And on the seventeenth day of the twelfth month, Jerry Keen found himself all alone

Setting aside any discussion of “The Petition,” let’s look at the stark reality of today.

The election of David Ralston, Jan Jones, and Ed Lindsey has revealed a Republican caucus with a clear thirst for change and genuine reform based on conservatism. All three represent the foundation for a strong future for the caucus and for Georgia.

But looking at the leadership team as a whole, there is one place where there are reminders of a dysfunctional past. That place is in the position held by Jerry Keen as Majority Leader.

For all the vitriol of the last fortnight, I continue to believe that Jerry Keen is a good man. He loves his family. He loves the Republican Party. He loves Georgia.

With the elections today, though, a corner has been turned and a new era of leadership has arrived. Yes, he could remain as Majority Leader for another session of the General Assembly. But when the caucus has shown they believe a new direction is needed for leadership, shouldn’t Jerry Keen realize it is time for his fellow legislators to decide if they want to keep him as Majority Leader or if a new legislator is needed to take the helm? By resigning and, if he chooses, running again for Majority Leader, Jerry Keen will show his own personal commitment to the change which has been thoroughly endorsed this day.

Jerry Keen has many more good years as a legislator from 179th House District in him. And I wish him every success. But with such dramatic results today, if Jerry Keen believes he has the full and unequivocal support of the caucus, he should put it to their vote now.

43 comments

  1. acoalson says:

    Yes Macho, she changed from one leadership role to a greater leadership role. I must say that I am impressed with Jones. How she avoided any negative repercussions and got a promotion in the mist of this scandal and all the calls for “change”, is VERY smooth. I don’t know how she pulled it off; she must have a black belt in spin control.

    • macho says:

      I basically like Jones; she’s very smart. I just think it’s stretching things a bit to call a previous member of the leadership team and a key Burkhalter ally the quench for the Caucus’ thirst for change.

  2. Truthteller says:

    You guys over-think this. You also over-assume your own value.

    Truth is, we’re talking about a hundred people who vote, and they all know eachother.

    They know Jan, David, Ed, Glenn, Jerry, etc.

    The reason Jan is in a leadership role is that they know her, they know she is balanced, she is conservative, and fights for what she believes.

    Finally, with O’Neal losing the big seat, they didn’t feel the need ‘change’ at all levels of leadership. She’s honest, a class act, and works hard. So they kept her on her own merits.

    • Life and Liberty says:

      Jones was either complacent or ignorant of the issues. She was obviously too busy leading and working hard to notice one (or, perhaps all) of her fellows was completely wrapped up in this scandal, to the point that it nearly cost a life.
      Actually, I think she’s a victim in this. And at the same time a heroine.

  3. DMZDave says:

    A woman in a Republican leadership role in the Georgia House and she’s not a change candidate? Jan Jones, like Karen Handel just wasn’t born with that good ole boy, go-along, get along gene. West Point has it right with their simple honor code, “cadets don’t lie,cheat or steal nor tolerate those that do.” Unintentionally Speaker Richardson may yet prove to have been one of the greatest change agents in the history of Georgia politics.

    • LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

      “A woman in a Republican leadership role in the Georgia House and she’s not a change candidate?”

      Guess you’ve already forgotten about Donna Sheldon?

      Just putting woman in there doesn’t qualify as change.

      • macho says:

        She already was part of the leadership, that’s why calling her a change candidate is ironic. Even if you purely look at sex, and don’t look at intellect or personality, the leadership team does not have any more women than it did a week ago.

        Again, nothing against Jan, she’s bright and capable and deserves to be in her role as much as anybody. But, I’m not one to look at sex or color when it comes to deciding if someone is qualified, so the fact she’s a woman is fairly meaningless to me.

  4. birdfan says:

    I understand people’s desire for change…and based upon yesterday’s elections a lot of change has been put forth. However, I’m not sure why people would call for Rep. Keen to resign due to the behaviors of other individuals.

    Representative Keen is a good man and has supported a number of conservative policies. Unless there is some evidence to counter it, then it think that asking for someone to be punished for the actions of another is unfair.

    It doesn’t make sense.

    • Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

      Well yes it does. Evidence has pointed to the fact that Keen knew of Richardson’s conduct and along with Eric Johnson looked the other way and that is inexcusable conduct .

      • macho says:

        Evidence points to the fact that most of the House knew about Richardson’s and Burkhalter’s situation, and most looked the other way – with the exception of Ralston and a few others.

    • AthensRepublican says:

      Jerry Keen was one of Glenn Richardson’s closest allies in the House. They operated a system of political retribution against anyone and everyone that offered differing viewpoints even on the most minor of perceived infractions. In the last few weeks, I noticed even the Georgia Christian Coalition, from where Keen honed his political influence, distanced themselves from their former leader.

      David Ralston will be our new Speaker. Keen will only be as powerful as Ralston lets him. Ralston has promised a much needed change in tone and attitude from the old guard and to unite the caucus. If Keen has any political future left, he will need to get on board with our new Speaker and the House GOP caucus and get down to solving the challenges of this state.

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      The problem wasn’t just Richardson’s zipper problems. It was his vicious style of keeping people “in line” through both overt and veiled threats. Jerry Keen was a part of that team. How complicit was he in all of that? I don’t know.

      The representatives themselves have a better idea than we do about who knew what and who did what. What we see in public is sometimes different from actions taken in private.

      The good news is that those days are past. Glenn Richardson was a remake of Tom Murphy, a man I worked for years to make the face of the Democrat Party in Georgia because he was so partisan and unethical.

