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Georgia state Sen. Gloria Butler to end long run as lawmaker at the end of the year

(Credit: Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder)

Stanley Dunlap, Georgia Recorder
February 27, 2024

Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler announced Tuesday that she will retire at the end of the year after serving 26 years in the Georgia Legislature.

The veteran Stone Mountain Democrat announced her retirement in the Senate Chamber shortly after her Democratic colleagues helped advance a sports betting resolution to the House that prioritizes revenue being used to fully fund Georgia’s pre-K program, a long supported priority of her political party.

Butler spent 19 years in various caucus leadership roles before being elected in 2020 to become the first woman to lead either caucus in the Georgia Senate. She has served on committees and panels related to mental health, children welfare advocacy, workforce development and education, according to her biography.

Butler’s role as Minority Leader the last four years meant heading up the charge in promoting Democratic legislative priorities at a time when Republicans dominated control of the state Capitol.

“I had an extraordinary journey at the Capitol. I didn’t have a clue I would stay more than the designated 10 years I gave myself. Instead I’m working on 26,” the 82-year-old said on the Senate chamber floor.

Butler’s final legislative session is scheduled to end on March 28 and the general primary for all state legislative seats is set for May 21. Butler’s Senate district is heavily Democratic-leaning, encompassing sections of DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.

Butler said she is happy to offer advice about who should replace her as Minority Leader if the caucus members asked for it. As for her Senate seat, she said it would be up to her district’s voters to decide who best represents them for the next two years.

Butler said she hopes that her legacy as a Black woman who rose to a significant role in state politics will inspire other girls and women to serve in public office.

“I have a great grandkid and she may even want to step into that role,” Butler said during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. “Maybe she can look back one day and say my great grandmother was the minority leader in the Senate Caucus in whatever year. That would be a huge, huge, jewel in my crown.”

Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, a Butts County Republican, praised Butler for her friendship and leadership during their time in the Senate together.

“If everybody could get along as we do in this chamber then this world would probably  be a better place and that’s because of your leadership and your even keel approach on things,” Jones said.

Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Georgia Recorder maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John McCosh for questions: Follow Georgia Recorder on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Georgia Recorder under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.