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GA Secretary of State Kicks Off IPN Saffron Speaker Series
BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
“It is a great way for me to celebrate the Asian Heritage Month” said Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp addressing members of the Indian Professionals Network (IPN) on May 10th at the Ashiana Indian Restaurant in Global Mall, Norcross. Sponsored by the Saffron group, the event marked the launch of Saffron Speaker Series, a new program designed to connect state leaders with Georgia’s growing Indo-American business community.
Founder of IPN, Dr. Narsi Narasimhan talked about the inception of the organization and its revival, thanking all its supporters and Ritesh Desai of Saffron Group. "The Saffron Speaker Series is a long overdue opportunity to bring the State's true influencers together with leaders from the Indian-American business community to facilitate better relationships and dialogue," Desai said. "It's gratifying to see that happening."
Describing Kemp as a man of integrity and great leadership qualities, Saffron Partner, Craig Lesser introduced Brian Kemp to the gathering. True to the description, Brian Kemp seemed very down to earth, approachable and forthcoming with his answers. Speaking about his own humble beginnings, Kemp said he understood the need to advocate the importance of small business and existing business owners. "Sometimes we forget about the people who are already here, who are ready and want to expand their business in our state."
About his position as Secretary of State, he said he wanted to make the government more efficient and simple. He stated that he understood the significance of technology in streamlining processes. The newly designed website he said would improve efficiency by allowing corporations to renew, or file online. He also talked about reducing red tape, for which a link marked “Cut the Red Tape” is provided on the Georgia Secretary of state website.
Asked about the potential effects on business stemming from immigration bill HB 87, which Governor Deal has now signed into law, the Secretary downplayed the impact. "It's a tough issue. Because the federal government has not addressed immigration, citizens are calling on their representatives in districts around the state to deal with it, and that’'s what’s happening."
Noting that as Secretary of State he did not have a vote on the matter, Kemp said he thought the bill represented a balanced approach. "Everyone in Georgia and in the legislature recognizes we operate in a global economy, and we need to treat it that way. But we also have to recognize the downside of illegal immigration and how that drains services taxpayers are providing. Time will tell, but I don’t know that the repercussions will be quite as bad as portrayed. No matter what is said about the immigration bill, you can'’t say we are not competitive in Georgia from a business perspective."
Tax policies, infrastructure, higher education, a wonderful atmosphere to raise families Kemp replied were some of Georgia's key features when asked about the State's attraction to businesses, in his exclusive talk with the media.
Saffron, a public affairs consultancy formed earlier this year by former Georgia Commissioner of Economic Development Craig Lesser, community leader Ritesh Desai, and communications executive Brian Farley is sponsoring these networking events in cooperation with the Indian Professionals Network (IPN).