Nov 17, 2022 - Politics

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston has died

David Ralston at the podium with his wife

Ralston with his wife Sheree in March, after a landmark mental health reform package they both advocated for passed the state House unanimously. Photo: Jeff Amy/AP

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston of Blue Ridge, Ga. died Wednesday. He was 68.

Driving the news: Two weeks after the sudden announcement he would not seek another term as leader of the lower chamber, Ralston’s office announced he passed away "following an extended illness" surrounded by his wife, children and family.

Of note: At the time of his passing, Ralston was the longest currently-serving state house speaker in the country. He helped set Georgia’s legislative agenda for more than a decade, earning marks of respect from Democrats and Republicans alike.

Catch up quick: Ralston first served in the state Senate from 1992-1998 when Republicans were in the minority. He was elected to the state House in 2002 and became speaker in 2010.

  • After his predecessor Glenn Richardson resigned over personal mental health issues and scandal, Ralston "brought a sense of moderation" to the role, as the AJC reports.

Of note: Speaker pro temp Jan Jones will take over as 74th House Speaker until caucus nominee Jon Burns is likely elected to the post in January.

Our thought bubble: While Speaker Ralston didn't always tell journalists everything, he had the respect of the press corps.

  • And he honored the role of the media and always took the time to answer our questions — no matter how late the House adjourned.

Read Ralston's full obituary in the AJC


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