Jason Carter on his new job, his political future – and Mark Richt

State Sen. Jason Carter, the Democratic candidate for governor. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

State Sen. Jason Carter, the one-timeDemocratic candidate for governor. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

Jason Carter was back in a familiar setting on Wednesday – shaking hands, gabbing with the media and addressing the cameras.

The one-time Democratic gubernatorial candidate was at the Atlanta Press Club to speak about his role as the new chair of the Carter Center, the Atlanta-based humanitarian outfit founded by his grandfather, ex-President Jimmy Carter.

He took the job after the elder Carter announced in August melanoma cancer had spread to his brain, forcing him to take a giant step back from his day-to-day duties.

“There’s been no evidence of that at all,” said the grandson, who added that the 91-year-old was doing well physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The younger Carter has plunged into his new role.

He recently returned from a trip to Myanmar, where Carter Center staffers deployed to monitor the Southeast Asian nation’s historic parliamentary elections. And he said the center’s scientists are closer than ever to the eradication of guinea worm – long a top goal for the organization.

He predicted Carter Center scientists would pick several new diseases to target in the coming years – he said there were eight or nine on the watch list – and that the center would also expand its global programs for women and transparency initiatives.

“One issue that the Carter Center has never tackled before is access to energy. But part of Jimmy Carter’s greatest legacy in the White House was the way he tackled energy policy,” he added. “It may be that we can look at those types of issues.”

As for his political future, the former state senator stuck to the same line he has since he was defeated by Gov. Nathan Deal more than a year ago: He hasn’t made up his mind, but he’s in no rush.

He did, however, nod to the report Tuesday that some Georgia Republicans are trying to recruit outgoing coach Mark Richt to run for office.

“I am considering a run for governor at least as much as Mark Richt is,” he said.


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