A Georgia political icon is retiring from public service

Georgia's longest serving statewide official -- Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin -- is retiring from office. When political candidate qualifying ended at noon on Friday, it was the first time in more than 50 years that Irvin had not paid his qualifying fee to run for public office in our state. Irvin, the longest serving Commissioner of Agriculture in the U.S., was elected to his first public office in 1956 as a member of the Habersham County Board of Education. He served four terms in the Georgia House representing Habersham County in north Georgia. The tall, lanky Georgia giant of a man then was elected to 10, four-year terms as our state's Commissioner of Agriculture. Irvin, a Democrat, was in Newnan Thursday evening, attending the Spring Adams Supper at the Newnan Utilities Cabin. The supper, which was sponsored by Newnan Utilities, Alston and Bird, Piedmont Newnan Hospital, Piedmont Physicians Group and United Community Bank, is a gathering of local folks and political types from Georgia and the surrounding metro Atlanta area. Irvin has been a regular at the local Adams Supper through the years, always enjoying the food, the fellowship and the politicking. For years he has been a fixture throughout Georgia at events -- such as the Adams Supper -- in communities big and small. He always talks up agricultural products and all the good that is going on in our state.
Thursday evening Irvin enjoyed his visit to Newnan, chatting with people and reflecting on his long career of public service. Asked what he planned to do in retirement when he leaves office at the end of the year, he replied, "I don't know yet." Tommy Irvin may be stepping down from public office, but don't be surprised if you see this distinguished Georgian at many more functions around our state. He will be there championing his beloved state and enjoying the fellowship of his fellow Georgians who elected him to public office again and again.


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