Kemp begins second term with promises to invest in schools, public safety

Georgia's 83rd governor Brian Kemp begins second term in office after winning the 2022 election by a larger margin than he did in 2018. He oversaw the oaths of other constitutional officers on the Georgia State University campus. 

The ceremony started with a prayer service at The Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta and ended as the officials took their oaths of office at Georgia State University Convocation Center in southeast Atlanta.

The Republican plans to use his inaugural address to propose further pay raises for state employees and public school teachers, although the exact amount won’t be unveiled until he speaks.

Kemp's remarks focused on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, tactics to fight violence crime and attracting businesses during his first term. He teased a budget that invests in schools and public safety, cuts taxes and returns cash to taxpayers in the form of rebates and relief payments.

"None of us could have imagined the immense challenges our state would overcome," Kemp said.

Kemp also seeks to fulfill campaign promises to deliver another $1 billion of income tax refunds and a $1 billion property tax rebate. He plans to use Georgia’s $6.6 billion in surplus cash to pay for those givebacks, as well as refill the state’s roadbuilding coffers after suspending gas tax collections for 10 months.

"Over the next four years we're going to focus on growing Georgia, not growing government," Kemp said Thursday.

The 59-year-old Kemp begins his second term atop Georgia’s political world. He rode his stewardship of the economy to a big win over Democrat Stacey Abrams, even though Abrams again outspent Kemp.

With a new House speaker and lieutenant governor, Kemp is unlikely to be challenged by the GOP-led legislature.

Georgia's Constitutional Officers (From top left to right: Brian Kemp, Burt Jones, Brad hRaffensperger, Tyler Harper) (Bottom left to right: Bruce Thompson, John King, Chris Carr, Richard Woods) (FOX 5 Atlanta)

The Road to Re-election for Gov. Kemp

Political commentators say this most recent campaign was a personal one for Gov. Kemp after narrowly beating his democratic challenger Stacey Abrams for the second time in a row, and pushing past personal attacks from former President Donald Trump.

For Kemp, the journey to becoming governor had been a slow, but steady one. He started as a multi-businessman, secured a position as state senator in 2002, climbed the ranks to become Secretary of State in 2010 and earned his re-election in 2014. Despite a controversial second term, he proceeded to hit the big leagues with his first run for governor in 2018.

In his first term as governor, Kemp punched his own ticket taking bold stances against abortion rights, the Affordable Care Act, COVID-19 mask mandates and stay-at-home orders.

Many thought Trump had given Kemp the kiss of death after appointing Kelly Loeffler to the senate--ignoring the former president's pick for the office--and again when Kemp certified Georgia's 2020 election results, refusing to help overturn them in Trump's favor.

"It looks like the reports of my political death have been greatly exaggerated," Kemp announced to a crowd at his election night party at the Coca-Cola Roxy in Cobb County.

KENNESAW, GEORGIA - MAY 23: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) stands with former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at a campaign event at the Cobb County International Airport on May 23, 2022 in Kennesaw, Georgia. Kemp is running for reelection against former (Getty Images)

Instead, he was backed by former Vice President Mike Pence and won with an almost-300,000 vote lead, according to the Associated Press. He seemingly proved to work in no one's shadow.


"I can't tell you how honored I am to be your governor for the next four years. You have honored us beyond measure with your vote, with your support, with your time and with your resources. Most importantly though, you have honored us with your prayers and our whole family is grateful for that," Kemp said election night. "As you all know, there were a lot of people in high places who thought tonight's victory would never happen. But like so many times before, you all and Team Kemp proved them wrong."

For now, his second-term agenda remains pretty low-key: income tax and property tax rebates, some criminal justice measures and minor education changes. As FOX 5 previously reported, his biggest promise seems to be continuity. He wants to add another four years to the 20 year-long Republican rule in Georgia.

How Burt Jones secured his position as Lieutenant Governor

Georgia Sen. Burt Jones, a candidate for Lt. Gov. at his Election night headquarters on Nov. 8, 2022.

Georgia Sen. Burt Jones, a candidate for Lt. Gov. at his Election night headquarters on Nov. 8, 2022. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

Burt Jones' run for Lieutenant Governor began in August 2021 when the previous Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan announced he would not be seeking a second term. At the beginning of the year, Duncan stripped the Georgia-bred, professional sportsman of his position in the Georgia Senate.

Jones had been outspoken about his doubt in Biden's victory during the 2020 presidential election. He signed his name on a petition calling on the Georgia General Assembly and Gov. Kemp to overturn the state's results. It was one of the reasons his Lt. Gov. challenger, Democrat Charlie Bailey, told FOX 5 he was not fit for the job.

Still, Jones pressed forward with an endorsement from Trump.

He defeated republican Butch Miller in the primaries, securing his candidacy on the ticket in the general election. He then pushed past Bailey with 51.4% of the vote. Bailey only pulled 46.4%.


Who else is being sworn in on Georgia's Inauguration Day?

Six other executive state positions were up for election in 2022. Here are the following offices that will be included in the ceremony:

  • Attorney General: Chris Carr (R) (re-elected)
  • Commissioner of Agriculture: Tyler Harper (R)
  • Commissioner of Labor: Bruce Thompson (R)
  • Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner: John King (R) (re-elected)
  • Secretary of State: Brad Raffensperger (R) (re-elected)
  • Georgia State Superintendent of Schools: Richard Woods (R) (re-elected)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.