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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Senate Press Office release about Dick Pettys retiring at the end of the current session -- We'll miss you Dick. You are among Georgia's elite.

From InsiderAdvantage Georgia that consists of a press release from the Senate Press Office discussing Senate Resolution 1199 and the topic thereof -- A Life in Politics ("A RESOLUTION recognizing and commending Mr. Richard "Dick" Pettys on the occasion of his retirement from InsiderAdvantageGeorgia and covering the General Assembly; and for other purposes . . . .:):

In 1969, a young man with long hair representing the times began a journey that would take him through four decades of the highs and lows of politics and government in Georgia. That young man, now 62, was recognized in the Georgia Senate today with Senate Resolution 1199, honoring him for nearly 40 years of balanced and accurate reporting on Georgia politics and the business of the General Assembly. Dick Pettys, the “Dean” of Capitol Press Corps, has announced that the 2008 legislative session – Dick’s 40th session – will be his last.

“The response in the chamber today showed just how much the Senate respects and appreciates Dick Pettys,” says Lieutenant Governor Cagle. “He has not only provided exceptional coverage of our Capitol for many years, but he has also become a good and trusted friend to many of us. Our chamber simply will not be the same without him and I hope he knows how very much he will be missed.”

Those who’ve worked in and around the Capitol for the last several years know Pettys’ work very well, while some of the fresher faces are just getting to know the high standards and superior news writing abilities that have made him one of the go-to source for news on the General Assembly and state government.

“When you read my father’s articles, you feel like you’ve read all three sides of the story – the right side, the left side and the truth,” said Pettys’ son, Richard R. Pettys, Jr. “He never liked to talk about politics and what was going on in the state at home, but I know that because of him I’ve always had a keen interest in politics. Here’s an example, on August 8, 1974, my father raced home to put his three sons in front of the TV set to watch President Richard Nixon deliver his resignation speech to the nation. He said it was something important, something historic that we should watch, and ever since then I’ve been an observer of elections and politics in our state.”

Dick attended the University of Georgia, where he worked on the student newspaper, The Red and Black. He began his first job in newspapers in 1965 when he began working for a chain of three weekly newspapers in Gwinnett County, which soon became the Gwinnett Daily News. He covered everything from traffic wrecks to moonshine still busts to county commissions and elections. In 1969 he joined The Associated Press, and the following year was named capitol correspondent for Georgia. In that capacity, he covered every governor from Lester Maddox to Sonny Perdue, and every legislative session from 1971 to the present (plus many, many special sessions.) Pettys retired from AP at the end of October 2005 and went to work immediately for Insider Advantage. He is married to the former Stephanie Suessmith, and they have three grown children: Richard R. Jr., William Howland and Chip.

“I don’t know what the White House did without Helen Thomas, and I don’t know what we’re going to do without Dick Pettys,” added Sen. Eric Johnson (R-Savannah). “He understands what we do; he reports it fairly; he reports it accurately and that’s all we would ever ask of members of the media. It’s really going to be a different chamber without Dick Pettys back there.”

Though Dick’s retirement was announced today, he plans stay on with Insider Advantage through the remainder of 2008.

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