Former Gov. Roy Barnes told a Metro Chamber of Commerce crowd this morning that the state needs to improve schools and infrastructure to attract companies to Georgia.
But maybe most importantly, the state needs to improve its image, he said.
“I will keep you off the front page of the New York Times,” said Barnes, who is running for re-election.
Barnes said Georgia has, in recent years, made news for legislation making it illegal to put microchips into people, allowing Georgians to keep and eat road kill and limiting stem cell research.
“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life that we’re not going to do stem cell research,” Barnes said.
The former governor said businesses that Georgia seeks to attract must currently worry about whether there will be enough water, whether transportation problems will be fixed, and whether the state will continue furloughing teachers.
Another Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Thurbert Baker, told metro chamber members much the same thing.
“In some cases we’re sending the wrong message,” Baker said. “We’ve got to give them (businesses) reasons to be here.”
Baker said the state needs to “stay away from all this crazy stuff that sends a bad message.”
Barnes has a new ad out in which he criticizes some of the priorities of the Republican majority at the statehouse.
“We can’t bring jobs to Georgia with the rest of the country laughing at us,” he says in the ad.
Metro Chamber of Commerce members met with three Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls: Barnes, Baker and House Minority Leader DuBose Porter. The chamber had a similar get-together with Republican gubernatorial candidates earlier in the month.