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Oxendine speaks to Chamber, says he's ready to be governor

John Oxendine

John Oxendine

DULUTH — Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine told Gwinnett's business and civic and business leaders they shouldn't vote for him for governor just because he's from Gwinnett — although, he joked, that isn't a bad reason.

During a speech to the Chamber of Commerce's general membership Wednesday, the Duluth man said he is the only candidate with the administrative experience to tackle the job.

More than a dozen Republicans and Democrats are vying for the governor's job.

Oxendine said his 16 years of experience as insurance and fire safety commissioner set him above the rest of the crowd because he knows how to act as a state government executive.

"This is not a time for on-the-job training," he said. "We need somebody who can be governor from Day 1. ... It should be about getting the job done."

Two months away from a primary to decide whether or not he will be the GOP's nominee, Oxendine talked about his own experiences cutting government spending, since the state faces a fiscal crisis because of lower revenues. His office, he said, operates with 41 percent fewer employees than it did 15 years ago and because of a decision to implement a four-day work week, the offices are open until 7 p.m.

In terms of local issues, he said he supports the building of an east-west connector between Interstates 85 and 75, and he believes a proposal to privatize the Gwinnett County Airport has "great potential."