What Others Are Saying

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Moultrie Observer: Jim Zachary: Johnny Isakson sets bar high for integrity

As published in the Moultrie Observer


Government, politics and the world would be a better place if there were more people like Johnny Isakson.

Isakson, who announced his retirement from the U.S. Senate this week, is a man of unique, and refreshing, integrity.

He treats others with respect and dignity, regardless of their station in life or political persuasion.

He has served the state of Georgia with distinction and honor.

Following the surprise announcement that he will retire at the end of the year because of health concerns, both Republicans and Democrats lauded him for his years of public service and for the manner in which he has served.

Lawmakers from both parties call him a friend.

He is respected across the aisle.

Even if you disagree with him politically, it is very hard not to just genuinely like the man.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called him kind and thoughtful.

That does not mean that Isakson was not tough and dogged in his pursuit of his legislative agenda.

He championed U.S. veterans and the military.

While he was loyal to his Republican party, he legislated more on principle than party and often worked to build consensus even when the GOP power brokers would have preferred he kept his distance from Democrats.

But that simply is not who Johnny Isakson is.

All lawmakers — federal, state, local — should take a page out of the Johnny Isakson playbook.

In addition to the fact that he treats even his political opponents with respect, watching him interact with the general public is inspiring.

Several years ago, touring a small private school with him and his staff in metro Atlanta, the senator kept his remarks to a minimum and walked around the school listening to teachers, bending down to small students and asking them questions, and then doing what adults often don’t do, really listening to their answers, giving a clear demonstration not only of the kind of public servant he is but the kind of person he is and the way he lives his life.

Isakson has surrounded himself with a staff who operate in much the same way. He and his professional office staff have always been open, transparent and willing to listen to the concerns of the public.

While the senator has consistently been pretty good on the stump, an engaging public speaker and quick on his feet, what really sets him apart — more than his words — are his actions, his conduct, his example.

In retirement, he will be missed by Republicans, Democrats, veterans, the military, the media and just about everyone else who ever had a chance to work with him.

He will be leaving behind a great example and a call for all of us to work each day to be the best versions of ourselves.

Johnny Isakson, a man of integrity.