      Glenn Richardson, at this point, appears to have possibly been worse than Murphy and as a Republican that makes me want to puke.

      • 1magnoliapeach says:

        If what appears to be true regarding Richardson governing style, then this should be the litmus test for those who have been “hiding” in fear of standing against him. I for one hope these “Representatives” of the people will really get down to the true business for the people of Georgia. Too many Georgians are really hurting out here with lost jobs and income issues-it runs deep and wide.

  5. Cavalier says:

    The first real test of the new leadership is what to do about the other ‘skirtchasers’ that remain in powerful positions. Everyone knows who they are, and that the media is this close to getting the story. Another major sex scandal could be the death knell for Republicans in Georgia. If our new Speaker is honest about his desire for change and a new direction for this caucus, he knows where he must start. Georgians will be watching.

    • AthensRepublican says:

      I wonder if many will even seek re-election. Ralston said “those days are over.” I think he means it.

    • 1magnoliapeach says:

      What exactly constitutes “powerful positions” within the House? Committe chairs? It is no secret several of those were/ are???? Richardson’s closest allies….is everyone guilty by association in this “House cleaning?”

      • AthensRepublican says:

        I expect many chairs will remain in place as Ralston wants to have as much continuity as possible this close to a critical session. He already mentioned to the press that he wanted O’Neal on his team and Hembree as well. I would expect he will replace some of the committee chairs though.

  6. foray says:

    Jan is far and away one of the brightest in the legislature- I have known her for a long time-

    She sticks to business and the things she cares about- to be honest she could care less about the capitol gossip

    Thats why she won on the 2nd ballot- and why almost every rep in the caucus south of the fall line voted for her

    • macho says:

      Sometimes you need folks to pay attention to Capitol “gossip” and not look the other way when members are engaging in behavior that is an embarrassment to the Republicans. Isn’t that what got O’Neil in trouble, when he gave that interview saying he’s not one to get involved in the personal conduct of the members.

      • AthensRepublican says:

        Yes, and look at who all backed and voted for O’Neal for Speaker: Richardson, Burkhalter, Keen, Harbin, Ehrhart, Mark Butler.

        With those kind of endorsements it drowned out and made a laughing stock of O’Neal’s call for ethics. I think Larry himself is a decent guy but he reminds me of the substitute teacher that never had and never would have control of the troublemakers in the classroom.

  7. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    I have both Jerry Keen and Jeff Chapman in my district. The difference in integrity is like night and day. I could go on and on with examples but it wont mean much to people here.

    Jerry pushed the Jekyll scam as much as he could. He was in bed with the little general running the local chamber of commerce who plays politics with that job 24/7 . They all worked overtime to work against Chapman. The local papers editor would love to be made into an anal suppository and pushed up Jerry Keens butt.

  8. birdfan says:

    Once again, many of you are clamor and say Rep. Keen knew this and knew that about Speaker Richardson. Heck, the Ethic charges that were brought against Speaker Richardson (a couple years ago) were dismissed by a bi-partisan group of legislators. They concluded that there was not enough evidence.
    Obviously, the revelation of emails given to the media from Richardson’s ex-wife makes the story quite different. If the bi-partisan Ethics group had that information (a few years ago), then it would have been a different outcome.
    I just think it is real easy to say so-and-so should have done this or done that because hindsight (as well as new incremenating evidence) is 20-20.
    Let me say, I am glad with the changes in the GOP House leadership. I hope everyone will give this new leadership a chance…not judging them on the misgivings of a few individuals in the past…but rather how they will handle themselves and by the legislation they will pass during these challenging times our state faces.

      • Ken in Eastman says:

        I’m anxious to see if the O’Neal people will accept Ralston’s outstretched hand. Their response so far has been less than I expected, though Willie Talton (D-Houston County) has been very gracious in his remarks – and give credit to Talton for his open support of Ralston last year when the chips were down.

        Bill Hembree has been very gracious in his acceptance of Ralston.

        I believe the O’Neal people, including Jerry Keen, will settle down soon.

          • Ken in Eastman says:

            I certainly do! I am a rotten typist (and apparently an even worse proof reader).

            My sincere apologies to Representative Talton!

        • AthensRepublican says:

          Also, Willie Talton never openly supported anyone for Speaker in the Caucus elections in 2008. He has never indicated who he voted for. He is a close friend and colleague of both Larry O’Neal and David Ralston and I am sure he will work exceptionally well with the new Speaker.

          I agree the O’Neal camp seem to be less than gracious losers. Seems they feel they were entitled to it. Even Peake and Sellier’s comments were skeptical of the new leadership. O’Neal himself has yet to publically congratulate Ralston only commenting “I’m disappointed.”

          And by the way, what ever happened to Political Widow?

          • NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

            Maybe Political Widow is taking a break for Christmas like I am trying to do:) Just a few short weeks before everything heats up again in state politics…I think we all need a break.

            Merry Christmas!

          • AthensRepublican says:

            Could be. I miss Political Widow though. She was/is a good commenter. I just disagreed with her on O’Neal being the best choice. Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

          • Ken in Eastman says:

            I hope NorthGeorgia Girl is right.

            Maybe she’s just taking a break. She argues well and had a lot of interesting info.

            Merry Christmas!

    • Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

      Even if this is the case the entire episode stinks. Keen by testimony and statements of other house member was part of that stink. He should have gone or been a better man and resigned. Jerry Keens welfare in that position does not come in front of that of the great State of Georgia.

      And if you want to talk about evidence, just remember OJ got off.

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