Deal has a busy first day as governor

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ATLANTA -- Much of state government may have enjoyed a snow day of relaxation Monday, but Gov. Nathan Deal was busy working shortly after being sworn into office.

He began putting his stamp on state government by swearing in a new member of the University System of Georgia's Board of Regents, Philip Wilheit Sr. of Gainesville. The board canceled its meeting today because of poor road conditions but plans to meet Wednesday.

Wilheit fills the remainder of Felton Jenkins' term.

Jenkins, an Atlanta lawyer who lived in Madison, died New Year's Day after a short battle with brain cancer.

Wilheit headed Deal's campaign and his transition. He is the president of a Gainesville packaging and marketing company.

Wilheit was the chief fundraiser for Deal's congressional and legislative campaigns for more than 28 years.

The new governor also tapped two other longtime politicos to head the Judicial Nominating Commission, Randy Evans and Pete Robinson. Evans, an Atlanta lawyer who's handled ethics cases for senior state and congressional Republicans, serves on the State Election Board.

Robinson, of Columbus, is also affiliated with a large Atlanta law firm. He served as Democratic leader in the state Senate during Deal's legislative career, and his firm has been hired to assist the state in redistricting.

Deal also extended a state of emergency issued by retiring Gov. Sonny Perdue because of wintry weather. The action paves the way for state emergency equipment to be used.

A second executive order continues a gift ban on executive agency heads originally imposed by Perdue when he came to office eight years ago.


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