Speaker Ralston receives support from state leaders

David Ralston, who represents Fannin, Gilmer and part of Dawson counties in Georgia’s House of Representatives, says he is “going to keep doing the job” voters elected him to do, despite another round of allegations against him.

Ralston, who serves as Speaker of the House, was referring to a pair of State Bar complaints alleging he abused his legislative privilege to delay court cases. (See related stories).

Ralston is limited in what he can say because of the status of the complaints, but commented, “I look forward to being able to talk freely and in detail when this is resolved. (We have) a Bar complaint factory at work.”

The Speaker is “optimistic this will be resolved soon and favorably.”

He also expressed his appreciation to everyone who has shared words of support and encouragement. “It means a lot” he said of support “everywhere I go in Blue Ridge.”

James Balli, the Marietta attorney who is representing Ralston against the State Bar grievances, shared his concern over what he sees as an abuse of the system with “no basis for a Bar complaint.”

“It’s not nearly the bright line that these people on social media rush to say it is,” Balli said. He said the “group” he believes is behind the complaints are those always screaming loudest about liberty. But the allegations and the attention involved with ongoing attacks on Ralston paint a philosophy of “guilty until proven innocent.” That’s not what the Constitution says, Balli commented.

Ralston has received support from others as allegations of abusing legislative leave privileges have been flung at him over the last several months.

Former Gov. Nathan Deal said of those making the allegations, “Those are opportunists looking for blood, and you better be careful of anybody who, with the smell of blood, will abandon principles, because they are not the kind of people that you want to have leading anything.”

Former Gov. Roy Barnes and Gov. Brian Kemp have also stood beside the Speaker. But perhaps the person most surprising to Ralston’s opponents of those refusing to join the attack is Democrat Stacey Abrams.

In an interview with
Denis O’Hayer on WABE-FM, and quoted on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website, Abrams said “As lawyers, we are called upon to use our best judgment and to use the training we have to determine how to best serve our clients. As legislators, we are called upon to be responsive to the needs of the state, but to also manage our private practices.

“I believe that David Ralston will make the decision that is the best calibration of those two responsibilities ... I would leave it to him to make that decision.

“I would leave it to Speaker Ralston to determine if he’s meeting his obligations both as an attorney and as a legislator.”

Abrams’ comments, and those of Deal, came after a resolution demanding Ralston step down as Speaker was introduced by 10 members of the House, one of which was later removed on request.

Times Courier

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