Nathan Deal’s rise to become the governor of Georgia is a story rich in Georgia history. Born in Millen to parents who were career educators, Governor Deal grew up in Sandersville. His father, a high school agriculture teacher, taught him to love the land and those who produce its food and fiber.
Gov. Deal attended Mercer University in Macon, where he earned his undergraduate and law degrees with honors. In college, he answered the call his country and begin preparing for his full-time service in the United States Army, where he earned the rank of captain.
It was on a blind date during college that he met Sandra Dunagan of Gainesville. Married 44 years, their family now includes their four children and six grandchildren.
Gov. Deal’s career includes 23 years in private law practice. His public service includes his work as a criminal prosecutor, a juvenile court judge, 12 years in the state Senate and 9 terms in the U.S. Congress.
His colleagues in the Senate elected him president pro tem, the highest-ranking senator. In Congress, he served as chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Health. He was known on Capitol Hill as an expert on healthcare issues and led the Republican fight against Obamacare. As a leader on immigration reform, he authored the law that required citizenship verification for health care benefits.
On May 1, 2009, he announced his bid for governor. He captured his party’s nomination in the August 10 runoff. On January 10, 2011, Nathan Deal was sworn-in as Georgia’s 82nd governor.