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11 December 2009

Macon Telegraph Endorses Larry O'Neal For House Speaker

This would be news only if the Macon Telegraph editorial board didn't endorse a middle Georgia legislator. However, that is not the case. Thursday morning, a middle Georgia newspaper threw its backing behind a lawmaker from neighboring Houston County to be the next Speaker of the Georgia House.

Three representatives have expressed interest in the job: Rep. Tommy Smith, R-Nicholls, Bill Hembree, R-Winston, and Houston County’s own Larry O’Neal. Rep. David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, who challenged Richardson in 2008 may also seek the position. All of the people are fine gentlemen, however, O’Neal is the best of the bunch for a number of reasons. For Middle Georgia residents, having the governor and speaker of the house from the same community is a plus, even during times of extreme economic distress. More importantly, O’Neal would bring an entirely different demeanor to the office. Richardson is a caustic personality who was constantly at odds with the governor and others — even his fellow Republicans in the House. He used his position to punish and reward his colleagues and didn’t mind calling them out when they strayed. O’Neal is so different from Richardson he could be called the anti-Richardson. He’s chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and would bring his expertise of the tax code to bear on the current economic crisis. He’s also clean as the proverbial whistle, something his party needs right now. He is also someone the party can rally around. Always the gentleman, O’Neal is well respected and utterly capable.

Richardson, Charles E. (2009-12-11). State GOP can get on the right track today. Macon Telegraph. Retrieved on 2009-12-11.

State Representative Larry O'Neal may appear to be clean as the proverbial whistle; however, it was O'Neal who presided over the chamber when Glenn Richardson pushed through his vindictive rules change that banned reporters from the House floor. And, it was O'Neal that got Gov. Perdue his secret, middle-of-the-night tax break.

With all due respect to the Macon Telegraph editorial board, Larry O'Neal has a little dirt on his shoes and may not be the best choice to lead the Georgia House.