By Kelsey Richardson
FCN regional staff
Over the past six months Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan has set his sights on making Georgia “the technology capital of the East Coast.”
During the University of North Georgia’s Regional Education and Economic Development Summit on Tuesday, Duncan spoke before community members about his focuses in Georgia.
The second annual event brought together economic development professionals, business and community leaders, state legislators and representatives, educators and students to showcase educational pathways and career opportunities in North Georgia.
Going forward with economic growth in the state, Duncan said people need to understand that every single business is a technology company.
Every business, whether Delta Airlines or Coca-Cola, revolves around technology.
To attract companies from outside of the region, Duncan said Georgia needs to operate on all cylinders in a kindergarten through 12th grade environment.
“To become the technology capital of the East Coast, we’ve got to continue to make great strides, especially around K-12,” Duncan said. “We need to make sure that kids and communities understand the importance of educating and creating that next generation of talents because we need to create an ecosystem much like the film industry.”
Duncan said he is proud of the General Assembly’s initiatives in giving teachers pay raises and finds it “a great step forward in prioritizing K-12.”
This past year, Duncan also spent a lot of time focusing on health care.
This year 22 health care bills were passed in the state with the intention of accomplishing two goals: more affordable health care in Georgia and better access to health care.
“There’s no way to economically develop, if you don’t have quality health care that’s within arm’s reach of your community,” Duncan said.
Through gathering statistics, Duncan said his staff have found that 70% of all global financial transactions pass through companies headquartered in Atlanta, and six out of 10 of the largest payment processing firms are headquartered in Georgia.
Although the state has experienced a great head start in cultivating a strong economy, Duncan said Georgia isn’t done yet.
One of the healthiest goals for the state, he said is to make it known globally.
“We want it to be so well known that Georgia is an incredible place to bring your ideas, to bring your investment dollars, to incubate it, to make it successful and then to be able to export that to the rest of the world,” Duncan said. “...Quite honestly, we’re headed in the right direction.”
Duncan’s plans for the state’s future are wrapped around technology and creating an environment that inspires people to stay in Georgia for a lifetime.
“Truly, Gov. Kemp and I work for 11 million Georgians — Democrats, Republicans, independents, everybody in between,” Duncan said. “We want them to believe exactly what we believe...Georgia’s best days are in front of us.”