Release: Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Georgia Legislators Target Deal’s Unrepresentative Appointments to Top Boards
Atlanta, GA – Today, prominent women and African American legislators assailed Gov. Nathan Deal’s appointments of wealthy campaign contributors to the state’s most powerful boards. The governor defended the appointments—the vast majority of whom are wealthy white men—by saying he wants to appoint people who he has “confidence” in and who think the way he thinks.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last week that more than four-fifths of members of the state’s most powerful three boards—the Board of Regents, Georgia Ports Authority and Board of Natural Resources—have contributed nearly $1.3 million to Deal’s campaign and political action committee. Of the 51 positions, 43 are held by white men while only five are women and one is an African American.
Responding to the report, Deal told WSB and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Any governor appoints people who think the way he thinks, who are going to carry out policies that he believes are important in board settings. Some of these boards are very important boards. They do help set the direction and course of our state. I don’t want to appoint somebody that I don’t know, or I don’t have any confidence that they won’t have the same general point of view.”
Democratic leaders responded:
“Women make up over half the electorate, vote more consistently than men, and yet women account for less than 10 percent of Nathan Deal’s appointments to the state’s top three boards. That’s just wrong,” said State Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler, House District 91, Chair of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus.
“The numbers speak for themselves. 94 percent of Governor Deal’s appointments to the state’s top boards are white and 90 percent are men. That doesn’t look like Georgia,” said State Rep. Virgil Fludd, House District 64, Chair of the House Democratic Caucus
“Governor Deal said he does not appoint anyone he does not know or have confidence in. Based on his record of appointments, one can conclude that he either does not know or does not have confidence in woman or African Americans and for any appointments remaining during his time in office I would be happy to introduce him to both!” said State Rep. Roger Bruce, House District 61
“Nathan Deal clearly hasn’t demonstrated that he values diversity in his board appointments. It seems to me that if you don’t fit a certain demographic, then don’t expect to have a representative voice at those highest levels of state government,” said State Rep. Howard Mosby, House District 83
In contrast, Sen. Jason Carter has promised to release donor information and any conflicts of interest of any appointments he would make as governor.