ATLANTA — Connie Stokes and Casey Cagle served together for years in the Senate before he won election as its presiding officer and she made a try for Congress and later got elected to the DeKalb County Commission.
Now the two are on the same ballot for lieutenant governor.

Cagle is seeking his third term after getting past some rocky times when his fellow Republicans stripped him of much of his authority. Complaints of heavy-handedness led them to take for themselves the power to appoint committees and assign legislation to them, leaving him just presiding.

That arrangement triggered problems when responsibility was too splinted, and the GOP majority eventually restored most of his traditional powers.

He doesn’t like to talk about it.

“Rehashing the past isn’t productive, and I am confident that we will continue our cooperative, effective relationship with my colleagues in the state Senate,” he said.

Should Stokes win, she can expect the same experience since Republicans are certain to control the Senate again, and it’s the tactic they used the last time a Democrat was lieutenant governor and they had the majority.

Stokes isn’t worried about that or with having to work with a governor of a different party.

“The constitution gives me power as lieutenant governor to be president of the Senate which is a leadership position,” she said, adding that she’s assured she can reason with people who disagree with her.

Of course, Cagle could find himself playing second fiddle to a Democratic governor if Jason Carter wins, but that is a possibility he didn’t want to discuss either.

“I am confident Governor Deal will be successful and don’t see engaging in hypotheticals to be productive,” he said.

During his time in office, Cagle has poured his energy primarily into two projects. One is a pool of taxpayer funds and venture-capital cash that will be invested in start-up companies as a way to eventually stimulate job creation.

The second is a growing network of high schools called career academies that offer technical skills and some college courses. He wants to have more of them across the state.

“Furthermore, I am committed to expanding our efforts to ensure our students have the skills they need to compete in the 21st Century global economy by launching a world-class apprenticeship program that exposes children to the experience and skills needed to get a job,” he said.

Stokes, though, blames him for what she considers inadequate funding of public schools. She argues that enough waste can be cut to boost education funding.

“It’s budgetary,” she said. “We want to make sure that we have no debt in education.”

An additional priority of hers is the expansion of Medicaid by using financial incentives in the federal Affordable Care Act. Although Republicans say state taxpayers can’t afford it, according to her, expansion would actually boost the economy and create healthcare jobs while extending benefits to more people.

Her other goals are ensuring more women are appointed to state boards and that women and men earn equal pay.

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