Georgia Gov. Deal gives final State of the State address

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Georgia Governor Nathan Deal delivered his eighth and final State of the State address Thursday at the State Capitol/Evan Watson (WGXA)

ATLANTA, Ga -- Georgia Governor Nathan Deal delivered his eighth and final State of the State address Thursday at the State Capitol.

He looked back at the challenges and all that was accomplished during his tenure, saying, "I consider the plans we have set into motion will carry us well into the next decade and beyond."

Representative Allen Peake (R) of Macon agreed that Georgia is in a positive spot to continue moving forward in the coming years.

Peake said, “I think it was important that he challenged us to build off what we have done. And that’s important for future legislatures and legislators, we don’t need to settle where we are now. We are in a great spot as a state in the economic standpoint we need to continue to grow and build for the future as well."

Much of Deal's address focused on education, the HOPE scholarship and lawmakers saving it. He also spoke on higher education and new programs that were developed.

"Such an importance of early education and the new Georgia College program is evidence of that," Deal said, before becoming choked up about Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal's positive impact.

Representative James Beverly (D) of Macon, offered some ideas on what Georgia can work on in the future, both praising the Governor's work and noting things that he believes can be changed.

“And you can't talk about HOPE when you leave one in four kids in Georgia in poverty. We have to talk about that stuff. So, although the Governor did a tremendous job with the wealth, there’s a wealth gap in this country and there’s one in Georgia we need to address. Because even though the rising tide they say raises all boats, some of those boats are being sunk by that tide and that’s something we need to address," he said.

Gov. Deal also became emotional talking about trees planted for a future generation. He said there has been 80 percent economic development outside of the metro Atlanta area.

“That is who we have planted these trees for: our children and grandchildren," Deal said. "They are who we must call to mind with every bill presented, with every vote cast and with every campaign announcement. Will our actions help or hinder those who come after us?”

Near the end of his address, Deal proudly said the state of Georgia is "not just strong, it is exceptional!"

Deal's State of the State address can be read in full here.