David Ralston puts his stamp on his House

One year after he rose to his position, Speaker David Ralston on Friday put his imprint on the Georgia House of Representatives, ousting two prominent social conservatives from their chairmanships, and installing his own choice to lead the House’s budget committee.


House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge

You’ll remember that Ralston took office in the chaotic aftermath of Speaker Glenn Richardson’s resignation in late 2009. Ralston left most of Richardson’s leadership in place.

Twelve months later, with the state budget still in crisis, Ralston’s replacement of Ben Harbin, R-Evans, a former Richardson lieutenant, with Terry England, R-Auburn, as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee is the most far-reaching of his decisions.

But social conservatives within the GOP – those who give priority to issues such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research – are buzzing about the removal Bill Hembree, R-Winston, as chairman of the all-powerful Rules Committee, which regulates the flow of legislation to the House floor. Hembree has been replaced by John Meadows, R-Calhoun.

Hembree was Ralston’s choice for the post last year. But in last year’s contest for majority leader, Hembree backed fellow social conservative James Mills, R-Gainesville – over the speaker’s choice, Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire. O’Neal won.

Mills has lost his chairmanship of the House Banking Committee to Greg Morris, R-Vidalia.

Other moves worth noting:

– Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, a former Democrat, will chair the legislative committee charged with overseeing MARTA, replacing defeated state Rep. Jill Chambers, R-Atlanta;

– Doug McKillip, R-Athens, the former chairman of the House Democratic caucus, was rewarded with the position of secretary on the committee in charge of reapportionment;

The entire committee membership list can be found here. But here’s a quick glance at Ralston’s new leadership team:

