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David Ralston, speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, dies

Gov. Brian Kemp has ordered all flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, who died on Wednesday following an extended illness. He was 68. The news comes less than two weeks after he announced he wouldn't seek re-election as leader of the lower chamber due to health concerns.

Ralston, a self-described "country lawyer" from the Blue Ridge Mountains, studied law at the University of Georgia before eventually becoming the longest currently serving state house speaker in the country. He helped set Georgia's legislative agenda for 13 years, pushing for expansion of mental health services and paid parental leave.

With Ralston’s death, Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, a Republican from Milton, temporarily becomes speaker.

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