Rep. Andrew Clyde formally appeals fines incurred for refusing to abide by Capitol’s metal detectors

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Fines

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Andrew Clyde (GA-09) released the following statement regarding his appeal of fines incurred resulting from his refusal to abide by Speaker Pelosi’s unlawful placement of magnetometers outside the entrance to the Floor of the House of Representatives:

“Today, with the assistance of my private counsel, I appealed the fines I incurred as a result of my refusal to abide by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unconstitutional placement of magnetometers in front of the entrance to the Floor of the House of Representatives. Per House Resolution 73, which established this ridiculous break in Congressional precedent, I filed my appeal with the House Ethics Committee.

While my name formally appears on the documentation, I am filing this appeal symbolically on behalf of my constituents in the Ninth Congressional District of Georgia, because it is their vote that is being impeded by Speaker Pelosi’s egregious actions.

As I have said before, the installation of the magnetometers is part of the Democratic Party’s ongoing attempt to treat Republicans as a threat when no such threat exists. The ongoing militarization of Capitol Hill, including the placement of metal fencing, razor wire, and the deployment of National Guard troops, are also part of this perverse strategy. The Democratic Party’s motive in crafting this narrative is to silence us through fear and intimidation, with the ultimate goal being the creation of domestic terrorism legislation and a political litmus test for all elected officials, public servants, and members of the Armed Forces. Make no mistake, Democratic Party leaders would rid anyone who does not agree with their fringe ideology from public service and the political sphere if given the opportunity.

I look forward to continuing the appeal process, and I trust the Committee will review my case with the same fairness and due process they will surely afford the Speaker once her fine for allegedly breaking her own rule is processed.”

Feature image courtesy of the Associated Press.

Sen. Steve Gooch Assumes Additional Duties in State Senate

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ATLANTA (January 25, 2021) | Recently, Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega) received his committee assignments for the 2021 legislative session.

Sen. Gooch will serve as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Vice Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, and as a member of the Ethics, Finance, Reapportionment and Redistricting, and Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. Additionally, Sen. Gooch will serve as an Ex- Officio member of the Rules and Natural Resources and the Environment Committees.  Sen. Gooch will also continue to serve as the Senate Majority Whip.

“I am grateful for the Lt. Governor’s office and the Senate Committee on Assignments for allowing me to serve our community, as well as our state, through these committee appointments,” said Sen. Gooch. “This session will be unlike any other that we have experienced and will require careful, responsible leadership, particularly when it comes to our state budget. I am honored to have an opportunity to lend my experience to the service of our state through these committees, as well as through my role as the Senate Majority Whip.”

“Sen. Gooch, as well as all members receiving committee assignments, have proven their ability to provide meaningful solutions to issues citizens face across the state,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “Sen. Gooch brings a host of experience and knowledge to each committee he serves on and I look forward to continuing to work alongside him as he works tirelessly to advance policies in the best interest of all Georgians.”

The first session of the 156th Georgia General Assembly convened on January 11, 2021, at the Georgia State Capitol.

Pickens County Man Arrested for the Sexual Exploitation of Children

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sexual exploitation

Jasper, GA (February 8, 2021) – On Thursday, February 4, 2021, Pickens County resident, Danny Wright, age 57, was charged with one count of Sexual Exploitation of Children (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material) and three counts of Sexual Exploitation of Children (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material) by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes (CEACC) Unit. The GBI CEACC Unit began an investigation into Wright’s online activity after receiving a Cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding the possession and distribution of suspected child pornography by Wright via the internet. This investigation led to a search warrant at Wright’s home in Jasper, Georgia, and the arrest of Wright on February 4, 2021. The GBI was assisted in the execution of the search warrant by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. Evidence from the search warrant conducted on February 4, 2021, led to additional criminal charges against Wright on February 5, 2021. On February 5, 2021, Wright was charged with Child Molestation and Invasion of Privacy.

Wright is currently in custody at the Pickens County Jail.

This investigation is part of the ongoing effort by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, housed within the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, to identify those involved in the child pornography trade. The ICAC Program, created by the U.S. Department of Justice, was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims.

Anyone with information about other cases of child exploitation is asked to contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit at 404-270-8870. Tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS(8477), online at https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.

