Georgia House Speaker David Ralston dies at 68
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Georgia House Speaker David Ralston has died, according to a statement from the Speaker’s communications director.
He was 68.
The announcement comes shortly after Ralston stated earlier this month that he was stepping down as speaker of the house due to health challenges.
Burns will not officially become Speaker until the full House goes into session in January 2023.
Ralston, an attorney from Blue Ridge, did not attend Monday’s vote.
Ralston was elected to the House in 2002 after spending six years in the Senate during the 1990s. He ran for attorney general in 1998, losing to Democrat Thurbert Baker.
Highlights of Ralston’s time as a speaker include his backing of the largest state income tax cut in Georgia history, a $900 million transportation funding bill that has helped the state plug a backlog of infrastructure improvements and the first-ever paid parental leave policy for teachers and state employees.
Most recently, Ralston led the way this year to the passage of legislation overhauling Georgia’s mental healthcare system.
Georgia is made better by leaders like David Ralston.— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) November 16, 2022
I am praying for Speaker Ralston's family and his loved ones during this difficult time. May his example of leadership and civility endure through the lives he touched.
Today, our state lost one of its giants, our family lost a dear friend, and all Georgians lost a true leader. See my full statement below.— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) November 16, 2022
I have also ordered flags flown at half-staff in Speaker Ralston's honor and that he shall lie in state in the State Capitol. pic.twitter.com/3FTVT9kUa4
My deepest condolences to the family of @SpeakerRalston. He possessed a formidable mind, served as a thoughtful leader and was a dear true friend. Our politics differed, but David never allowed them to permanently divide. God’s peace to a great Georgian who will be missed. #gapol— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) November 16, 2022
David Ralston was an unbelievable leader. There was simply no one finer our state has ever seen. He was our Speaker — he helped guide Georgia through some tough times. He’s made our state a better, kinder place. And he’s made so many of us better human beings. (1/5) pic.twitter.com/aQ4VZIWNzP— Houston Gaines (@houstongaines) November 16, 2022
Speaker David Ralston was a true difference-maker for our state and a great supporter of VSU and all of higher education. He will most definitely be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Ralston and the entire Ralston family. pic.twitter.com/4aGYkfUkiH— Valdosta State University (@valdostastate) November 16, 2022
Julie and I are heartbroken to learn about the passing of Speaker David Ralston. Speaker Ralston cared deeply about Georgia, fought for what he believed and delivered. He accomplished so much and his impact will be felt for generations. We are praying for Sheree and his family.— Herschel Walker (@HerschelWalker) November 16, 2022
MARTA mourns the passing of Speaker David Ralston, a stalwart leader and public servant. Everyone in Georgia is better because of the life and service of David Ralston.— MARTA (@MARTAtransit) November 16, 2022
Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), 73rd Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, passed away today following an extended illness. He was 68 years old.— Kaleb McMichen (@KalebMcMichen) November 16, 2022
His loving wife, Sheree, and members of their family were with him when he passed. #gapol
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