Albany - The longest serving State Speaker of the House in America has died. Those who knew and worked directly with Tom Murphy say Georgia has lost a great leader. Tommy Chambless was a State Representative for 16 years under Murphy's leadership. He says while Murphy ruled with an Iron Fist, his public image as a bulldog was often mis-portrayed.
He said, "When people say he thought the floor of the house of Representatives was hallowed ground, that's true, because he believed it was there that what's government is all about came together."
Ed Lightsey covered Murphy for 10 years as a journalist and later went to work for him as an administrative assistant. "His first concern was always with the poor," said Lightsey, "The disadvantaged, the elderly, those people who couldn't fight their battles alone and he was their champion. Whether in the courtroom or on the floor of the house, he was their champion."
Serving 28 years as the Speaker of the Georgia House, Murphy is the longest serving speaker in the country.