Georgia Governor-Elect Brian Kemp Unveils His Transition Team

Georgia governor-elect Brian Kemp said his administration would be seen as “incredibly competent, obviously diverse and clearly committed to doing the right thing.”

John Bazemore / Associated Press

Georgia’s Republican governor-elect Brian Kemp announced his transition team Monday. Kemp is calling the group the ‘Georgians First Committee.’

He says the team will consult with Gov. Nathan Deal’s administration, the Legislature, and local leaders between now and Jan. 14 when Kemp will be sworn in as governor.

“I’m prepared to do what it takes to ensure a smooth and successful transition,” Kemp said at a press conference Monday.

The committee will be co-chaired by five people: Jamie Reynolds, Harold Reynolds, Chuck Harper, Alec Poitevint, and Mark Middleton. Each co-chair will work on a different part of Kemp’s transition.

Kemp emphasized the team’s diversity. He said one of the group’s biggest tasks will be to help him choose staff, which he pledges will be just as diverse.

“My administration will be known as incredibly competent, obviously diverse, and clearly committed to doing the right thing, even when no one is watching,” Kemp said.

The committee also includes some high-profile Republicans, like former Georgia Congressmen Bob Barr and Tom Price. Price most recently served as the Secretary for Health and Human Services in the Trump administration. He resigned after reportedly using private planes for government trips.

Kemp’s former opponent, Democrat Stacey Abrams, agreed that he won the race, but refused to concede.

“I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election,” Abrams said during a Friday press conference.

Abrams said conceding would mean she agreed that Kemp, in his role as Secretary of State, handled the election properly. Instead, she’s planning to sue the state for mismanaging the process.

“What I cannot accept is that individual Georgians should not have to specifically and separately fight for the right to cast a ballot,” Abrams told WABE’s Closer Look with Rose Scott. “We have a system in place for exactly that purpose. We have a job that is dedicated to that security, and that job was not done.”

For his part, Kemp is looking ahead.

“We’re moving on,” he said. “Campaigns are about the future. [It was a] hard-fought race, but I won.”

Kemp says attracting businesses to the state will be a priority for his administration. However, during his campaign, he said he’d support and sign a ‘religious liberty’ bill. Some worry that could lead to discrimination of people in the LGBTQ community, and would cause businesses, particularly Georgia’s burgeoning film industry, to flee.

Kemp dismissed that idea.

“I’m going to continue to protect the film tax credit,” he said. “The people I met with during the campaign, that is what they’re concerned about. They like our business environment. They like our low-cost environment. I’m not worried about the election anymore. I won. This group’s ready to go to work, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”