Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

With hoopla over magazine ranking, Kemp follows a Deal tradition 

Most Georgians probably haven’t heard of Area Development Magazine, a niche publication devoted to economic recruiters. But over the next few years, Gov. Brian Kemp will do his best to change that.

Surrounded by state officials, the Republican unveiled an enormous placard Tuesday touting the magazine’s ranking of Georgia as the top state for business for the sixth year in a row. Another magazine, Site Selection, has also repeatedly put Georgia at the top of its lists.

“Momentum is on our side,” Kemp said from the steps of the statehouse, “and the world is taking notice.” 

The governor is following the lead of his predecessor, Nathan Deal, who put the magazine rankings at the center of his campaign for re-election – frustrating critics who accused him of using the accolade to mask the state’s economic problems. 

Kemp, too, seems certain to try to cast the magazine’s ranking as a stamp of approval on Georgia’s business environment and his political agenda at an uncertain economic time. 

He recently ordered deep budget cuts to prepare for an economic downturn, and his support for anti-abortion measures has triggered threats of boycotts from some Hollywood executives and celebrities

At the ceremony Tuesday, Kemp revealed the rankings with a speech that listed recent economic development projects and, pointedly, the hundreds of movie and TV productions that filmed in Georgia this year. 

“We appreciate those who have invested in our state, who respect our values and way of life,” said Kemp. “This industry has created new opportunities for local businesses, students and hard-working Georgians. There’s no doubt that Georgia remains the Hollywood of the South.” 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.