Majority Leader Ronnie Chance leaving state Senate

Senate Majority Leader Ronnie Chance said Wednesday that he will not seek re-election this year, ending a decade of work in the chamber.

The Tyrone Republican owns an Atlanta-based public relations firm and said he is returning to private life to spend more time with his wife and young children. Chance served as an administrative floor leader for both Gov. Sonny Perdue and Gov. Nathan Deal before he took his current position, which is among the most powerful in the Senate. He’s also seen colleagues, including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, a former state senator, rise prominently in Georgia.

“We cannot forget why we’re here or who we’re representing,” Chance said from the Senate floor, where he uncharacteristically used notes to keep from getting too emotional. It didn’t work. Senators still gave him a standing ovation.

Deal said in a statement that “Ronnie has served the people of his district with distinction for 10 years.”

“As a majority leader and as a committee chairman, Ronnie has led and shaped laws that benefit the entire state of Georgia,” Deal said. “As a floor leader for my administration, he worked with me to pass legislation that saved the HOPE Scholarship for the next generation of our best and brightest students. I’ve known Ronnie since he was an aide to former Congressman Mac Collins, so he’s not just a colleague but also a friend. I thank him for his years of service, and I wish him and his family all the best.”

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, meanwhile, praised Chance “as an effective and trusted leader in the General Assembly’s upper chamber (who) played a critical role in countless policy issues we have confronted as a state.”

“While we in the Senate will miss his principled leadership, wise counsel and relentless commitment to moving our state forward,” Cagle said, “I wish him the very best as he returns to private life and know that he looks forward to spending more time with his lovely wife, Cressida, and their three precious daughters.”

Reed, too, wished Chance well. In a statement, he said: “I served in the state Senate with Ronnie for five years and we worked together on a number of vital bipartisan issues for the state of Georgia. Senator Chance has always been a committed and tireless advocate for his constituents in the metropolitan Atlanta region. He is a thoughtful and well-respected public servant. Although he is formally stepping away from elected office, I know he will continue to be a valuable asset to his community and to the state of Georgia.”

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