Georgia House Speaker David Ralston dies at 68

Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 3:57 PM CST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Georgia House Speaker David Ralston has died, according to a statement from the Speaker’s communications director.

He was 68.

The announcement comes shortly after Ralston stated earlier this month that he was stepping down as speaker of the house due to health challenges.

Georgia House Republicans elected state Rep. Jon Burns to replace Speaker David Ralston Monday.

Burns will not officially become Speaker until the full House goes into session in January 2023.

Ralston, an attorney from Blue Ridge, did not attend Monday’s vote.

Ralston was elected to the House in 2002 after spending six years in the Senate during the 1990s. He ran for attorney general in 1998, losing to Democrat Thurbert Baker.

Highlights of Ralston’s time as a speaker include his backing of the largest state income tax cut in Georgia history, a $900 million transportation funding bill that has helped the state plug a backlog of infrastructure improvements and the first-ever paid parental leave policy for teachers and state employees.

Most recently, Ralston led the way this year to the passage of legislation overhauling Georgia’s mental healthcare system.