For the first time in eight years, Georgians will elect a new governor in 2018.

Seven Republicans and two Democrats are seeking to replace Gov. Nathan Deal, who cannot run for a third term. Between now and primary day May 22, 11Alive.com will be bringing you a series of Q&A’s with each candidate who answers our questionnaire.

These interviews are being published on the order in which they've been received. Beginning this series is current Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. You can learn more about Kemp at his campaign website.

Also, look for more extensive coverage of this race and others until Election Day, Nov. 6, as Georgia Votes 2018.

1. What is the No. 1 challenge facing the state?

Thanks to the failed leadership of career politicians in Washington, D.C., our borders are broken and dangerous criminal aliens are entering our state. Georgia is a distribution hub for the Mexican drug cartel, gangs like MS-13 are terrorizing our communities, and Georgia families are living in fear that their son or daughter could be the next victim.

I have a comprehensive plan to Track and Deport criminal aliens, stop and dismantle gangs, and make Georgia - our families, neighborhoods, communities, and schools - safe again.

2. If elected, how would you prioritize Atlanta’s needs compared to other cities and counties in Georgia?

As governor, I will work to ensure that ALL parts of our state have the opportunity to grow and thrive. In Atlanta, we will work to tackle traffic congestion, support economic development, and keep families safe from gangs and violence. In rural communities, we will expand access to High Speed Internet by incentivizing the private sector, recruit economic development projects of regional significance, and take Georgia Grown to the international stage.

However, there are countless initiatives and policies that are good for both Metro and rural parts of our state. By expanding inland ports, we can reduce traffic in Atlanta while giving farmers an easier way to get their products to consumers. We can spur innovation in ag-tech by connecting research institutions with the family farm. Finally, we can grow our multi-billion dollar tourism industry, which supports thousands of jobs throughout the state, by supporting agri-tourism in Georgia.

3. Thus far, you’ve made the issues of illegal immigration and abortion some of the central focuses of your campaign. If you’re elected, are you concerned that issues such as these will cause companies such as Amazon to think twice about looking at Georgia when considering future expansion?

Companies like Amazon will not relocate to Georgia if criminal aliens continue to flood the state with drugs, violence, and fear. Tackling the problems created by illegal immigration is key to growing Georgia's economy and maintaining our status at the #1 state for business.

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