Not everyone is happy with how the transition will take place.

Athens Republican pointed out an open letter of sorts posted by Rep. Michael Harden of Toccoa in the comment section of the AJC. Put that with David Ralston’s comment as posted in the Political Insider and I think it’s fair to say some in the GOP Caucus are unsettled.

Only An Election Allows The House To Move Forward.
By Representative Michael Harden (R-Toccoa)
[email protected]

By now, every Georgian knows that Speaker Glenn Richardson has resigned due to a truckload of personal problems. While I am glad he resigned, I also sincerely hope that he obtains the help he needs and finds peace in the years to come.

Now that this chapter is almost closed, it is time for the Georgia House of Representatives to move on and get back to the business of this state. Unemployment has surged across the state, especially in rural areas, impacting countless Georgia families. State revenues continue to decline damaging everything from public safety to public education. It is long past time we got back to doing what the people elected us to do.

However, we cannot truly move on and begin a fresh start until a new Speaker is fully and fairly elected by the entire House. We must have an election to truly close this chapter and move forward as a legislative body, and that election should happen before the General Assembly Session begins.

The process has worked as the Constitution intends. The Speaker Pro-Tempore will assume the duties of the office temporarily and has 120 days to call an election. However, the calendar undermines what the House needs to do to move past this episode. Because Speaker Richardson is not officially resigning until January 1, the temporary Speaker could serve through the Session without calling for an election. The House would only have a temporary leader, not a fully respected one. This situation is not acceptable to me or to a significant number of my colleagues.

The longer we wait to hold a real election, the longer this drama will continue and the more damage it will do to the House and to our state.

With all the budget and policy challenges in these difficult times, Georgia needs a Speaker of the House with the full, unquestioned support of the House of Representatives. Waiting until the end of the Session, or worse, having an election in the middle of a Session, only hinders the House’s ability to pass meaningful legislation and from an “inside baseball” perspective makes the House weaker in its negotiations with the other branches of state government.

We have nothing to fear from open, transparent, and honest government. Let us clear the air and start fresh by electing a Speaker with a clear mandate to lead.

Please do not misunderstand my purpose here. I am not opposed to our current leadership. If fact, I personally like them and voted for them. I would very seriously consider Mark Burkhalter or Jerry Keen if they offered themselves for Speaker. They are strong and capable leaders.

However, a temporary Speaker hurts the House and hurts our ability to govern effectively. There is not a legitimate reason to delay an election. The House can hold an election the first week in January or on the first day of the Session very easily. Then, and only then, will this chapter finally be closed and the House and the state it serves can finally move forward.


    • Truthteller says:

      ByteMe, well done! You win Truthteller’s Cheese Award!

      Anonymously congratulating people for having guts while doing so under a pseudonym. Well done!

      Many people in the caucus agree with the point raised by Harden. But don’t be a cheese by talking about guts for standing up, K? 🙂

        • Truthteller says:

          Exactly, ByteMe! Exactly my point you ignorant cheeseball.

          Anonymity sometimes is the most effective way to make a difference.

          ( oh, and, uh… 32 – 13 )

          • ByteMe says:

            Whatever. 🙄 You’re just another namecalling jerk. Nothing to see there. I’m guessing that LIMH is closer to the truthtelling than you’ll want to acknowledge.

  1. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    I totally agree also. I sent the following to my House rep this morning:

    I am writing in regards to the current leadership crisis in our State House of Representatives.

    It has become apparent this week that those who have been serving in leadership for the past several years knew what was going on in the Speaker’s office and chose to turn a blind eye to the problem in order to benefit themselves in the future. This is a symptom of the disease eating at our culture and our government: corruption. It is as if the beast of corruption continues to live, because no matter how many times the head is cut off of the beast, and no matter what party that head belongs to, a new head emerges on the same beast. It is time for the House GOP caucus to kill off the beast of corruption once and for all.

    Anyone who was in leadership and allowed these things to go on is unfit to continue in a leadership position. It is time for the House GOP caucus to stand up and tell the people of this great state that this kind of corruption and cover-up will no longer be tolerated, and to elect a Speaker who has integrity. I fear that if the caucus doesn’t rise up and take care of this problem, Georgia will face the same situation that gave us Speaker Pelosi on the federal level.

    We the People are ready for the shenanigans to stop.

  2. Debra says:

    I also agree that an election should take place ASAP!

    I strongly believe that Jerry Keen is scum and would make a terrible Speaker. He is the definition of what gives Republicans a bad name. If we want more of the “What’s in it for me and my friends” republican leadership in Georgia, Jerry’s the man!

    I say the Speaker should be only someone that voted against Richardson in the last election.

