Mr. President this morning I reluctantly rise on a point of personal privilege that I feel compelled to make in the wake of events of the past few weeks.
First, I would like to say that it is an honor and a privilege to serve in this Senate, not a right, and I take that very seriously. This is a great deliberative body and I appreciate the service of every one of my colleagues, including the Senator from the Ninth.
Second, I want to thank the Lieutenant Governor, the President Pro Tempore, the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader for the example they set for this body with their leadership and the way in which they conduct themselves every day. It continues to be a distinct honor to serve with each and every one of you.
Third, I have tremendous respect for our judicial system. I chose a profession that involves working within that system every day. In addition to the oath I have sworn as a State Senator, I swore an oath as an attorney to be a part of that judicial system. The case involving the Senator from the Ninth has been through the entire judicial process and with the conclusion of the jury trial I believe it is time to close the door on this ugly episode and get back to work.
However, since an accusation of “political gamesmanship” has been made regarding this matter, I think it is imperative that before we move on that the record be made clear. As to the suggestion that what occurred in this case was the result of “political gamesmanship” nothing could be further from the truth and to pretend otherwise brings discredit upon this body and its members.
The Senate Ethics Committee in its wisdom unanimously chose to take action in the light of serious accusations regarding the violation of the Rules of the Senate and Georgia law. The Senate Ethics Committee, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Attorney General all discharged their duty as required by Georgia law. To state that they did anything short of that or were motivated by any other consideration would be disingenuous.
I will always seek truth and justice in any matter I am called upon by virtue of my service in the State Senate, no matter the consequences. With respect to this matter the truth, which has never been disputed, perhaps an uncomfortable truth but an inescapable truth is that the Rules of the Senate were broken and Georgia law was ignored. Every member of this body and the people of this state deserve better than that.
I appreciate the opportunity to address this matter today and just as Jefferson and Adams did years after their contentious relationship, it is now time for all of us to renew our fellowship with one another and work hard every day on public policy to set a standard so that the citizens of this state can again be proud of their State Senate. Thank you.