Nathan Deal

2017 Recipient
Georgia Governor

Nathan Deal was elected Georgia’s 82nd governor in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. After taking office in 2011, Governor Nathan Deal led Georgia to become the No. 1 state in the nation for business for four years in a row – a first in Georgia history – and helped create more than 575,000 private sector jobs. Over a six year period, Georgia’s job growth outpaced the national average while its population has jumped from 10th to 8th nationally.

Through tax reform, workforce development initiatives and investment in education and infrastructure, the state continues to grow local small businesses and attract top companies from around the world. During Governor Deal’s tenure, Georgia has become a global destination for companies in a wide range of industries. Under Deal’s leadership, Georgia has produced seven balanced budgets, saved millions of taxpayer dollars by maintaining Georgia’s AAA bond rating and grown the Rainy Day Reserve Fund to more than $2 billion.

In order to keep up with a growing infrastructure demand, Deal implemented a number of investments in Georgia’s transportation system. Deal worked with the General Assembly on the Transportation Funding Act of 2015, which included a number of significant infrastructure projects and will generate $10 billion in new transportation funding over 10 years. Transportation projects under Deal have alleviated traffic and improved safety for a growing state, including the completion of the Jimmy DeLoach Parkway extension near the Port of Savannah. Georgia’s infrastructure projects and transparency measures are currently being used as a model for other states across the nation.

Georgia also leads the nation in criminal justice reform. When Deal took office, Georgia was in the midst of a criminal justice crisis, with high incarceration costs and recidivism rates. To address these issues, Deal implemented a series of bipartisan reforms that have already paid dividends by saving taxpayers $264 million and reducing the need for 5,000 prison beds.

Deal believes that education reform is the best criminal justice reform and a strong education system leads to a strong economy. Deal has made investments in education a top priority to strengthen the workforce pipeline that runs from the classroom to the job market. As governor, he has devoted a higher percentage of the budget to k-12 funding than any governor in the past 50 years, worked closely with the General Assembly to save the HOPE Scholarship from bankruptcy, expanded the HOPE Grant for students attending technical colleges, and established the REACH Georgia Scholarship, a public-private partnership that provides scholarships to high-achieving students in underserved areas.

A Sandersville native, Deal served in the U.S. Army at Fort Gordon in Augusta after graduating with college and law degrees with honors from Mercer University. He then began a private law practice in Gainesville, the hometown of his wife, Sandra Deal. While his wife taught in Hall County public schools, Deal began a career in public service, working as a prosecutor, judge, state senator and U.S. Congressman for Georgia’s 9th District. He was elected Georgia’s 82nd governor in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. The Deals have four adult children and six grandchildren.

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