Local Black elected officials mourn the loss of Georgia State Legislator Richard Smith

Local Black elected officials mourn the loss of Georgia State Legislator Richard Smith

By Wane A. Hailes

The Courier


Richard Smith, a member of the Georgia House of Representatives has passed away. He was 78 years old.


Smith was first elected in 2004 to represent the 139th District which included parts of Muscogee and Harris counties. He served as the chairman of the House Rules Committee since 2020. As chairman, his committee controlled what legislation would be considered by the full House.


Prior to serving in the Georgia legislature, he served as the interim city manager for the Columbus consolidated government from 1989-1990. From 1999-2022 he served on the Columbus City Council. 


Statement of Congressman Sanford D. Bishop

“Today, our great state lost a dedicated and long-time public servant who was a giant in the General Assembly. For over twenty years, he worked hard on behalf of Georgians and earned the respect of legislators and leaders from both sides of the aisle.


“I was fortunate to have worked with him throughout the years to help improve the quality of life in the Chattahoochee Valley and beyond. His legacy of service to the people of our area throughout his career is rich and will inure to the benefit of generations now and yet to come.


“My wife, Vivian, and I share our condolences with his wife, Clara, their children, family, friends, and those mourning his loss. He will be missed.”


Statement of former Rules Chairman/Rep. Calvin Smyre 

“At this time words can’t adequately express my pain and sadness this morning when I learned of the passing of my dear friend, Chairman Richard Smith. He was a steady hand and trusted colleague for me over many years. We shared a great friendship. My prayers and thoughts are with Clara and the entire Smith family. He will be dearly missed in the Columbus community, the General Assembly and the State of Georgia.”


Statement of State Representative Carolyn Hugley.

“My colleagues and I are saddened over the loss of Representative Richard Smith who was a tireless advocate for Columbus.  He was a great leader not only for Columbus but for the entire State of Georgia and he will be greatly missed.  Our hearts and prayers go out to his dear wife Clara and his family during this difficult time.”


Statement of State Representative Teddy Reese.

“Rep. Richard Smith was a giant amongst men and leaders. His legacy will forever be remembered in Columbus and the State of Georgia. The Chattahoochee Valley is advanced and improved due to his public service. His leadership and spirit of delegation cooperation is one to remember and emulate.”


Statement of State Senator Ed Harbison

“Representative Richard Smith was a vital cog in our legislative delegation. He was a key component to our success in passing legislation that was vital to our community. As a colleague, he was sincerely a good guy, reliable and committed to our city.”

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