current governor.

"Economic growth comes from unleashing our job creators; that is why I support the elimination of the Georgia income tax. We need comprehensive tax reform led by an income tax cut.

"We were the second least competitive state in the Southeast until a month ago when North Carolina passed their tax reform. They've officially made us the most uncompetitive state in the region.  

"Georgia has lost 14 percent of its jobs paying more than $50,000 a year and added 15 percent to its Medicaid rolls during the recovery. The wrong numbers are going up and the right numbers are going down. Can you imagine the next recession?

"Texas has no state income tax and has enjoyed a lower unemployment rate than Georgia. Florida has no income tax. Since their Republican governor took control, Florida's unemployment rate has dropped a full 35 percent. Here in Georgia, once again, we are behind.

"We are behind both Florida and even the nation in lowering our unemployment rate since the recession. Florida with its Republican governor and even the nation under Obama are both outperforming Georgia; that's sad.

"And while our current governor talks about jobs created, most of them have been minimum wage and part-time jobs with no health benefits; that must change. We need to eliminate the state's income tax and become a magnet for job growth, higher wages and true long-term economic growth.

"As a mayor, I proved you can cut taxes even in tough economic times. In fact, I cut property taxes by a full 28 percent. A 28 percent tax cut even at the local level where waste, fraud and abuse are not as prevalent as in big government.

"You see, cutting taxes and reducing the size of government is not a campaign promise; I have done it. I cut government bureaucracy, and I cut taxes.

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