Letter to the Editor

Letters to Editor

The image of David Ralston his political detractors are trying to paint is absurd and far from reality.  It is a desperate attempt to smear the character of a fine public servant in the hopes of gaining a few votes for a losing campaign. David Ralston was the outsider elected Speaker whose leadership repaired the image of a legislative chamber badly tarnished by scandal into a functioning house committed to responsible legislation in service to Georgians.

David Ralston is truly a life-long Republican who spent most of his early political career in the minority. He was first elected to the state Senate in 1992 defeating an incumbent Republican who had switched parties. That was the same year, Sonny Perdue (D) was re-elected to the state Senate and Nathan Deal (D) was exiting that same chamber to win a seat in the U.S. Congress.  David was a pioneer for conservative principles and building the Republican Party in Georgia before our last two Governors had even joined the GOP.

When he was first elected to the state House, David was not a member of the “in crowd.” His predecessor stripped his political opponents of preferred committee assignments and challenged leaders of his own party to public fights. As a result, issues that needed immediate attention fell to the wayside as political theatrics took center stage.

David challenged the status quo and the Speaker at that time and lost. He paid a political price for his courage in challenging the powers that be. After all, that’s the way things had been done in Georgia for years. Political retribution had long been a common practice.

In 2010, David Ralston was nominated and elected Speaker by his colleagues on a promise to change the attitude of leadership and build a cooperative culture that would focus on respectful debate and putting the needs of Georgians over special interests. It was a promise he kept.

David Ralston could have chosen to follow the path of his predecessors. He could have sought retribution against those who had previously punished him. But, he didn’t. Instead he brought his fellow house members together and built upon a Republican majority.  Within months of David taking the helm of leadership several house members switched parties building the largest GOP majority in state history.  Many credited the improved climate implemented by Speaker Ralston as an impetus for the switch.

No individual has made a more positive impact on the political discourse in Georgia than David Ralston. His detractors would have us believe it is a result of his lack of commitment to conservative principles. They are wrong. It’s a result of his commitment to those very conservative principles.

For three decades, the people of the 7th District have trusted the leadership of David Ralston.  That sphere of trust in his leadership has expanded throughout all of Georgia. David Ralston has led numerous legislative achievements.  But no achievement has been more significant than the culture of cooperation now found in the House of Representatives.  For that, we are a better and stronger Georgia.

Hank Burnham

512 Randy Point Road

Athens, GA 30606

706-461-3141

[email protected]

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