by T.A. DeFeo


Georgia Republicans and Democrats have elected new leaders for the 2023-24 legislative term.

Republicans selected Sen. John F. Kennedy, R-Macon, as president pro tempore of the Senate. State senators will vote on his nomination once the next legislative session starts on Jan. 9.

Republicans elected Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, as majority leader; Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula, as majority whip; Sen. Jason Anavitarte, R-Dallas, as majority caucus chair; Sen. Matt Brass, R-Newnan, as majority caucus vice chairman; and Sen. Dean Burke, R-Bainbridge, as majority caucus treasurer.

“The upcoming legislative session will be a historic one, with new leaders in both the Senate and the House,” Kennedy said in a release. “However, I see this as a great opportunity to forge new partnerships and build on the great work of our predecessors to continue to grow our state.”

In the lower legislative chamber, Republicans nominated Rep. Jon Burns, R-Newington, as House speaker and Rep. Jan Jones, R-Milton, as speaker pro tempore. Burns replaces Rep. David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, who passed away earlier this month and did not plan to seek another term as speaker.

State representatives will vote on the speaker and speaker pro tempore when the House convenes on Jan. 9 for the new session.

Republicans also elected Rep. Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula, as majority leader; Rep. James Burchett, R-Waycross, as majority whip; Rep. Bruce Williamson, R-Monroe, as majority caucus chairman; Rep. Houston Gaines, R-Athens, as majority caucus vice chairman; and Rep. Ginny Ehrhart, R-Marietta, as majority caucus secretary and treasurer.

Democrats elected Rep. Billy Mitchell, D-Stone Mountain, as minority caucus chairman; Rep. Karen Bennett, D-Stone Mountain, as minority caucus vice-chairman; Rep. Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville, as minority whip; Rep. Sandra Scott, D-Rex, as minority chief deputy whip; Rep. Park Cannon, D-Atlanta, as minority caucus secretary; and Rep. Shea Roberts, D-Atlanta, as minority caucus treasurer.

“This caucus is the vanguard for change, and our diversity is our strength,” Park said in a release. “We stand united in our common cause of creating a better Georgia.”

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T.A. DeFeo is a contributor to The Center Square.