Governor-elect Brian Kemp talks top priorities once he takes office

Channel 2 Action News is talking one-on-one with Georgia Governor-elect Brian Kemp about his top priorities once he takes office in January.

Kemp agreed to answer Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant’s questions about his plans in an exclusive interview this week.

The State Capitol was quiet on Thanksgiving, but on Monday, the Kemp transition team will be back in their first-floor offices. Even after a razor-thin victory, the governor-elect told Diamant he has no plans to roll back his conservative agenda.   

“You can’t run from the roots of who you are,” Kemp said.

Kemp promised to pursue the same conservative economic policies that propelled his campaign.

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“I’m going to do exactly what I told people I’m going to do," he said.

Kemp didn’t retreat from his pledge to push for new abortion restrictions and expanded gun rights, or his support for a controversial religious liberty proposal.

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“I support the exact language that’s in the federal statue, now doing that at a state level,” Kemp said. “It protects religious freedom, which we absolutely should do. It does not discriminate, and I’ve been very clear on that. I’ll veto anything less, and I’ll veto anything more.”

On Monday, Kemp introduced his transition team made up of dozens of well-known Republican leaders focused on refining policy and hammering out a state budget.

“We’re going to be relying on a lot of different people, and have been, to get input on our education policy, on our health care policy, public safety policies,” said Kemp. “That’s how we’ve developed a lot of these plans, and that’s what a good governor does.”

Kemp edged out Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams by a razor-thin margin in an intense, deeply divided race. Diamant asked Kemp how he plans to bridge that gap.

“I can guarantee you I’ll be fighting every day,” Kemp responded. “At the end of four years, when we’re going through this process again, I’m going to have a great record to give people a reason to vote for me that maybe didn’t the first time.”

Another likely flashpoint for Kemp -- election reform, which the Abrams camp plans to pursue in federal court.

Kemp will be sworn in as Georgia's 83rd governor on Jan. 14.

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