Georgia’s first lady tells Monica Pearson what she learned from cheerleading

Marty Kemp talks about her love of animals, the origin of her name and the work she’s done to combat human trafficking.

Credit: AJC Staff

Georgia's first lady Marty Kemp joins Monica Pearson on this week's "The Monica Pearson Show." In this clip, she discusses her work battling human trafficking.

The Governor’s Mansion has given Marty Kemp a platform to advocate for causes she cares about, but the Athens-born mother of three says she’s still the same low-key person she’s always been.

One of her projects is the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education Commission (GRACE), which works to combat the threat of human trafficking and assists victims. “We really have talked to the survivors about what their needs are,” Kemp tells Monica Pearson on this week’s “The Monica Pearson Show.”

The commission’s work seeks harsher penalties for perpetrators, but also helps the survivors because “they really have nothing when they come out,” she said.

That work is a team effort, and she says her days as a UGA cheerleader provided a learning experience in that area. “Cheerleading is a team sport,” she said. “You have to be a team player and you need to be a team player in politics as well. So I think that probably taught me a lot of discipline.

Monica asks her about the origin of the name Marty and her love for the family farm, bought on the day she was born. In fact, her dad was there when her mom went into labor with her.

“He was there fishing when my mother drove herself to the hospital to deliver me …,” Kemp said. “It’s a four-lane road now, but it was a two-lane road and there was no cellphones. There was nothing. My dad’s secretary had to drive out there to get him and get him to the hospital.”

The farm is where she got her lifelong love of animals. Right now, there are just two dogs at the Governor’s Mansion, a golden retriever and a German shepherd. But, because she’s so fond of animals, that could change. “I’m thinking I might sneak some more in,” Kemp says. She tells Monica that the governor “gets nervous when I have a pet adoption day. He’s like, you make sure that they go home with other people and not you.”

What does she want to be remembered for in her role as Georgia’s first lady? “That I made a difference in somebody’s life, even if it was just one. … I might have made them smile. I might have given them hope for a better life.”

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