Georgia lawmakers remember former Sen. Johnny Isakson

Published: Dec. 19, 2021 at 4:29 PM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Former Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) died Sunday, his family announced on social media.

Isakson was a former real estate executive who served 17 years in the statehouse in Atlanta. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1990 before beginning his congressional career in 1999.

Throughout his tenure, Isakson chaired the Veteran’s Affairs Committee and worked to improve veteran access to health care. He’s best known for his work on immigration and education policy.

Isakson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015. Citing health concerns, he resigned at the end of 2019.

During his farewell address to Congress, Isakson said, “Bipartisanship will become a way you accomplish things; it will be the end of a bad time and the beginning of a new one. And I’m going to live long enough to see both.”

The Gray Television Washington News Bureau was there in December 2019 as colleagues and family gathered for Isakson’s goodbye party.

At that time, Isakson’s oldest son, John, told us, “For him, I think it’s been fulfilling.”

Shortly after the news of Isakson’s passing Sunday, Georgia’s current senators paid tribute. Sen. John Ossoff (D-Ga.) remembered Isakson for “putting his state and his country ahead of self and party.” And Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) said he “[worked] across the aisle to get things done.”

Georgia’s 12th Congressional District Rep. Rick Allen (R) worked alongside Isakson during Isakson’s last few years in office.

“His ability to communicate the problem, particularly to the folks on the other side of the aisle, and to work towards solution was, unfortunately, that’s a disappearing act in Congress these days,” Allen said.

After he left Congress, Isakson launched the Isakson Initiative to raise awareness and funding for research related to neurocognitive diseases.

Isakson was 76-years-old.

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