Agriculture and Consumer Affairs

McCall, Tom Chairman

Harden, Buddy Vice-Chairman

Maddox, Gene Secretary


England, Terry Chairman

Dickson, Tom Vice-Chairman

Ehrhart, Earl Vice-Chairman

Hill, Calvin Vice-Chairman

Houston, Penny Vice-Chairman

Parrish, Butch Vice-Chairman

Powell, Jay Vice-Chairman

Rogers, Carl Vice-Chairman

Rynders, Ed Vice-Chairman

Banks and Banking

Morris, Greg Chairman

Harden, Michael Vice-Chairman

Nix, Randy Secretary

Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight

Martin, Chuck Chairman

Cheokas, Mike Vice-Chairman

Hill, Calvin Secretary

Children and Youth

Manning, Judy Chairman

Pruett, Jimmy Vice-Chairman

Harden, Buddy Secretary

Code Revision

Maddox, Billy Chairman

Weldon, Tom Vice-Chairman

Lane, Roger Secretary

Defense and Veterans Affairs

Yates, John Chairman

Collins, Doug Vice-Chairman

Black, Ellis Secretary


Coleman, Brooks Chairman

Casas, David Vice-Chairman

Benton, Tommy Secretary

Dickson, Tom Ex-Officio

Economic Development and Tourism

Stephens, Ron Chairman

Pruett, Jimmy Vice-Chairman

Sims, Barbara Secretary

Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications

Parsons, Don Chairman

Geisinger, Harry Vice-Chairman

Horne, Billy Secretary


Wilkinson, Joe Chairman

Lindsey, Edward Ex-Officio

Governmental Affairs

Hamilton, Mark Chairman

Purcell, Ann Vice-Chairman

Hatfield, Mark Secretary

Game, Fish, and Parks

Burns, Jon Chairman

Austin, Rick Vice-Chairman

Allison, Stephen Secretary

Health and Human Services

Cooper, Sharon Chairman

Rynders, Ed Vice-Chairman

Holt, Doug Secretary

Higher Education

Walker, Len Chairman

Dempsey, Katie Vice-Chairman

Carter, Amy Secretary

Human Relations and Aging

Purcell, Ann Chairman

Maddox, Gene Vice-Chairman

Benton, Tommy Secretary

Information and Audits

Davis, Steve Chairman

Cheokas, Mike Vice-Chairman

Maddox, Billy Secretary

Interstate Cooperation

Dollar, Matt Chairman

Holt, Doug Vice-Chairman

Manning, Judy Secretary


Smith, Richard Chairman

Maxwell, Howard Vice-Chairman

Holt, Doug Secretary

Intragovernmental Coordination

Sims, Chuck Chairman

Scott, Martin Vice-Chairman

Anderson, Lee Secretary

Industrial Relations

Hembree, Bill Chairman

Horne, Billy Vice-Chairman


Willard, Wendell Chairman

Jacobs, Mike Vice-Chairman

Allison, Stephen Secretary

Golick, Rich Ex-Officio

Judiciary – Non-Civil

Golick, Rich Chairman

Hatfield, Mark Vice-Chairman

Byrd, Charlice Secretary

Willard, Wendell Ex-Officio


Jacobs, Mike Chairman

Motor Vehicles

Rice, Tom Chairman

Powell, Alan Vice-Chairman

Battles, Paul Secretary

Natural Resources and Environment

Smith, Lynn Chairman

Nix, Randy Vice-Chairman

Hanner, Bob Secretary

Public Safety and Homeland Security

Bearden, Tim Chairman

Talton, Willie Vice-Chairman

Hanner, Bob Secretary


Lane, Roger Chairman

Ramsey, Matt Vice-Chairman

McKillip, Doug Secretary


Maxwell, Howard Chairman

Benton, Tommy Vice-Chairman

Weldon, Tom Secretary

Regulated Industries

Williams, Roger Chairman

Jerguson, Sean Vice-Chairman

Dickson, Tom Secretary


Meadows, John Chairman

Golick, Rich Vice-Chairman

Mills, James Secretary

Abrams, Stacey Ex-Officio

Hugley, Carolyn Ex-Officio

Jones, Jan Ex-Officio

Lindsey, Edward Ex-Officio

O’Neal, Larry Ex-Officio

Science and Technology

Amerson, Amos Chairman

Battles, Paul Vice-Chairman

Byrd, Charlice Secretary

Special Committee on Small Business Development
and Job Creation

Knight, David Chairman

Sims, Barbara Vice-Chairman

Harden, Buddy Secretary

Horne, Billy Secretary

State Institutions and Property

Neal, Jay Chairman

Greene, Gerald Vice-Chairman

Jerguson, Sean Secretary

State Planning and Community Affairs

Smith, Tommy Chairman

Smith, Kip Vice-Chairman

Davis, Steve Secretary

Special Rules

Talton, Willie Chairman

Ramsey, Matt Vice-Chairman

Holt, Doug Secretary


Roberts, Jay Chairman

Sheldon, Donna Vice-Chairman

Epps, Bubber Secretary

Ways and Means

Channell, Mickey Chairman

Knight, David Vice-Chairman

Sims, Chuck Secretary

England, Terry Ex-Officio

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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9 comments Add your comment


January 15th, 2011
12:05 pm

Good for Ralston. The legislature is stacked to the rafters with do-nothing ideologues and/or folks dedicated only to lining their pockets at the expense of the Georgia taxpayers. They take us all for idiots and sheep. They have nearly destroyed state government and think they are heroes for doing so, as the state crumbles around them. 21st Century businesses locate in North Carolina, South Carolina and New England, because of Georgia’s dismal record on education, quality of life, arts, parks, environmental protection, and every other aspect of modern civilization. We take pride in being retrograde and wrong-headed.
Ralston is more of a public servant than we deserve. He is pragmatic and capable, and sees how this state has ground to a halt under the reign of posturing, pandering, self-serving incompetents.


January 15th, 2011
12:32 pm

Those precious little blobs of frozen cells, destined for a garbage can, will have to take a back seat to living, breathing human beings. Boo-freakin’-hoo. I bet Sadie Fields is going ape$#!&.


January 15th, 2011
1:34 pm

Terry England is a good man–thoughtful, deliberate, and principled. He was one of the very few who openly stuck their necks out in opposition to the way Richardson was running (ruining) the House back in 2008, when Ralston made (and lost) his initial run against Richardson for Speaker. Once in a blue moon, good guys do finish first.


January 15th, 2011
7:47 pm

Terry England is an excellent choice.


January 15th, 2011
7:47 pm

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The General

January 16th, 2011
10:02 am

@ AquaGirl

I love your comments, spot on.

Mid Ga Retiree

January 16th, 2011
5:20 pm

Mr. Ralston is a breath of fresh air. He is rapidly bringing respectability back to the House. And, he has been around long enough to know to keep his back to the wall.

Dave from GT

January 18th, 2011
5:58 am

The state diverted 28 Million in fees from their intended purposes because:

“If the fees were used for their intended purposes, Harbin said, “We have to cut some more money somewhere else, and that’s going to be education, health care or transportation.””

How absurd is that…… and I bet the state pension fund was one of the places it was diverted to !

Wake Up Georgians !!

Jim S.

January 18th, 2011
6:20 pm

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