News 12 at 6 o'clock, Wednesday, April 4, 2012
AUGUSTA,Ga -- We ran into Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Augusta mayor Deke Copenhaver having lunch at the Augusta National clubhouse. The two leaders talked jobs and the future of Georgia Health Sciences University.
Patrons were snapping pictures near the clubhouse. You never know who you might see. We found Arnold Palmer having a bite to eat and Gary Player shaking hands with passersby. We snagged an interview with Gov. Nathan Deal.
"I'm great," said Gov. Deal. "What a beautiful day here at the Masters."
Mayor Deke Copenhaver invited the governor to grab lunch at the Augusta National clubhouse.
"It's my way of saying thank you," said Mayor Copenhaver. "He has Augusta on his radar screen."
The governor had lunch with the mayor and then flew back to Atlanta to welcome members of the annual Red Carpet tour. More than 30 CEOs will head to Augusta National Thursday.
"These are potential new investors in the state of Georgia," said Gov. Deal. "That's what the red carpet tour is all about."
The mayor and the governor teed up job conversations and the recent plans to transfer the 17 acre Golf and Gardens property to the soon to be merged Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University.
"17 acres is a lot of land," said Mayor Copenhaver. "I think it would be great to have a public park, University Park perhaps, on the riverfront."
There is only one way to describe the two leader's relationship.
"Extremely strong," said Copenhaver. "Gov. Deal has a vision for the city of Augusta."
Augusta is well-known for the Masters. The governor also wants the city to be known for public health research.
"Georgia deserves a top 50 medical school in the country...a public medical school," said Deal. "Emory is already in that rank as a private facility, but we need a public school that does that. GHSU is the place for it to be."