Georgians pay final respects to longtime Speaker of the House David Ralston

ATLANTA, Ga. — Hundreds of mourners gathered outside the Georgia Capitol Tuesday morning to honor a man who is revered in every corner of the state.

Family, friends and colleagues both Republican and Democrat bid farewell to David Ralston, who died last week at age 68.

He was the 73rd Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, in charge of the chamber for nearly 13 years.

Ralston’s casket lay in state in the Capitol rotunda on Tuesday, where it will remain through 11 a.m. Wednesday. Family, friends and colleagues both Republican and Democrat bid farewell to the former speaker.

“Speaker Ralston led both a life and career with distinction,” Gov. Brian Kemp said.

Those who knew him best say he led not with an iron fist, but with a kind and guiding hand.

“It was indeed refreshing in today’s world of politics. He was a leader who was different. A notch above all others, because he cared and loved people,” Rep. David Knight said.

Some told Channel 2 that “politician” wasn’t the right word to describe Ralston. He was so much more.

“He can be called by many titles. Father, husband, speaker, second most powerful man in the state. Yet, he would rather be called a country lawyer from Blue Ridge. To me, that captures the essence of the man,” Rep. Randy Nix said.

After a service taking place at Fannin County High School, Ralston will be laid to rest in Blue Ridge on Sunday.





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