Pickens County Man Arrested for the Sexual Exploitation of Children

News, Press Release
sexual exploitation

Jasper, GA (February 8, 2021) – On Thursday, February 4, 2021, Pickens County resident, Danny Wright, age 57, was charged with one count of Sexual Exploitation of Children (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material) and three counts of Sexual Exploitation of Children (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material) by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes (CEACC) Unit. The GBI CEACC Unit began an investigation into Wright’s online activity after receiving a Cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding the possession and distribution of suspected child pornography by Wright via the internet. This investigation led to a search warrant at Wright’s home in Jasper, Georgia, and the arrest of Wright on February 4, 2021. The GBI was assisted in the execution of the search warrant by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. Evidence from the search warrant conducted on February 4, 2021, led to additional criminal charges against Wright on February 5, 2021. On February 5, 2021, Wright was charged with Child Molestation and Invasion of Privacy.

Wright is currently in custody at the Pickens County Jail.

This investigation is part of the ongoing effort by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, housed within the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, to identify those involved in the child pornography trade. The ICAC Program, created by the U.S. Department of Justice, was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims.

Anyone with information about other cases of child exploitation is asked to contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit at 404-270-8870. Tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS(8477), online at https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.

More Georgians to Become Eligible to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

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remdesivir covid-19 vaccine

Atlanta – Governor Brian Kemp and Commissioner Kathleen Toomey, M.D., M.P.H.,  announced plans to add adults aged 65 and older, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responders to the current group of individuals eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Healthcare workers and staff and residents of long-term care facilities are already in this highest priority group. The expanded administration of the vaccine is expected to begin within the next two weeks provided there is adequate vaccine supply available.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for prioritizing vaccination. States have the flexibility to tailor these recommendations based on their specific needs and available vaccine.

“Following the expert guidance of Dr. Toomey, the CDC, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Georgia will move to expand Phase 1a vaccination criteria within the next two weeks to include the elderly, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders – provided the state continues to receive adequate vaccine supplies,” said Governor Kemp. “We will continue to monitor the administration efforts of our public health workers and partners in the private sector, and the supply chain of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to ensure eligible Georgians are vaccinated without delay.”

“Different areas of the state are completing Phase 1a at different times based on the number of healthcare workers and LTCF residents and staff they have to vaccinate,” said Commissioner Toomey. “This expansion of 1a eligible vaccination criteria will allow vaccine to be administered as quickly as possible to our most at-risk populations in terms of exposure, transmission and severity. It also gives healthcare providers and public health staff time to plan and work with local communities across the state to ensure safe and efficient deployment of limited vaccine supplies.”

It is critical that even as vaccine becomes available to more people, all Georgians must continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. While the COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective in preventing illness in the individual being vaccinated, it is not yet known if the vaccine fully prevents person to person transmission or asymptomatic infections.

For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.

Bradley man arrested for attempted murder

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attempted murder
At approximately 9:00 a.m. on December 22, Bradley County deputies arrived at a residence on McClanahan Drive in northwestern Bradley County in response to a reported stabbing.
During the course of their investigation, they were alerted to flames on the residence from an apparent structure fire that was started after their arrival.
The investigation has revealed that a male suspect by the name of Michael Park stabbed one male victim. The two lived together in the residence that Park later set fire to. The victim is being treated and expected to be discharged later today.
Bradley County firefighters successfully cleared the structure. The residence received heavy smoke and water damage.
Michael Park is currently in custody and being charged with Attempted Murder and False Reports.

Governor Cooper Wishes North Carolinians a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper shared wishes for a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday as the third-annual turkey pardoning went virtual. Governor Cooper pardoned two turkeys, Cranberry and Drumstick. The pardon was held virtually, with Governor Cooper in Raleigh and Cranberry and Drumstick at home in Mount Olive at Foy III Farm. Governor Cooper highlighted the importance of celebrating Thanksgiving safely by wearing a mask and social distancing with anyone from another household.

“I’m grateful to the many North Carolinians who are looking out for each other’s safety by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing,” said Governor Cooper. “I know many of us are tired of being cooped up at home, but any time you go out – remember to wear a mask and practice social distancing. These are our berry best tools to slowing the spread of this virus. And I know we cran do it.”

