Letter from David Ralston

Dear Friends:

  In less than 48 hours, we will meet to choose the Republican candidate for Speaker. We face a challenging decision in a political climate that has changed rapidly in just a few short weeks.

  Reform of our House rules and improvements in our ethics laws have suddenly become very fashionable topics. I am not a “johnny-come-lately” to this discussion. I spoke out loud and clear for change when it wasn’t front page news.

  I do believe we must embrace change at this moment. Ours should be a Caucus of inclusion and openness. Every member should be treated with respect and valued for their input. Strong leaders should not feel threatened by good ideas and must be willing to give credit where it is due.

  Let me remind you, I advocated a year ago for abolishing the “hawk” system. I stood up for changes that would abolish Rules Committee substitutes and curtailing the use of rules that limit the ability to offer amendments and restrict floor debate.

  I know I have the commitment and I hope I have the credibility to enact these and other needed internal reforms.

  There is a growing clamor for ethics reform. We, as Republicans, can and must lead the way on this issue.   Many good and useful ideas have been offered in the past few days. However, this is a serious issue and I, for one, do not think a 6-day caucus campaign is the appropriate way to develop a sensible and solid plan. If you honor me with your nomination on Thursday, we will get to work on putting together a legislative package with input from all of you that we as the Republican caucus can unify around come session.

  We cannot legislate good behavior. However, we can lead by example. I will set specific rules for the Speaker’s office: lobbyists will not be permitted past the reception room without an appointment; the office will not be used as a private dining room; the office will be open to members and their constituents; and, I will meet regularly with the news media.

  As I have said before and will say again and again: we must embrace the newness of the day or be perished to political irrelevance.

  As always, please call me if you have any questions.


David Ralston


  1. Making Sense says:

    I wish that he would have addressed the confusion over this tax issue that I keep hearing about with him. Other than that, I like Mr. Ralston’s approach to leadership the best.

  2. Ken in Eastman says:

    I think this is best addressed in David Ralston’s own words:

    Dear Friends:

    As you make your final decision for Speaker, I know that many issues weigh heavily on your mind. Personally, professionally, politically. Those of us asking for your vote in Thursday’s caucus elections must understand this reality.

    Some of you have asked about and others may have wanted to ask about my previous “tax” issue. Although this was a painful and embarrassing event for my family and me, you have the right to know and to be informed by me.

    As was widely reported some years back, I did have an income tax delinquency status with both the State of Georgia and the Internal Revenue Service.

    From 1999 until the summer of 2003, I employed an individual in my office in whom I had trust and who was responsible for managing our finances, both receipts and the payment of all obligations. In the summer of 2003, I learned that this employee was not only grossly mismanaging my finances, but was engaged in a pattern of embezzlement and theft.

    When I discovered this information, I had my finances thoroughly examined by both a forensic accountant and investigators for the Appalachian Circuit District Attorney’s office. Criminal charges were brought against this individual, and she was subsequently indicted by a grand jury. Later, she entered a guilty plea to this felony and admitted the charges.

    However, I had to deal with the financial mess left behind: not only diverted funds, but unpaid obligations, including tax payments.

    It was a big challenge and, being a public servant, it was a challenge I had to deal with publicly.

    However, through hard work, perseverance and an understanding of its seriousness, we made it. The entire obligation has been fully paid and remains current.

    I hope this information is helpful to you, not only in your decision making but also as your colleague in the House. If you have any further questions, please call me. You have my cell phone number. Or, you may call District Attorney Joe Hendricks at 706-635-5381.

    David Ralston

  3. Back in Black says:

    The tax issue is old and involved a dispute with the IRS (not Georgia apparently). A few years ago (four?) David owed a federal tax and disputed the amount owed. The irs and he settled it and it was paid a couple years ago.

  4. AthensRepublican says:

    Impressive letter. Ralston is showing an inclusiveness to the GOP caucus as a whole that has been absent. You were either with the “in” crowd or the “out” crowd.

    Ralston’s letter shows a leadership style has been missing under the Gold Dome for at least 40 years. A welcome change should the caucus afford him the opportunity.

  5. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    The only question I have left about Ralston is how he will treat those who supported other candidates should he win. After all, some who supported him last year are supporting others, like Hembree.

    I think we have a better chance at moving forward with him than with O’Neal.

    • Ken in Eastman says:


      David’s style has always been team building and doing what is right. I have no doubt that will continue as Georgia House Speaker.

      The dismantling of the Hawks, which David pledged to do last year when he ran for Speaker and will do this year if he wins, is a sign that he will not hold grudges.

      Removing the Hawks is a clear signal that he intends to level the playing field. To do that and to be a successful Speaker he needs allies, not enemies.

  6. SouthPeach says:

    I have known Mr. Ralston for many years. You will not find a finer man! I know from many people in the Legislature that he is highly respected by both House members and Senate members. I can’t imagine another choice other than Mr. Ralston for speaker, who is the ONLY one who took the risk to stand up to the present leadership and against their abuse of power. I for one will watch to see who my representative votes for on Thursday.

  7. sonofliberty says:

    ….Meeting regularly with the media….suggests a transparency in the Speaker’s Office…..that has been noticeably absent….what a breath of fresh air!

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