GEORGETOWN, GA. (WRBL) – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp made a trip to rural Georgia on Tuesday to take a tour of a D&J Plastics in Quitman County.
Gov. Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp arrived in the morning, following visits to LaGrange and Columbus on Monday. D&J Plastics is a family owned and operated company that manufactures plastic fishing lure used by recreational and professional anglers worldwide. Gov. Kemp commended workers for their hard work in creating Georgia-made products.
“I’ve known about this plant and what they do… it’s unreal how they’ve grown during COVID which I think is a testament to us keeping Georgia open even during the pandemic and fighting to protect lives and livelihoods,” Kemp said. “This is what it’s all about. If this plant was shut down by the government for reasons during COVID, they couldn’t be selling and couldn’t be providing opportunities for these hardworking Georgians here.”
Kemp cited his personal experience with small business as something that helped guide his decisions to protect the livelihood of small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Marty and I have been small business people for 35 years, still am. So I know what it’s like if you couldn’t pay [your employees]…. They’re not being able to make their truck payment or car payment, they’re not paying their rent, they’re not being able to provide food and medicine and housing for their families. I know that wears on you as a business owner, but it also wears on you if you’re an employee of that company. I just felt like that’s what we had to fight for.”
Kemp explained why he thought it was important for businesses to have a choice during the pandemic.
“We didn’t force people to open,” Kemp said. “We just gave them the opportunity to do so, so they could take care of their employees and continue to make it and survive through a global pandemic.”
Gov. Kemp ran for office on the promise of strengthening rural communities and he says it is important for him to see what drives Georgia’s economy in all parts of the state.
“Creating more economic opportunity and prosperity in rural Georgia… We’ve been doing that,” Kemp said. “We have a great story to tell with the record levels of investment we’ve had, new jobs that we’re creating (the majority of them outside the metro Atlanta area) so I know how important that is for people in Southwest Georgia.”
Gov. Kemp additionally spoke with D&J Plastics founder Dennis Montgomery about some of the issues businesses face in rural Georgia.
“They had to pay $80,000 to run high speed fiber at this business so they could continue to grow and thrive,” Kemp said. Rural broadband is a real issue and I understand that. We’ve done a lot in 2.5 years to address that, many many projects in over 50 counties… bringing high speed fiber to over 300,000 Georgians. We’re going to do more of that in the future. That’s one of the reasons I’m running again, because I understand those issues. I’ve been fighting hard for those issues and I’m going to continue to do that.”
The incumbent Republican governor is seeking re-election in 2022. In May 2021, the “Kemp for Governor” campaign officially rolled out its network of grassroots leaders across the Peach State, with plans of keeping the gubernatorial seat.