Nathan Deal, Inc. is facing a diversity crisis.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last week, Gov. Deal appoints mostly white male campaign donors to the state’s most powerful governing bodies.
These aren’t honorary positions, but posts with real power and influence over our lives and tax dollars.
The AJC added it up and found that these men pay back Deal in the form of campaign cash — $1.5 million from five families alone.
Gov. Deal isn’t the first politician to offer appointments to powerful and wealthy friends, but he’s taken the practice to an extreme. At Nathan Deal, Inc., pay-to-play seems to be the driving force behind who controls our commerce, natural resources, university system and more.
As a result, Georgia’s most powerful boards look like a 1950s country club instead of reflecting the cultural diversity of our state.
Women and people of color play a minor role, if they’re allowed on the governor’s team at all.
Nathan Deal’s Poor Diversity Record
In Gov. Deal’s first year on the job, his board appointments were 95 percent white and 70 percent men.
Over time, Nathan Deal’s appointments have continued to be out of balance with the richly diverse state he governs.
Today, Deal’s appointments to three key state boards are 84 percent white men. And many of those are his biggest donors.
Georgia’s population, however, is more than 40 percent African-American or Hispanic and 51 percent women, according to U.S. Census estimates.
It’s apparent that Gov. Deal isn’t even trying.
Or, if we believe his campaign team, maybe this is what it looks like when he does try to make diverse appointments.
Deal, Inc. responded to the AJC’s report by saying “diversity is one of the issues Deal considers when appointing board members.”
If that’s true, then Gov. Deal is failing spectacularly at finding qualified and talented women and minorities in a state of 9 million people.
This pay-for-play scheme may work for Deal’s political country club buddies but it’s not working for the rest of us.
And this report may finally explain why Gov. Deal honestly believes Georgia is at “the pinnacle” — that this is the best we can possibly do — even while the state’s unemployment ranking fell for three straight months to next-to-last in the nation — ahead of only Mississippi.
It’s time to shut down Deal, Inc. and send the governor’s pay-for-play enterprise back to Hall County.