Johnny Isakson, former GOP senator from Georgia, dies at age 76

Republicans in Georgia lost one of their own this weekend when former U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson died at the age of 76.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Isakson had died following a years-long struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

The former Atlanta businessman served in the Senate from 2005 until 2019 after having previously spent time in the House of Representatives and the Georgia state legislature.

Isakson remembered for his good nature

The AJC also made mention of how Isakson was known as a good-natured peacemaker, citing his motto, “There are two types of people in this world: friends and future friends.”

“He was one of the only GOP officials who would regularly attend the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day ceremonies at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, and was known to invite Democrats like Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms as his plus-ones to the State of the Union address,” the AJC reported.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told the AJC in 2019, “If you had a vote in the Senate on who’s the most respected and well-liked member, Johnny would win probably 100 to nothing.”

McConnell went on to remark that his fellow Republican’s “demeanor is quite different from what most people expect of politicians.”

Lawmakers offer condolences

According to the Washington Examiner, news of Isakson’s death prompted kind words of remembrance from lawmakers including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), who wrote in a tweet, “No one I have served with in the Senate was kinder or more universally respected by his colleagues than Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp spoke up as well, with his office issuing a statement praising Isakson’s legacy. “Georgia has lost a giant, one of its greatest statesmen, and a servant leader dedicated to making his state and country better than he found it,” Kemp said.

Republicans were not alone in speaking well of Isakson, who was known for his willingness to cross the political aisle to work on legislation. Also paying tribute to the late senator was Democrat Georgia gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams.

“U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson served the whole of Georgia with attention and fairness,” Abrams declared in a tweet early on Sunday morning, as the Examiner reported.

“With every interaction, my respect for him grew and never wavered,” she added. “Though we held different ideologies, I was honored to call him friend. God’s peace to his family, loved ones and friends.”

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