Georgia Republicans have a couple of major decisions to make in just under two weeks when they head to the polls for the runoff election on July 24.

From where we sit, those decisions are clear.

In the race for the nomination for lieutenant governor, state Sen. David Shaffer, R-Duluth, has set himself apart by championing more transparency in government and being a good steward of taxpayer money.

Shafer was instrumental recently in outfitting senate committee rooms with audio and video recording equipment. We decried the lack of recordings available to the public of these proceedings because, like many areas in the state, we cannot feasibly be at the capitol for discussions of local interest. Shaffer saw this as a problem as well and took a major step toward keeping the goings on of our state government open to everyone, regardless of how far away they are from Atlanta.

He also worked for years to institute a zero-based budgeting system that requires the General Assembly to balance the state’s finances each year. Along with that, his record of looking out for taxpayers extended to his support of lowering income taxes and capping the maximum rate.

Combine that with a conservative record on social issues and the endorsement of folks like Mack Mattingly, a former U.S. Senator and diplomat from the Golden Isles, and Shafer is the clear choice both this month and in November for lieutenant governor.

The man currently filling that role, Casey Cagle, is our choice to take over as Georgia’s next governor for some of the same reasons.

Cagle has a history of supporting open government as well, having backed measures to protect and expand public notices, open meetings and open records. Most recently, he supported making information about when wrong doing is determined by a member of the General Assembly in sexual harassment cases public.

He has also been a strong advocate of measures to promote economic development statewide, part of which has been unyielding support of technical education around the state. We have benefited from that locally. He has visited many times and feted the Golden Isles College and Career Academy and our local campus of Coastal Pines Technical College for their growth and dedication to developing the next generation of skilled workers for Georgia.

His conservative leadership during the last 11 years as the first Republican to be lieutenant governor has also provided him the experience and knowledge to continue the upward trend Georgia has been on Gov. Nathan Deal’s watch.

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