Cobb Rep. Bobby Franklin found dead in home
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
July 26, 2011 05:16 PM | 12499 views | 12 12 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
EAST COBB — State Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-east Cobb), who was found dead at his home just before noon on Tuesday at the age of 56, had complained about chest pains on Friday.

State Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth), chairman of the Cobb Legislative Delegation, said on Friday that Franklin had spoken about his chest pains with a church friend.

When the friend, who is a nurse, suggested he visit the hospital and he refused, she said they would talk more about his condition on Sunday at Chalcedon Presbyterian Church in Cumming.

“Well, he didn’t show up for church on Sunday, which certainly isn’t uncharacteristic,” Setzler said. “He was sometimes erratic. Sometimes he would go to Chalcedon, sometimes he would go to Hope Presbyterian.”

When friends tried to reach him on Monday but couldn’t, they called his friend, Pat Gartland, who serves on the Cobb Board of Elections. Gartland volunteered to drive over to check on Franklin on Tuesday. But when Gartland arrived at Franklin’s home at 4552 Cedar Knoll Drive around 11 a.m., he saw Franklin’s truck in the driveway.

“(Gartland) rang the doorbell, banged on the door, banged on the windows, went around back and looked through the glass and saw that (Franklin’s) laptop was turned on, sitting on the kitchen table, and said, ‘that didn’t look good,’” Setzler said.

Police were called and reportedly found Franklin dead in his bed, Setzler said.

“They surmised that he might have died Saturday night, but no one knows for sure,” Setzler said. “Bobby was a very private person. He had had some heart issues before.”

Cobb Police report no foul play and said the county medical examiner’s office had assumed control of the case.

Governor Deal has 10 days from Tuesday to announce the date of a special election. One possible date is Sept. 20, since that day is set in state law as the date cities and counties may hold special elections. But whatever date Deal chooses, the process will then be turned over to the Secretary of State’s office, with a period set for qualifying.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) said he heard the news Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve known Bobby for 24 years,” Ehrhart said. “I’m heartbroken. I feel for his kids … they just lost their dad. Bobby wasn’t the best at making friends with everybody, but I think he had a good heart, and I hope he’s going to a better place. I know he’s going to a better place. I mean, I hurt right now.”

Ehrhart said Franklin had been divorced for some time and his three children were grown, including a son who is in the Navy and stationed in California.

“He didn’t have a lot in his life right now,” Ehrhart said. “It’s shocking. How old was he? This gives you a real perspective on how short life really is.”

Like Ehrhart, Setzler said Franklin was a friend.

“He’s a dear, dear man,” Setzler said. “His legacy will clearly be one of principled conservatism. He was fond of saying that it’s never the right time to do the wrong thing. He was committed first to his Lord Jesus and second to liberty and he really, really believed in personal liberty and the wisdom this nation was founded on.”

Franklin’s public comments often caused an uproar, like in a February interview with the MDJ, in which he opined on abortion, gays in the military, and the importance of verifying that a president is born in the U.S.

Franklin objected to President Obama’s push to allow gays to serve in the military, comparing homosexuals to drug dealers and thieves and referring to their “unrepentant criminal behavior.”

“The Bible says it’s a capital offense,” Franklin said of homosexuality.

He regularly introduced legislation that sought to define abortion as murder.

A driver’s license was a government mandate he sought to do away with in his HB 7. Franklin said since the right to travel was enshrined in the Magna Carta in England in 1215, “licensing of drivers cannot be required of free people because taking on the restrictions of a license require the surrender of an inalienable right.”

Then there was his opposition to the government’s ability to require vaccinations during a pandemic, which spurred him to introduce HB 11, the Freedom from Compulsory Pandemic Act. Franklin believed the state was in violation of the law for failing to conduct transactions in gold or silver, which is why he authored HB 3, the Constitutional Tender Act, which would require state transactions to be conducted in gold or silver.

