Zell Miller

Dave Williams of Capitol Beat News Service provided this content for Polk.Today and other readers around Georgia to enjoy. Find additional state and political news at Capitol-beat.org.

ATLANTA – Legislation calling for a statue honoring the late Gov. Zell Miller to be placed on the grounds of the Georgia Capitol cleared the General Assembly Wednesday.

The state House of Representatives passed the bill 172-1 and sent it on to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk for his signature. The measure originated in the Georgia Senate, which passed it unanimously early this month.

Miller, a Democrat who served both as Georgia’s 79th governor and as a U.S. senator, died in 2018 at age 86 after battling Parkinson’s disease.

During two terms as governor in the 1990s, he spearheaded the creation of the popular HOPE Scholarship program, funded through the Georgia Lottery.

“Zell Miller has been called the governor who gave Georgia HOPE,” House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge,” said from the House floor before Wednesday’s vote. “Zell Miller had a view of this state where your opportunities were only limited by your willingness to work.”

Before ascending to the Governor’s Mansion in 1990, Miller served four terms as Georgia’s lieutenant governor.

After eight years as governor, Miller was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2000 by then Gov. Roy Barnes following the sudden death of Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell. He decided not to seek election to a full six-year term in 2004.

Senate Bill 140, introduced by Sen. Jeff Mullis R-Chickamauga, calls for a six-member committee to choose the design of the statue.

Two members will be appointed by the House speaker and two will be named by the lieutenant governor. The final two members – one from the House and one from the Senate – will be chosen by the governor.

The bill also stipulates that no public funding go toward the statue. The money is to be raised through private donations.

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