James Magazine Mar Apr 2020 - Page 42

The year was 1974. A desire for public service led
32-year-old Atlanta native Johnny Isakson to run
for a seat on the Cobb County Commission. The
University of Georgia graduate lost but two years
later ran for the Georgia House of Representatives
and won. That was the genesis of a 45-year
career in public service packed with one significant accomplishment after another.
He served for 22 years as the hard-charging president of Northside Realty, one of the most successful realty companies in the Southeast. But more
success was to come to this Republican businessman in the world of politics and policy. Adept at
establishing personal relationships across partisan lines, he served for seven terms in the
Georgia House— including four as minority
leader— and one term in the state Senate. But
service in Washington, D.C., beckoned.
Johnny Isakson was elected to a seat in Congress
in 1999 to represent a suburban Atlanta district.
Five years later, he won a U.S. Senate seat which
he held until his retirement on December 31,
2019. The senator’s impact on federal and state
business policy, foreign policy and global leadership, healthcare, education and in numerous
other spheres is immeasurable.
Let’s remember, too, that veterans’ affairs is one
of this servant leader’s signature issues. The
senator became chairman of the Veterans’
Affairs Committee and under his leadership
Congress passed significant reforms to improve
Veterans Administration accountability and
access to care.
One of his Senate colleagues recently remarked
that “we’re going to watch you in your retirement
as that velvet hammer continues to nail things
that are good for his beloved Georgia and for the
United States of America.” Well said.
We salute you, Senator Johnny Isakson.


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