Franklin ran into trouble on the abortion topic in 2008, when state Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) introduced a bill dealing with dog fighting. When the bill reached the floor, Franklin said he tried to amend it by adding on his anti abortion bill. Speaker Glenn Richardson refused to recognize him, but Franklin appealed his ruling, which caused him to be stripped of his chairmanship of the House Reapportionment Committee.

Franklin complained that the new speaker, David Ralston, engaged in the same habit.

“He’s doing the same thing of not recognizing motions he doesn’t agree with instead of letting the elected House of Representatives vote on whether they want the motion or not,” Franklin said.

The son of a Coca-Cola salesman, Franklin, who had three children, was born in Birmingham, Alabama to Robert and Betty Franklin, along with two older sisters. He earned a degree in Biblical Studies and Business Administration from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain and moved to Cobb in 1992, where he was self-employed as a business consultant.

He was first elected to the Georgia House in 1996 to represent the 43rd District.

Franklin said his religious beliefs took root after a cover-to-cover reading of the Bible.

“It was basically taking the Scripture, saying OK, what does it say, and reading it through cover to cover each year, getting everything in context and saying this is what needs to be done personally, this is what needs to be done in the family, this is what needs to be done in the state, and the jurisdictions don’t mix, but all of us are accountable to God.”

In his February interview with the Journal, Franklin warned that the U.S. had adopted all 10 points of The Communist Manifesto, which is why in part he introduced HR 1 to eliminate property taxes.

“The first plank of the Communist Manifesto is the abolition of private property and if you tax it you’re claiming ownership over it,” he said. “Finish paying off your mortgage and don’t pay your rent to Cobb County. You’ll find out who owns it. We’ve really adopted all 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto in one form or another in this country.”

State Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-east Cobb) said she recalled a conversation with Franklin regarding his change of heart over Georgia’s former state flag.

“He originally was against changing the flag, but after careful thought, he decided that although the Confederate emblem was originally just a battle emblem, it had been used by organizations as a symbol of hatred down through the years and it needed to be totally removed from the Georgia flag,” Cooper said.

Therefore in 2003 Franklin helped design the current state flag. But he eventually voted against his own design because it moved “In God We Trust” to a less prominent location and made the text smaller, Cooper said.

“Bobby was a man of strong convictions,” Cooper said.

Despite his critics, Setzler said Franklin was not one to rant and rave.

“If people sat around and listened to Bobby and sat and reasoned with him to understand why he believed what he believed they might disagree, but Bobby had well defined principles — he was not unclear about what he believed, and he backed his beliefs up with a consistent belief system,” Setzler said. “People can’t say he was an ‘angry swinging radical.’ He was a very sweet man, and he was committed to dialogue but stood on principle.

House Democratic Caucus Leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) issued a statement saying he will be deeply missed.

“I am saddened to learn of the death of my House colleague Bobby Franklin,” Abrams said. “I counted him among my friends and found him to be an extremely principled person. Although many of his principles differed from my own, I had the occasion to work with Bobby on several pieces of legislation and consider those times to be among the high points of my career. Bobby was never deterred from pursuing the things he believed to be right. He was willing to question authority and challenge paradigms - two things I found to be very instructive.”

Gov. Deal also spoke of Franklin’s convictions.

“I was shocked and saddened to hear of Rep. Bobby Franklin’s death,” Deal said. “Bobby served the people of Georgia as a representative from Cobb County for nearly 15 years, and he never wavered in his conviction to his principles. He staunchly defended our Second Amendment rights, and he passionately promoted the sanctity of life. The unexpected loss of a colleague at such a young age compounds the tragedy. Sandra and I extend our sincerest condolences to the Franklin family; we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said: “Bobby Franklin was a man of deep faith, strong character, and unshakable convictions. He never shied away from standing up for what he believed in and always put principles before politics. Nita and I mourn his passing and have him and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”

And U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) said: “Bobby Franklin fought as hard as anyone for the principles in which he believed. He did so with valor and diligence. Betty and I are saddened at the news of his death and extend our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and constituents. His presence will be missed.”

