House Speaker David Ralston at a Georgia Chamber earlier this month. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Ralston caps triumphant day with Zell Miller award 

It was a day House Speaker David Ralston probably won’t soon forget.

On Monday morning, the Senate bent to the House’s will and approved a measure that Ralston championed, ending a yearlong standoff between the chambers that frustrated lawmakers on both sides of the Gold Dome. 

On Monday evening, the Blue Ridge Republican was honored with an award in honor of former U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, praised as a respected and fair-minded leader by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.

The February 2nd, 2018 edition of Georgia Legislative Week in Review with Mark Neisse, Maya T. Prabhu and the Phrase of the Week by James Salzer. Video by Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com

It was an emotional cap to a long fight over a House measure to update Georgia’s outdated adoption rules, a seemingly non-contentious idea that grew controversial when a dose of “religious liberty” was injected into it. 

The Senate relented earlier this year and took out that contested provision. But the impasse continued until Monday when Senate leaders voted to adopt the House plan. 

At the end of a long day, Ralston seemed touched by the award, which was bestowed by the Miller Institute Foundation in honor of the former governor and senator who, like Ralston, hails from the mountains of north Georgia.

Ralston confessed he never once voted for the Democrat - and had to be “taken to the woodshed” to back Miller’s legislation when he was lieutenant governor - but that he developed a deep respect for Miller that crossed the partisan gulf. 

“I may have gotten to the dance a little late,” Ralston said of Miller, “but I’m proud to be a part of your legacy.”

More: The Zell Miller Institute aims to be a new player in Georgia politics
More: Family: Zell Miller's public life has come to an end

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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