Lawmakers remember former Sen. Johnny Isakson

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia leaders reacted with sadness Monday following word of the death of longtime Republican leader Johnny Isakson, who spent more than 40 years in public service, with his career ending in 2019 in the U.S. Senate.

Isakson died Sunday peacefully in his sleep, according to family members. He was 76.

“I think that’s what really sums it up is all of us in politics wanted to emulate him. You know, we’d all like to be thought of as a statesman but very few really are. He truly was a statesman,” said Georgia Congressman Buddy Carter, a Republican who said he was given help, support and mentoring from Isakson when Carter was elected to the House of Representatives.

Isakson was forced to resign in 2019 from the Senate due to health complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was not able to complete his third term.

Gov. Brian Kemp said: “Georgia has lost a giant and a leader dedicated to making the state and country better than he found it.”

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who won the special election to officially fill out Isakson’s term, called Isakson “an upstanding elected official and an even better man.”

In his farewell speech in the Senate in 2019, Isakson told fellow senators that “governing is not a popularity contest, but this is a will of minds. Bipartisanship is a state of being, it’s a state of mind.”

“Judge your conscience and your heart, not some TV commentator’s,” said Isakson then.

Isakson’s style and bipartisanship may seem out of place in today’s partisan-charged Congress, but Carter says his legacy is definitely noticed

“We can learn from an example like Johnny Isakson that you’ve got to find common ground, you’ve got to work together, you’ve got to resolve these things,” said Carter, “and he was great at doing that.”

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