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Governor candidate Barge details campaign vision

HOSCHTON — When John Barge launched his campaign website earlier this week, it was discovered that a key word was misspelled.

“Georgia’s next govenor” was at the top of the State School Superintendent’s campaign for governor website before it was quickly corrected. It’s the first hiccup of a campaign that officially began on Tuesday, but has also seen a spike in visits to the site and donations to the campaign, Barge told the Daily Post on a visit to Gwinnett on Wednesday.

Barge said the foundation of the campaign is focused on education, ethics and economic development.

“As a state, we have to have a vision for education, we have to invest in education because our young people are our future. We have to have an educated and skilled workforce,” Barge said. “That leads into economic development. Education and economic development are inextricably linked.”

Barge said the state hasn’t prepared students educationally for what business and industry needs.

“How is it that we have one of the worst unemployments in the country, we rank 43rd in the nation in unemployment, and we have thousands of unfilled jobs,” Barge said.

To address that, the Georgia Department of Education under Barge created a career pathway initiative that brought business and industry together to discuss curriculum and performance mesasures to prepare students for jobs.

While Gov. Nathan Deal and Barge are both conservative Republicans, and Barge said there will be issues they agree on, they have clear differences.

“I think the big difference is the support and belief in public education, and the need to have a cohesive vision to support public education,” Barge said. “I just don’t see that.”

Barge’s campaign focus also seems squarely focused on Deal, and not other candidates, such as Dalton Mayor David Pennington.

“I’m not even familiar with Pennington and his views on education,” he said. “I’m keeping my job during the day and doing this during the day, so I don’t have a whole lot of time to go out there and see what he’s doing.”