Butterball partnered with the State for the third year in a row to donate 500 turkeys, which will be donated to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Butterball has helped to donate 1500 turkeys as part of this event over the last three years.

“Butterball is thankful for the opportunity to present two turkeys for pardoning by Governor Cooper on behalf of the state of North Carolina. Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday at Butterball, and I know celebrations will look different for many this year, but I’m hopeful North Carolinians will find creative ways to celebrate safely. This Thanksgiving, I’d like to give thanks to our teams and other food producers for their dedication to keeping food on tables during a challenging time,” Jay Jandrain, President and Chief Executive Officer of Butterball, said. “We are pleased to donate 500 Butterball turkeys on behalf of Governor Cooper to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina to help fight hunger this holiday season.”

NCDHHS provides safety guidelines as early voting begins

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early voting

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is providing guidelines for voters and local polling locations to help protect the health of North Carolinians during the voting process. In addition, NCDHHS and the NC Department of Public Safety Division of Emergency Management provided personal protective equipment to local election boards and locations.

North Carolina residents who plan to vote in-person should wear a face mask and keep it on throughout the voting process, stay 6 feet apart from others while at the polling location, and wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after voting.

“Everyone should make their voting plan, and just like going to the grocery store, take your mask and wait apart from others. I’ll be voting in person during early voting,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.

NCDHHS also issued guidelines to local polling locations to protect people while they vote, work or volunteer at voting locations. Masks are required in public and voting places must have enough masks to provide one to anyone who does not have one. If a voter has an exception for wearing a mask, election workers should try to accommodate them and should not turn voters away.

Election workers at voting locations must routinely clean and disinfect high-touch areas, such as doors, tables and chairs, with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — especially during peak voting times. Many locations are providing single-use pens to voters.

The guidelines, adapted from the CDC’s Considerations for Election Polling Locations and Voters, also require elections officials to post signage at each voting place reminding voters and workers about social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others. Officials are required to provide physical markers, such as tape on floors or signs on walls, to help ensure people remain at least 6 feet apart.

Additionally, county boards of elections must:

  • Require election workers and observers to wear a mask when social distancing is or may not be possible, unless they state an exception applies.
  • Require election workers to encourage people to wear a mask while they vote or campaign and offer masks to those who are not wearing them.

To monitor the health of elections workers, county boards of elections are required to:

  • Immediately separate and send home election workers who have symptoms when they arrive at work or become sick during the day.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers before opening the voting place each day.
  • Post signage at the main entrance asking people who have a fever and/or a cough not to enter. Signage from the NCDHHS Know your Ws campaign is available to download.

All 100 county election offices have received gloves and face shields for poll workers; disposable masks for workers and others who do not have a mask; and hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray and paper towels. Anheuser-Busch and McDonald’s donated a portion of the hand sanitizer to the Association of State Election Directors. NCDHHS and NCDPS are providing the rest of the supplies and equipment. Additionally, the NC State Board of Elections is sending single-use pens to county election offices for use as needed.

Interim Guidance for Election Voting Locations and guidelines for Voting Safely During COVID-19 can be found at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance#election-voting.

Governor Cooper Announces $35 Million to Support Child Care Programs

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RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper announced that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is providing $35 million in operational grants from federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to help child care programs providing in-person child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. From April through July, NCDHHS has provided over $80 million in monthly operational grants for child care programs that served over 105,000 children statewide throughout the pandemic.

“These grants will help offset the significant financial strains placed on child care to meet health and safety guidelines while serving fewer children,” said Governor Cooper. “Our child care programs have been on the frontlines since the start of this pandemic, keeping their doors open so other workers could keep our economy running and the public safe. A strong and safe child care system is essential to our recovery.”

“Our response and recovery are dependent upon having a strong, high-quality child care system open and available. These operational grants help families go to work and children’s learning to be nurtured,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D.

The grants will be awarded to licensed child care providers operating in-person during the months of August through October 2020 to help offset the significant financial strains due to the additional expenses to meet health and safety guidelines, while experiencing reduced revenues from lower enrollment. Providers have the flexibility to use these grants to meet their unique individual business and operational needs.

All eligible licensed child care programs will receive some level of operational grants. Specific grant amounts are based on program size, quality, and whether the program serve infants and toddlers.