    • AthensRepublican says:

      There appear to be way too many questions that will not fully be answered. The caucus should bring in new leadership immediately and let’s get moving on with the business of Georgia.

      The report that Mark Burkhalter won’t call an election for 12o days leads me to believe he does not have the support to win. Getting through the session, he can negotiate to get the votes after the 120 days. Maybe the rumors that he is negotiating with Democrats is true? He needs to call an election for Speaker ASAP!

      • ByteMe says:

        You think he might use his new-found powers to horsetrade some legislation (and your tax money) for some support?


  3. South Fulton Guy says:

    Another question is how much political capital will a Speaker Burkhalter waste with his obsession to split North Fulton off into a resurrected Milton County?

  4. Doug Deal says:

    Count me as one who initially thought that it didn’t matter much that the resignation was post dated, like a check from a deadbeat. Although I thought it was silly, at first I did not think it really mattered as long as he was out for the next session.

    Now, after learning more of the details, it is abundantly clear that it is yet another petty manipulation for the corruption enablers disguised as Republican “leaders” in the House.

    It is imperative that these people be turned out as none of our current leadership in the House are fit to lead. If they do not do the right thing and have an election, my love for my state is much greater than the love of for my party, and I would hope the voters teach them a lesson in 2010. We have had enough of the corruption, manipulation and just plain moral bankruptcy that has taken hold in the Georgia House.

  5. SouthPeach says:

    Doug, well said. The speaker pro-tem knew ALL about the speaker and his corruptness because birds of a feather flock together. I agree that the entire leadership should go! Why do you think it took a week to get him out?? They were all plotting to try and save their own power! This didn’t just happen….

  6. LongTimeListener says:

    The next Speaker must be pure as the driven snow. There are just too many rumors about Burkhalter for my comfort, in addition to the bad judgment shown at Daufuskie. Other names mentioned (Williard, Graves, etc) are fine choices, but they have already announced their runs for other offices. Leaving those races now opens charges of opportunism. David Ralston is a wonderful man, but his history of tax problems would give folks another reason to attack the Republicans. There are members who are without scandal, but have at least been Chairmen or have some experience who we can turn to right now… it is time to think outside the box and start to look forward. Burkhalter and Ralston have had their chances to lead. Let’s find someone with the proper mix of experience and fresh ideas.

    • Silent Outrage says:

      Amen LongTimeListener – you make so many good points.

      I really like David Ralston, but it’s impossible to have a Speaker with so many tax problems. And while Burkhalter may be a legislative and ideas person, his own scandals will not do well given the sunshine that will be on the legislature. Same said for Jerry Keen. We really do need someone who is serious about setting things right and moving forward in a new direction.

      The best thing that can happen is for the legislature to hold an election for Speaker, and yes, Pro-Tem and Leader as well. We need a new crop of leaders.

      Folks like Wendell Willard, Allen Peake, Jon Burns, Donna Sheldon, Melvin Everson, Jan Jones, Ed Lindsey, Jay Roberts would make great leaders of the House. These are people who aren’t going to Atlanta to party and cheat on their spouses or get rich. It’s time to put the Richardson – Burkhalter – Keen years of corruption and scandal in the past.

      • Ken in Eastman says:

        Silent Outrage,

        Since you like David Ralston, I have some news that shoukld make you VERY happy! There was only ONE tax problem that David’s firm had which was caused by an employee who embezzled money. David worked hard to ensure that ALL funds were properly paid to the correct agencies. This put a burden on him, but he did the right thing.

        I’m sure you now feel much better and because you like David so much, will want to add him back to your short list of potential Georgia House Speakers.

        Feel better? I know I do.

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      Since you posted this in multiple locations, I hope you don’t mind if I reply to it in multiple places, as well.

      Why would anyone, Diana Ross, lump David Ralston in with Mark Burkhalter? David Ralston stood AGAINST Glenn Richardson and his excesses when Mark Burkhalter was snuggled up closer to the former speaker than a couple of teenagers in the back seat of a parked car.

      A problem employee embezzling from his firm is not a personal problem for David Ralston nor a “scandal.” In fact, Ralston’s firm’s tax problem was not a “scandal” in any honest person’s imagination.

      I want the best Georgia House Speaker available. Attempting to eliminate David Ralston from consideration with sly innuendo, is not in the best interests of this state.

      Georgia needs good leadership. Let’s do this right; hold elections for the speakership as soon as is practical and go forward.

  7. Howard Roark says:

    MB is at best tainted. At worst he is a continuation of GR. I understand he collects many dinners and gifts from lobbyist.

    I want someone who is smart and well spoken and will kick butt and take names of those in the caucus who practice bad behavior. I wish GR had unloaded what he knew about his members.

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