President Barack Obama and Gov. Nathan Deal don’t agree on many, many (many) policy debates, from expanding Medicaid to the divide over Syrian refugees. But the two found common ground over Deal’s passion project – a five-year overhaul of Georgia’s criminal justice system that got another revamp on Wednesday.
Obama used Georgia’s legislation, which diverts low-level offenders from costly prison beds, to spur Congress to enact its own package. It was a clear message to Republican Sen. David Perdue, who has raised concerns about the federal effort.
Here is Obama’s full statement:
“I applaud Georgia, and Governor Nathan Deal, for demonstrating that making our criminal justice system more fair is a bipartisan idea. Georgia’s latest reform bill touches on school discipline, correctional education for youth, the accuracy of criminal records, fees and fines, and occupational licensing. From the community to the cell block to the courtroom, this bill will both enhance justice and promote safety, serving as an example for the nation. I hope Georgia’s progress will encourage Congress to send me a significant criminal justice bill soon.”
Their personal relationship seems to have thawed in recent months, too. After a string of no-shows at Obama’s visits to Georgia, Deal met with the president in March 2015 when he trekked to Georgia Tech.