In his typical bulldog like demeanor, Speaker David Ralston charged the Republicans in attendance at the 9th District convention with marching orders for the future success of the party. He began with a reminiscent look back to the dismal beginnings of the party and warned that, while Republicans have control in Georgia currently, changes must be made to continue its dominance. Speaking to party unity, Ralston used his fiery demeanor to excite the 9th district GOPers, and to proclaim his disgust of republicans attacking fellow republicans while the democrats are ignored.
Speaker Ralston also gave a directive to the members of the General Assembly; he blamed them for allowing lobbyists to interfere with potential gun legislation that failed in the State Senate this session. The bill he was referring to was HB 512, the Safe Carry Protection Act, that would allow those in possession of a concealed carry permit to carry a firearm into churches, bars and many areas on a college campus. A major opponent to the bill was the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. This may be the “lobbyists” that Speaker Ralston was referring to. He also vowed an end to the State Income Tax in order for Georgia to remain economically competitive with neighboring states. Ending the Income Tax was a popular theme throughout the convention. Several speakers mentioned it in their addresses to the delegates, and the convention also passed a resolution in favor of the “Fair Tax” that would repeal the state tax on income and introduce an elevated sales tax.
Martha Zoller’s ZPolitics Takeaway: Read more on my thoughts on the Speaker’s appearance at the 9th District Convention. Speaker Ralston is a measured person. He’s worked his way up through the ranks of the Republican party. He fought a sitting Republican Speaker Glenn Richardson and he’s managed the House well. Is everyone happy, of course not. When you make tough decisions, not everyone will like you. History will decide if he’s picked his battles well.