Governor announces sickle cell research chair to be named for Columbus lawmaker Calvin Smyre

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COLUMBUS, Ga. WRBL) — Longtime Columbus lawmaker Calvin Smyre was honored by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Tuesday morning.

The Georgia Research Alliance, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University and Morehouse School of Medicine have developed sickle cell disease research position that will be named in part for Smyre.

It’s part of a broader effort to fight sickle cell disease in Georgia.

The Smyre chair will have joint appointments at Children’s Healthcare, Emory and Morehouse.

It the chair is funded by a public-private partnership that include $500,000 in next year’s state budget.

Smyre is the longest serving member of the Georgia General Assembly and sits on the Morehouse Medical College board.

Kemp, a Republican governor, says Smyre, despite being in the opposite party, is a key player in Atlanta.

“He always tells me he’s the glue that holds things together and there’s a lot of truth to that,” Kemp said. “He has obviously served with a lot of governors on both sides of the aisle. He knows how to make things work in the General Assembly.”

Smyre was pleased to receive the honor from Gov. Brian Kemp, but tried to deflect the recognition.

“If you ever see a turtle sitting on a fence post, you know that he or she did not get there by themselves,” Smyre said repeating an often-used line of his. “Somebody has put the turtle there. … He has been a great representative for this part of the state, but he’s also represented the entire state.”

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