Former Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal endorses State Rep. Kevin Tanner in run for congress

Kevin Tanner and family pose with former Governor Nathan Deal after Tanner announced his candidacy for U.S. Congress. Deal offered his endorsement of the Dawson County resident because of his track record and effectiveness.

Former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal headlined a campaign kick-off event in Gainesville for State Rep. Kevin Tanner’s campaign for Congress March 4. At the event, Governor Deal endorsed Tanner (R-Dawsonville) for Georgia’s 9th Congressional district seat. The two share a long history together, personally and professionally. Tanner was a member of the Dawson County Steering Committee for former Governor Nathan Deal’s campaign. Throwing his support behind Tanner, Deal added another chapter to the relationship.

“Kevin is very special to my family and me. I first met Kevin when he was serving as deputy sheriff in Dawson County,” Deal said. “Later in his career he was elected to the State House where he played a vital role in helping with my agenda to move Georgia forward.”

Deal continued to be impressed with the legislator’s work under the Gold Dome. “With everything from dealing with issues like the opioid crisis, transportation, and criminal justice to cutting income taxes and supporting efforts to make and keep Georgia the number one state to do business, I could always rely on Kevin to be effective.”

Tanner’s track record and effectiveness make him the right candidate for the seat, Deal said. “Now Kevin is running to continue his service,” Deal said. “Running for Congress is a high calling but the atmosphere in Washington has gotten a lot worse since I was there.”

Strong character and determination were just two of Tanner’s characteristics that Deal highlighted as qualifications for the Washington, D.C. position. “It really takes someone with a lot of courage to be able to stand up and do the right thing. Kevin will be one of those people,” Deal said. “He will be one of those leaders in Congress that we can count on to take the lead and get the job done. I am pleased to endorse Kevin Tanner to be the next Congressman for Georgia’s 9th District.”

Surrounded by family and throngs of supporters, a humble Tanner shared his remarks about Deal’s endorsement. “I am honored to have the support of Governor Deal for my campaign. He has been a strong leader for Georgia, and I was proud to work with him to advance his agenda to move Georgia forward,” Tanner said. “Now, I am ready to continue the 9th district’s legacy of conservative leadership like that of Governor Deal. In Congress, I will continue my record of fighting to protect our North Georgia families and values.”

The decision to run was something Tanner considered for a while, he said and make the choice after prayer and discussion. “I have spent the last several days praying about the decision and talking it over with my family,” Tanner said. “I have truly enjoyed serving in the State House, but I feel the call to try to make a difference at the national level.”

In a statement that accompanied the announcement, Tanner highlighted his background in both public service and law enforcement. He added that he would continue to represent his “unapologetically conservative” values in congress. “I am ready to continue our district's 27-year history of having conservative leadership in Congress,” he said. “I am ready for the fight to stop the radical left and work alongside President Trump to protect the conservative values that make North Georgia and all of America great.”

Tanner also voiced his appreciation for the Dawson County community and said that it has been an honor to serve local citizens for so many years. "I've had the pleasure of working and serving the citizens of Dawson County for 30 years now in various roles from law enforcement to county manager to their state representative,” he said. “I'm proud of where I come from, I love the community that I've been blessed to grow up in and to live in and I look forward to having the opportunity to continue to serve them at a different level."

Tanner has a long and dedicated 27-year history of public service. His career began with Dawson County as a volunteer fireman in 1989. He then worked for the Dawson Sheriff’s Office in 1990 where he served in many positions. Tanner previously served as Dawson County manager before his four terms as Georgia’s District 9 Representative. Currently he represents an area that includes portions of Lumpkin, Dawson and Forsyth counties.

Tanner was recognized in 2011 as the Appointed Official of the Year by Georgia’s Association of County Commissioners. In 2007, Georgia Trend Magazine named Kevin one of Georgia’s “40 Under 40.” He has also been recognized as one of Dawson County's Citizens of the Year. A successful small business owner of a security company, Tanner provides armed and unarmed security guard services to various clients. He also owns Tanco Investments, LLC, a company with residential and commercial rental properties in several counties in North Georgia. Tanner is a licensed light commercial contractor and primarily builds residential homes.

The North Georgia College and State University (now University of North Georgia) alum has been heavily involved in community and civic activities in the North Georgia area for many years. He served as the past vice chairman of the board of trustees for Chestatee Regional Hospital in Dahlonega and as a past member of the Rainbow Children’s Home board in Dahlonega.

Tanner also served as the previous chairman and now serves as the vice chairman of the board of trustees of Lanier Technical College. He is a member and past president of the Dawson County Rotary Club and past assistant district governor for Dawson, Lumpkin and White counties. Tanner is a member of the Dawson and Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Dawson and Lumpkin county Republican parties, having served six years as the chairman and vice chairman of the Dawson County Republican Party. He was a former Dawson County Chamber of Commerce board member. Tanner is also a member of the advisory board for the Brain Injury Association of Georgia.

He currently serves as the chairman of the House Transportation Committee and has been a member of several other committees in the House, including Appropriations, Education, Special Rules, Natural Resources and Intergovernmental Coordination committees. In 2019, he was appointed to serve as the co-chair of the joint Georgia Commission on Freight & Logistics. He has previously served as chairman of the House Commission on Transit Governance & Funding and has served on several special study committees, including chairman of the House Unmanned Aircraft Study Committee. Kevin is a current member of the executive board of the Northeast Georgia Boy Scout Council and was appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as the 9th congressional district representative on the State Board of Corrections.

Tanner has an impressive list of legislation to his credit. During his first term, he authored legislation that lead to the successful passage of a constitutional amendment relating to brain and spinal injuries. He also worked to create a mental health study committee to begin addressing this critical issue in our state. Additionally, he authored and passed legislation that made it a crime to commit the offense of revenge pornography. During his legislative career, he authored legislation that reformed and increased the level of transparency at the Georgia Parole Board and legislation to create an incentive for employers to assist their employees in obtaining a GED. He also passed legislation that ensures that municipal court judges are able to carry out their duties without political interference and legislation to ensure that local schools involve parents in the adoption of curriculum and textbooks used in schools. Tanner has authored legislation that was signed into law to address the opioid epidemic facing our state and has also authored a major education reform bill designed to help low-performing schools. In doing so, he was able to build a coalition of support from members of both the Democrat and Republican parties and the education community.

A committed family man, Kevin has been married to the former Stacie Pickering for more than 20 years. Stacie is a first-grade public school teacher, and they are the proud parents of three beautiful daughters, Kaitlyn, Abbie and Chloe. All three of their daughters attend public school. Tanner serves as a deacon and adult Sunday school teacher at Bethel Baptist Church, where his family has attended church for seven generations.

Georgia’s 9th Congressional district includes all of Banks, Dawson, Elbert, Fannin, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union and White counties and parts of Clarke, Forsyth and Pickens counties. The 9th Congressional district seat has been held by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) since 2013. 

Collins will face U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler later this year. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler in 2019 following the retirement of former U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson.