Taylor unveils campaign plans.
Thursday night, Georgia Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor layed out his game plans for a major Democratic comeback in the 2006 state elections.
Taylor [said] education and employment opportunities were the main points in his blueprint for regaining control of state government.
Maintaining and strengthening the HOPE scholarship — a lottery-funded scholarship program benefitting some 800,000 families — is one of Taylor’s chief concerns. “Think about that — a program that says to every high school graduate with a B average, ‘Education is available to you, at no cost to you, or the taxpayer,’” Taylor said.
“Georgia is the only state in the nation with the HOPE scholarship program. We’re the only state in the nation with a four-year-old pre-kindergarten program,” he said. “Over a million Georgia families have benefitted from these programs, which I have sponsored and I have defended throughout my public service career.”
Taylor said benefits from the HOPE scholarship are steadily dwindling, leaving deserving students with inadequate tuition funds. “Today’s HOPE scholars are receiving a smaller check than last year’s HOPE scholars, even though there is more money in the Hope scholarship program today than there was last year,” he said.
“Those checks are smaller because our governor does not support the HOPE scholarship with all of his heart,” Taylor said. “If had been left up to Sonny Perdue in 1992, there would have been no HOPE scholarship program. There would have been no pre-kindergarten program. He could not capture the vision.”
Taylor blamed Perdue for a 30 percent tuition hike experienced by most Georgia colleges and universities over the last three years. He called the increase a tax on students and working families, which ultimately hurts Georgia’s workforce.
Taylor spoke out against a bill that would require voters to show state-issued identification at the polls and in favor of a better laws concerning DNA evidence in criminal cases. He also proposed more financial support for the families of Georgia soldiers deployed overseas.
Following his speech, Taylor said he was optimistic about the state of the Democratic Party gearing up for the 2006 elections.
“I think our party is in great shape. We simply have to focus on good candidates, and running good, disciplined campaigns,” he said.
“We need to focus on the important issues of schools, public safety and good jobs,” Taylor said. “We stay focused on those issues, we win elections.”