Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
The Brunswick News on the Georgia-Florida college football rivalry game weekend:
It was another successful Georgia-Florida weekend in many ways for the Isles. The annual showdown between the two rivals in Jacksonville brought the usual thousands of Bulldog faithful to the Isles, providing an always-appreciated boost to our local economy. The final result on the scoreboard Saturday also went the Bulldogs' way, which always makes the weekend even more fun.
Best of all, though, was the fact that despite the crush of thousands of college-age kids packed into the so-called "Frat Beach" party on St. Simons Island's Coast Guard Beach on Friday, the revelers, for the most part, obeyed the laws.
Glynn County Police Chief John Powell said the overwhelming majority of fans partying on East Beach were compliant with alcohol laws and police directives. Powell estimated that the crowd was somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 people Friday on the beach.
Of course with that many people, there were bound to be some that didn't follow the rules. But outside of some alcohol-related offenses and a few other issues, the behavior of the students was within the law.
Credit for the lack of trouble should go to the various law enforcement agencies that patrolled the site to make sure there was no trouble, and whatever trouble that did arise was dealt with quickly. Glynn County Police were the most prominent, but county sheriff's deputies, state Department of Natural Resources officers, College of Coastal Georgia Police and Georgia State Patrol officers also provided assistance.
We know there are some in the community that feel the party has gotten out of hand, and we believe that was true a few years ago. But the past couple of years, county leaders have made a concerted effort to make sure to reel in the debauchery.
Thanks to our local law enforcement agencies, county fire department EMTs and other volunteers, the plan has worked.
Of course, getting that many people to pick up after themselves remains a challenge. Thankfully, we are lucky to have dozens of volunteers who help keep the beach clean during the festivities and even more who show up the day after to make sure all the trash that can be found is collected. Without the tireless work of Keep Golden Isles Beautiful and others, our beaches would be a trash heap.
So thank you those who scooped up thousands of pounds of trash to keep our beaches pristine and the dozens of law enforcement personnel who kept the peace. Thanks to your efforts, it was another safe and prosperous Georgia-Florida weekend.
Savannah Morning News on the topic of higher education in the governor's race:
Georgia's two candidates for governor, Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp, are campaigning on their visions for higher education. The issue is a complicated one, as state funding for colleges has dropped precipitously since the turn of the century and particularly since the Great Recession a decade ago.
Consider that in 2001, the average American public university student paid one-third of his or her costs. Today, he or she pays nearly all of it, with the cost of tuition, room, board and fees up by 60 percent to more than $20,000 a year.
Here in Georgia, the state's average annual education appropriation per student is $1,700 less today than it was before the recession. Multiply that by statewide enrollment of 450,000 students, and the financial burden that has been transferred to students and their families is more sobering...
Georgia's university and technical college systems have and continue to evolve. Consolidations have occurred across the state, including here locally with Georgia Southern University absorbing Armstrong State.
Affordability is the linchpin, though, especially for middle-class families. Neither candidate favors "free college for all," as liberal firebrand Bernie Sanders championed during his 2016 presidential run, although Abrams is a proponent of introducing a needs-based component to the popular HOPE scholarship program.
The Democrat has labeled her plan HOPE 2.0 and would allow those students whose household incomes fall below a certain income threshold to attend college tuition-free so long as they maintain a 2.0 grade-point average. She also favors making technical school free for any Georgia resident with a 2.0 GPA and establishing an apprenticeship program for those not interested in college.
Additionally, she has proposed "service cancelable" student loans by which debt balances are forgiven so long as graduates meet certain obligations.
Higher ed affordability hasn't been a particular focus of the Kemp campaign. He is a fierce protector of HOPE as a merit-based scholarship for students with a 3.0 GPA or better.
Kemp is also adamant that HOPE grants remain reserved for Georgians with American citizenship. His opponent, Abrams, has suggested awarding HOPE to the so-called "dreamers."
Kemp is a proponent of expanding the HOPE Career Grant that provides financial aid to those enrolled in majors that feed industries with a shortage of skilled workers. He also supports state schools partnering with industry to identify future needs and tailoring programs to meet those demands to connect Georgia companies with Georgia graduates.
On the loan forgiveness front, Kemp advocates for programs that incentivize primary care and OB-GYN physicians to work in rural Georgia counties.
Both candidates recognize the value of higher education to Georgia's workforce. Well-educated and trained graduates are an economic drive for the state. Our next governor must implement solutions to ensure our state institutions remain business magnets.
The Augusta Chronicle on the lieutenant governor's race:
The person who occupies the office of Georgia's lieutenant governor runs the state Senate, and assumes the powers of governor if the governor is unable to serve.
So it's reasonable that the person to serve in the state's second-highest office knows his or her way politically around the Capitol, and would be confident helping champion the progress already achieved over the past several terms by a majority-Republican General Assembly.
A person fitting that description will be on your ballot Nov. 6: Geoff Duncan.
After spending five years in the Georgia House, the businessman and entrepreneur started making his name better known around the state last year as a principled conservative dedicated to the mission of streamlining government; cutting red tape; and empowering both parents with better school choice and job creators to keep Georgia's economy moving upward.
That includes Augusta, Duncan told us Monday.
"Augusta is an important part of Georgia today, but it's an even bigger part of Georgia's future," he said. Amid Augusta's cyber boom he sees our area helping achieve Duncan's goal of the state becoming the "technology capital of the East Coast."
Duncan's Democratic opponent, Sarah Riggs Amico, pushes an unabashedly liberal agenda. Her resume could help suit her for public service, but right now it wouldn't be prudent for voters simply to hand over the No. 2 office in Georgia to a political newcomer in her very first campaign.
Seize on Georgia's forward momentum by voting for Geoff Duncan.