House Speaker David Ralston from Blue Ridge dies

Just announced he would not seek another term as House Speaker because of poor health

BLUE RIDGE, Georgia (WDEF) – A powerful lawmaker from the northwest Georgia mountains has died.

House Speaker David Ralston was 68.

The state representative from Blue Ridge just announced a few weeks ago that he was stepping down as the Speaker because of an unspecified illness.

He planned to stay on in the legislature.

Ralston was an attorney in Blue Ridge who spent the last 30 years in state politics.

He represented the area in the state Senate in the 1990s, then lost a bid for attorney general in 1998.

Ralston made his comeback by winning a House seat in 2002 and climbed the ranks to become the longest serving House Speaker in the country.

He worked with Governor Brian Kemp on many legislative goals over his last term.

His proudest moment may have been backing the largest state income tax cut in Georgia history that passed earlier this year.

He also was heavily involved in redrawing the state’s approach to mental health issues this year.

The Governor has ordered that state flags will be flown at half-staff in Rep. Ralston’s honor.


ATLANTA, GA – Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer today made the following statement:

“We were so sorry to learn about the passing of Speaker David Ralston. David was a stalwart Republican who served in the State Senate, carried our banner as a candidate for Attorney General and led the House of Representatives as Speaker.

I was privileged to serve with David in the General Assembly. He gets too little credit for his leadership on conservative issues, particularly in the areas of protecting life and securing our Second Amendment rights.

Sheree, his children and all those who were blessed to know him are in our prayers. He will be long remembered and greatly missed.”

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