As the Georgia General Assembly convened Monday morning to ratify Gov. Brian Kemp’s call for a Public Health Emergency, the speaker of the House turned to a Columbus legislator to be a voice of calm amid the coronavirus crisis.
Rep. Calvin Smyre, a Democrat who elected in 1974 and has served longer than any other state lawmaker, delivered remarks and the prayer to open the Special Session.
“Ladies and gentlemen of this House, we are in uncertain times,” Smyre said. “This is a time for us to speak with one voice, to act with one heart, dedicated to the proposition that we must act. And we must act today.”
On Friday, Smyre was back in Columbus, going to a Country’s restaurant for barbecue when Kemp, a Republican, called him.
“I called you to let you know because of the state of our state, I must call you back into special session,” Smyre said. “I didn’t hesitate. I said, ‘Whatever I can do as a state leader, I am willing to do.”
Smyre called for unity in “unchartered waters.”
“As a state now, we have to speak with one voice,” Smyre said.