Barnes and Deal square off on education

A pull of Republican Nathan's Deal name from a fedora allowed him to be the first to fire in the gubernatorial debate with Democrat Roy Barnes at the Georgia Terrace hotel today.

“Dr. Deal, two minutes,” the moderator said.

“I think I just got promoted,” said Deal, a lawyer and politician. “I have often said my affiliation to public education is genetic. My parents were retired public school teachers and my wife is retired public school teacher.”

Deal said he knew from family experience that the state shouldn’t be furloughing teachers and why they needed to be better compensated.

Barnes said he had seen the importance of education in what it had done for him personally and in its importance it was to economic development during his one term as governor.

“The first question you get from companies … is not how much is your corporate tax rate. They say, ‘Tell me about your education system,'” Barnes said. “I’m a little different from Congressman Deal. My brother was the first to graduate from high school and I was the first to graduate from college,…It changed my life."