HIAWASSEE, Ga. – State Representative Matt Gurtler, branded the “rebel” of the Georgia House, was the sole Republican to vote against the re-election of House Speaker David Ralston, Jan. 14. Ralston represents District 7, encompassing parts of Dawson County, Fannin County, and Gilmer County, and has served as Speaker of the House since 2010.
“The Speaker’s role is that of a facilitator, to ensure the legislative process is respected,” Gurtler stated, “While I understand the power dynamic that is politics, to say that we need to raise our standards is an understatement. If one individual controls the entire process, does that not undo the framework our government was founded on? A representative government with limited, delegated powers, derived from the people. This applies within the legislative bodies and between the legislative bodies – separation of powers.”
Notably, Gurtler and Ralston butted heads during the 2018 primary election cycle, with Ralston openly supporting Gurtler’s challenger. Despite opposition from state leaders, Gurler was re-elected to serve a second-term representing the citizens of District 8. “As always, my votes are based on principle, merit, and policy, and I simply cannot approve of this type of dictatorial rule,” Gurtler explained,” I’ve seen it and experienced it firsthand. This isn’t surprising. It’s the reality and product of big government, and it’s a big reason why people hate politics. For those reasons, we must take a stand, and that is why I voted against Representative Ralston as I enter my second term, even though I gave him the benefit of the doubt the first time.”
In addition to Gurtler, nine Democratic House members opposed the re-election of Speaker Ralston, with Ralston securing the office with 170 favorable votes.
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