Disclaimer: This article is in no way supporting any particular candidate for office, it is merely a synopsis of UGA alumni who currently seek office at the state level.
Brian Kemp, David Shafer, Chris Carr, and Gary Black are among the illustrious University of Georgia alumni vying for state office.
Our beloved University of Georgia boasts some illustrious alumni, notably numerous across the state government. A staggering count of 26 governors have walked safely through the arch post-graduation. According to UGA Government Relations, there have been 50 grads in the House of Representatives and 18 State Senators that make up over a fourth of the state legislature including the Speaker of the House David Ralston. Of those, 58 are Republicans. In the United States Congress, UGA graduates include Congressman Buddy Carter (Dist. 1), Congressman Tom Graves (Dist. 14), Drew Ferguson (Dist. 3), and U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson. Let’s not forget our nation’s Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, either. Needless to say, the university has bred some successful players in the political game. As we speak, there are four alumni who have walked through the legendary Arch at UGA who seek GOP nominations for state office in 2018. Below is a brief description of four such candidates as well as some fun facts about their time at UGA.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Candidate for Governor
From his time in the state Senate to his current role as Secretary of State, Sec. Brian Kemp has long been a speck of red in the sea of blue that is Athens-Clarke County. He grew up a fan of the Dawgs while attending Clarke Central High School then the University of Georgia, from where he graduated with a degree in agriculture in 1987. At UGA he was a member of Lambda Chi Fraternity chapter and is still actively involved in the university’s alumni association. During his private sector tenure, he ran a small business in the agriculture industry. Today he is a candidate for Governor running on the stance of making Georgia the foremost state in which to do small business, on taking a chainsaw to burdensome regulations, on fighting for representation of rural Georgia, on protecting the Second Amendment, and on defunding sanctuary cities.
President Pro Tempore of the Georgia State Senate David Shafer (Dist. 48), Candidate for Lieutenant Governor
David Shafer has been representing the 48th district since 2002, after winning there in a special election akin to the recent fiasco in the sixth. Professionally, he is a business owner and investor and has long been involved in the Gwinnett community. Outside of his involvement in the greater Atlanta area, Shafer served as the Executive Director of the State GOP. During his time at the University of Georgia, the President Pro Tempore was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and served as the President of the Interfraternity Council, the head student representative of male fraternities. Shafer’s leadership in the university, as is the mark of every great alumnus, did not end at graduation—today he serves on the Board of Directors of the National Alumni Association. David Shafer is running for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia in 2018 with a promise to cut state spending and capping the state’s income tax.
He tells ArchCon that his favorite class taken at UGA was Dr. Bullock’s “Southern Politics.”
Attorney General Chris Carr, Seeking Incumbency
Chris Carr was recently appointed to serve as Georgia’s top legal office, that of the Attorney General. Upon graduating from UGA’s Terry College of Business, he attended law school at UGA’s Lumpkin School of Law. His private sector resume consists of working for Georgia Pacific, practicing law with Alston & Bird LLP, and serving as Vice President of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. Carr left the private sector to become the Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson where he was then given the call to serve as the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development where $14.4 billion was invested in the state and 84,000 jobs were created and Georgia was recognized as the number one state in which to do business. Before the Attorney General considered the opportunities he earned to lead at a statewide level, he lead Theta Chi Fraternity and the University’s Interfraternity Council as President of each. Presently, Chris Carr is running to remain in the office of the Attorney General on the promise to continue fighting elderly abuse, combating opioid use through education, prevention, and prosecution, and beating back federal overreach and regulations.
Carr’s favorite football player is Hines Ward, who played while the Attorney General attended school. He says that he admired how dynamic he was in being able to play different positions.
Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Running for Re-Election
Gary Black has been serving as the Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of Georgia since his election in 2010. A neighbor to Athens, Commissioner Black resides in Commerce where he raises beef on his farm. A veteran of more than 30 years in the agriculture industry, Black received the knowledge necessary to perform his duties from within the historic walls of the Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences earning a degree in Agricultural Education. With UGA being the number three state in terms of agriculture, Black stays busy working to ensure that Ag business continues its investment in Georgia and that the existing Ag in the state has the necessary tools to be successful and produce for the country. Commissioner Gary Black is running for reelection in 2018 to continue leading prosperity for Georgia’s Agriculture industry.
Perhaps some among our classmates will, with effort and the benefits of a UGA education, be in similar places of significance come the next few decades. Perhaps we will even have an Arch Conservative Alumnus campaigning for office rather soon. We are sure to be in good hands if this trend continues.
— Ben Grayson is a junior studying risk management and insurance. He is a regular contributor to The Arch Conservative as well as the Chairman of the UGA College Republicans.