Throughout the pandemic, NCDHHS has maintained North Carolina’s long history of investments in child care by providing monthly operational grants since April, child care teacher and staff bonuses in April and May, and an emergency subsidy child care program in April and May.

For more information about child care during COVID-19 in North Carolina, visit www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19/child-care.

Suspicious device turns out to be a weather balloon

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suspicious device

On October 1, 2020, Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched to a suspicious device call for service on Cathy’s Creek Church Road. When officers arrived, they were advised by the reporting party that the device was a box that was attached to kite by multiple strings.

The reporting party stated that there was a warning sticker that they had seen which stated that the device may be hazardous and to contact your local police agency. The homeowner had placed the item into a container that did not allow deputies to view the item from a safe distance. Due to not knowing what the device was and being unable to safely examine it from a distance, Henderson County Bomb Squad was requested to respond and examine the package to ensure it was safe.

Images courtesy of Transylvania Sheriff Office.

Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad, as well as an additional Bomb Tech from Asheville Police Department, responded.

The package was determined to be a harmless weather balloon and weather instrument sent into the atmosphere by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This particular device was launched from Peach Tree City, Georgia on 07/29/2020 at 7 p.m.

These devices are routinely sent up by NOAA to gather atmospheric conditions and are completely harmless. Finding one in Transylvania County, however, does not happen very often so we want you to be aware that it is possible to find one here, and if they are found they are completely harmless as long as the balloon is deflated. If the balloon is still inflated the gas used in the balloon could be dangerous but there should not be a balloon on the ground still inflated.

If you were to find one of these devices there are mailing instructions on the instrument itself along with a prepaid bag for postage.

If you are ever in doubt about a suspicious device or package please call law enforcement so it can be safely examined.

Weather balloon had several strings attached to it.

Secretary of State unveils new absentee ballot request portal

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ATLANTA-Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger unveils a new online portal to make it easier for Georgia voters to request absentee ballots for the November elections. Georgia voters with a driver’s license or state ID card will now be able to request an absentee ballot entirely online.

“Georgia is constantly searching for new and innovative ways to expand access to the ballot and uphold the integrity of the vote,” said Raffensperger. “We are encouraging Georgia voters who are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 threat to use our new online absentee ballot request portal to request absentee ballots safely and securely from their computers or phones. This new tool will help counties stay on top of the several million absentee ballot requests expected in November.”

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has developed a website that will allow Georgia voters to request an absentee ballot entirely online. Georgia voters will be able to request their ballot via the portal using their first and last name, date of birth, county where they are registered, and Georgia State ID or Georgia Driver’s License number. Voters will get a confirmation email that their request has been entered into the system. Also, voters can monitor their ballot status on My Voter Page.

The portal is available herehttp://www.securevotega.com/secureabsentee/

Absentee ballots requested for the November 2020 presidential election cannot be sent out before September 15.

In the past, Georgia voters had to download and print an absentee ballot request, then scan and email it or put it in the mail. This new portal saves voters effort and postage and will increase confidence that the request has been received by county elections officials. It also makes it easier and faster for county election official to process absentee ballot requests by minimizing the possibility of data entry errors.

While the State ID or driver’s license number provide a secure safeguard for requesting ballots, the ballots themselves will still be verified by matching the voter signature to their signature on file upon submission. A record 1.6 million absentee ballot requests were received for the June primary, inundating county elections officials. This portal will make processing the large number of absentee ballot requests expected for the November election easier for county election officials to process quickly and accurately.

Rep. Vernon Jones issues statement on Atlanta police reform efforts

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ATLANTA – State Representative Vernon Jones (D-Lithonia) today issued the following statement regarding the Atlanta City Council’s recent adoption of a local ordinance which would amend the Atlanta Police Department’s procedures to incorporate various alternatives to use of force:

“The Atlanta City Council’s new police reform policies would require police officers to give a verbal warning before using deadly force, such as firing a weapon to apprehend a dangerous suspect.

“If police officers have to worry about whether to issue a warning or be indicted or punished for doing their jobs, those very seconds spent questioning their actions could cost their lives or lives of citizens of Atlanta.

“This ordinance is taking away police officers’ instincts and training in order to satisfy a political agenda.

