Growing up in the leafy Brookwood Hills neighborhood in Atlanta, all of us knew Mike Egan. He was our state representative and one of the few Republicans in the Georgia State House in the 1960’s. Everyone respected his integrity. He was one of the few legislators of either party to vote against the move to oust Julian Bond from the General Assembly over his anti-Vietnam War views and consistently called for more open and transparent government.
Although a strong pioneering Republican leader, Mike was appointed in 1977 by President Carter to be associate attorney general under Griffin Bell. He returned to the General Assembly in 1989 as a state senator serving until his retirement in 2000. He was rightly regarded during his tenure as the “Conscious of the Senate.”
Given his distinguished career, I was understandably nervous when I called upon him in 2004 to ask for his endorsement when I first ran for the State House. It was a tough political grilling and his subsequent endorsement is easily the one I am most proud of having ever received. In the end, Mike simply asked that I take care of his community, his political party, and his state. He also told me that the key to political success was to keep my opponents temporary and friends permanent. A lot of folks would do well to follow that advice today.
Mike took great pride in his family. He and his wife Donna raised six children – Moira, Michael III, Donna, Donald, William, and John, as well a lot of grandchildren.
Today, Mike’s family lost a beloved patriarch. My party lost a trail blazer. Our state lost a great leader. May the Peace of the Lord be with his family and all who mourn on this sad day.