Sonny Perdue: My role as USG chancellor is nonpartisan and nonpolitical

Chancellor Sonny Perdue at his office in downtown Atlanta on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.  The former two-term Georgia governor was announced as University System of Georgia chancellor in March. (Natrice Miller / natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

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Chancellor Sonny Perdue at his office in downtown Atlanta on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. The former two-term Georgia governor was announced as University System of Georgia chancellor in March. (Natrice Miller / natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

The former Republican governor says students and taxpayers are top priority

Former Gov. Sonny Perdue has had a long career in politics, most recently serving as the U.S. secretary of agriculture in former President Donald Trump’s administration. Gov. Brian Kemp chose him to lead the state’s public colleges and universities, a decision that prompted criticism that Perdue lacked any background in higher education.

The 19-member Georgia Board of Regents voted without opposition two months ago to make Perdue chancellor, for which he will earn annual compensation of about $524,000.

In a guest column, Perdue says that he will not approach the job as a politician, but a public servant.

By Sonny Perdue

As election season begins, I want to be clear my role as chancellor of the University System of Georgia is nonpartisan and nonpolitical. I’m here to work on behalf of the students and taxpayers of Georgia. Period.

It is unfortunate that by virtue of my position and previous public service, my name continues to surface in the media in ways that make it appear as if I am acting in a political role. I want to state definitively and emphatically that is not the case. As chancellor, my first priority is students.

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Our job as Georgia’s public higher education system is to prepare students who are ready to enter a highly skilled workforce and meet the needs of industry. Doing so not only helps USG graduates get good jobs and improve their quality of life, but also keeps the state’s economy growing.

As our 26 public colleges and universities work to fulfill that mission, the system will continue to be involved in economic development activity that brings employers and jobs to Georgia. As chancellor, I represent the system and will work with whomever Georgians elect to serve them in the Legislature and the governor’s office.

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That’s what I was doing when I joined Gov. Brian Kemp last week as he announced a major economic development effort in Houston County. It is not an endorsement of or alignment with any particular candidate for public office in Georgia.

As chancellor, I am going to continue to advocate for students and push for jobs, growing the state’s economy and preparing the state’s workforce. My public appearances and activities will reflect that priority.

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