“Georgia law prohibits cities in our state from adopting any rule, regulation or policy that would ban a police officer from using a lawful degree of force to apprehend a suspected felon. Furthermore, Georgia law also clearly states that such policies that are in conflict with the state’s laws regarding use of force would be null and void. These police reform policies would conflict with our state laws, meaning they would be unconstitutional.

“I strongly urge the Atlanta city attorney to look closely at this ordinance and advise the mayor of its merit and constitutionality. I also strongly encourage the Atlanta City Council to not consider defunding or making significant cuts to the Atlanta Police Department.”

Representative Vernon Jones represents the citizens of District 91, which includes portions of DeKalb and Rockdale counties. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2016 and currently serves on the Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications, Human Relations & Aging and Transportation committees. 

Louisville man charged in connection to death of infant son

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Louisville
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said an 18-year-old Louisville man was charged Thursday in the death of his infant son.
Corey Ryan Dillow, 18, Red Hill Drive, Louisville, is in custody in the Blount County Correctional Facility. Dillow is charged with criminal homicide and aggravated child abuse. He is being held on bonds totaling $1,250,000 pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 1:30 p.m. July 6, 2020.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to Dillow’s residence on Red Hill Drive in Louisville Wednesday where they found the infant unresponsive. Deputies attempted CPR on the infant before AMR Ambulance Service arrived and transported
him to Children’s Hospital in Knoxville where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators are continuing their inquiry into the case. The image is courtesy of BCSO Facebook. 

Kemp, Duncan, Ralston issue statements on the hate crimes bill

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HB 426 hate crimes

Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Duncan, and Speaker David Ralston today issued the following statements following the signing of hate crimes bill, HB 426:

“Today we took an important, necessary step forward for Georgia. We stood together as fellow Georgians to affirm one simple but powerful motto: Georgia is a state too great to hate,” said Governor Kemp. “The signing of HB 426 is a sign of progress and a milestone worth applauding. This legislation will enhance public safety and ensure that justice is served for all Georgians – regardless of race, gender, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation. Today we reaffirmed our desire to put progress ahead of politics. While this legislation does not right every wrong, it is an important step, and we will continue to do our part as state leaders to ensure that Georgia is a place where all people can live, learn, and prosper. Working together, will continue to fight for fairness and do the right thing – even when no one is watching.”

“At a time when our nation feels so divided, this day is one of unity,” said Lt. Governor Duncan. “I am incredibly proud of the General Assembly’s collaborative effort, which produced a strong hate crimes bill that protects people in targeted groups and sends a strong statement about our values. I know we will build upon today’s accomplishment and continue to work toward meaningful change for all Georgians.”

“On this historic day, we have made it clear that Georgia rejects hate,” said Speaker David Ralston. “House Bill 426, a bipartisan piece of legislation, demonstrates that Georgia is a welcoming state to each and every person regardless of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. I want to applaud the hard work of Chairman Chuck Efstration and Dean of the House, Calvin Smyre, on this bill and thank them for their work.”

Collins Praises Isakson Legacy

Announcements, Politics

GAINESVILLE, Ga.—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) released the following statement after Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announced he will resign from the U.S. Senate at the end of 2019 after 40 years of public service.

“Johnny Isakson has been a standard of public service and statesmanship for decades in Georgia. He’s always drawn on his extensive roots in our state to deepen his advocacy for all Georgians. Johnny faithfully remembers the forgotten, including America’s veterans. I’ve looked up to him as a mentor and still work to emulate him.”

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www.dougcollins.house.gov

PRESS RELEASE: Speaker David Ralston Thanks Senator Johnny Isakson

Announcements, Politics

Speaker David Ralston Thanks Senator Johnny Isakson

ATLANTA – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) issued the following statement on the news that Georgia’s senior United States Senator Johnny Isakson will resign from office at the end of the year:

“The loss of Johnny Isakson from public life will leave a void in Georgia which is beyond comprehension. While I respect his reasons, I feel a tremendous sense of personal sadness – Johnny is a mentor, role model and friend. Over a distinguished career in the Georgia House, Georgia State Senate, State Board of Education, U.S. House and U.S. Senate, Johnny Isakson demonstrated that civility and reasonableness are virtues that will never go out of style. My family and I will continue to pray for Johnny, Dianne and the Isakson family.”

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