Ehrhart, longest serving Republican in Georgia House, is retiring

Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs

Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs

Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, a conservative and sometimes controversial voice for Cobb County for three decades in the House, is retiring after this year.

His wife, Ginny, is running to replace him.

Candidates are qualifying for this year’s elections at the Capitol this week, and Ehrhart, the longest serving Republican in the chamber, announced his retirement after 30 years in the House Monday.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve my neighbors in Cobb County and the people of Georgia for the last 30 years,” Ehrhart said. “I have always tried to do what I thought was best for my constituents by building a better economy, keeping us safe, improving public education, and promoting family values.”

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During his career, Ehrhart has served as the House Republican Whip, chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, and as chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that handles funding for higher education. In that role, he has been a strong ally of Kennesaw State University.

He has been referred to as the 20th Regent - as in the University System Board of Regents - because of his frequent involvement in college issues.

He's regularly used his political power to influence policies he doesn't like at Georgia's colleges and universities, whether public or private, and things he does like.

Loved by conservatives, often loathed by liberals, Ehrhart has been outspoken on a host of system issues, from campus rape to freedom of speech to the arts, and he used his position to influence how colleges punish students, protect victims of rape and spend their money.