State political reports from across Georgia

Gov. Nathan Deal exits the House chamber after he outlined his agenda in his final State of the State speech before a joint session of the General Assembly. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

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Gov. Nathan Deal exits the House chamber after he outlined his agenda in his final State of the State speech before a joint session of the General Assembly. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Augusta: Deal “changed us”

Some of the state's editorial writers have been heaping praise on Gov. Nathan Deal as he begins his final year in office. One of the most gushing editorials came from The Augusta Chronicle, which declared Deal "one of the most impactful governors in this region in memory." The paper wrote: "In believing in us and investing in us, he has changed us." Those investments include $60 million for the 167,000-square-foot Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Center for Innovation and Training currently being built on Augusta's downtown riverfront. Also mentioned in the editorial was Deal's recommendation to provide $49 million-plus in bonds for a new $70 million College of Science and Math building at Augusta University's downtown campus. "In sum," the editorial states, "Nathan Deal — in the home stretch of his final term, and therefore not acting out of political self-interest — has become one of the most impactful governors in this region in memory."

Columbus mayor’s race draws former legislative candidate

A 2012 candidate for the Georgia General Assembly has tossed his hat into the ring for Columbus mayor. WTMV reports that Danny Arencibia, a 2012 candidate for House District 135, promises to focus as mayor on the youth and the future of Columbus, the station reported. Arencibia ran unopposed in the Republican primary of 2012 but lost in the general election for state lawmaker.

Report: Georgia, other tourism-rich states might have case against offshore drilling

Could Georgia be able to make the case that it should be exempted from the Trump administration's national offshore drilling plan? A new story and analysis from Reuters suggests maybe so. The story, which was published Tuesday, says that Florida was granted an exemption last week, in part, because of state officials' claim that national offshore drilling could cripple their crucial tourism industry. Tourism accounts for $111.7 billion annually — or 12 percent of the Florida's gross domestic product. The report points out that Georgia and other states opposed to the drilling plan are in roughly the same shape as Florida. Tourism accounts for 11 percent of Georgia's economy, the news service reported. Since several states are similar to Florida in their dependence on tourism, the administration may find it hard to reject other exemption requests, thus complicating its efforts to expand drilling, the news report says. The Interior Department this month called for opening up virtually all U.S. coastline to drillers as part of Republican President Donald Trump's plan to boost domestic energy production. The governors of every state on the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards objected, with the exception of Maine and Alaska.