Setzler said Chalcedon Presbyterian Church is in charge of arrangements.
Comments
(12)
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ice mann
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August 06, 2011
Good riddance to a dangerous man! Whoever elected this man should be institutionalized. If a member of the taliban was killed, we would celebrate. His dangerous beliefs put him in the same category.
Lib In Cobb
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August 01, 2011
Franlin was a backwward, ignorant right-wing nutcake. For example, investigating any woman who had a miscarriage. No christian would propose such a law. I know no atheist who would suggest such legislation. What amazes me further, there are many christians here who supported this lunacy.
lvrght
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July 29, 2011
Seems like anyone who stands for god and Christ are considered to be "nutcases" these days. We are all in deep trouble, God help us all.

My deepest condolences to Bobby Franklin's family
profg1
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July 28, 2011
Bobby Franklin was a giant -- in faith, in intellect, in fidelity, in so much more. We came to be friends as we worked on the Constitutional Tender Act together -- and I learned that if a majority of State legislators would only vote the Constitutional and Biblical way he voted, our State -- and probably our nation -- could be turned away from the coming destruction.

I know that Bobby is in the presence of Jesus now, and rejoicing forevermore. He exemplified Philippians 1:21: "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Have a glorious Home-going, Bobby. I will miss you -- I'm sitting here crying as I type this -- but I will share your joy in full one day.

And I would be remiss in Bobby's eyes if I didn't ask YOU, the person reading this, two simple questions: Have you come to the place in YOUR spiritual life where YOU know for *certain* that if you were to die today, you'd go to heaven? And if you *were* to die today -- as Bobby can testify, it can happen to young and old -- and you were to stand before God, and He were to say to you, "WHY should I let you into my heaven"... What would you say?

Bobby answered the first question with a resounding YES (1 John 5:13) -- and he answered the second question with a resounding, "Because I'm trusting in JESUS CHRIST ALONE for eternal life" (John 14:6). And Jesus has now answered back to Bobby: "Well done, good and faithful servant... Enter into the joy of your Lord" (Matt. 25:21).
Connie Mack Jr
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July 27, 2011
Franklin was no friend of true liberty but a Religious Zealot who would tramble all over your individual rights when given the chance in the name of his God. It is always sad when someone passes on. The sting of death is short in this confuse time of Religious Political chaos.
grifter9
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July 27, 2011
Not sure why we are applauding the man who singlehandedly and more than any other legislator made Georgia a national joke. Certainly sorry the man is dead and for his family (assuming they liked him for all the nutjob things he proposed). Franklin harmed this state every single year he was in office and the worst part is he had to die to no longer be a menace.
CynCanton
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July 27, 2011
To necobbmom and anonymous, you should be ashamed of yourselves for your inconsiderate sniping against a deceased man who cannot defend himself. I can only suspect that your character is imbibed with cruel cowardliness and that face-to-face, you would not have the guts to babble your idiotic comments as openly.
Phil W
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July 27, 2011
No thanks to necobbmom or anonymous who, with their insincere statement of condolences, feel the need to take a cheap shot. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
Bobby's constituent
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July 27, 2011
As a long time constituent and ardent supporter of Bobby Franklin, I am saddened with his passing. However, I have faith that we will meet again on that golden shore. I truly believe that if more of our elected officials were as principled as Bobby, the state and country would be a better place. As a Southerner, I was disheartened over the flag change, but thanks to Bobby a Southern flag is flying over our capitol once more. Thank you, Bobby for your service!
necobbmom
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July 26, 2011
Maybe the cause of death was a brain tumor, thus the reason for his nonsense and weird rantings. My condolences to his family.
Johnny Liberty
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July 26, 2011
The Hon. Bobby Franklin was, foremost, a man of faith and principle; and, therefore, a constitutionalist, not a pliant, end-justifies-the-means hack. Bobby said it's never the right time to do something the wrong way.

He also truly served the people rather than served them up as grist to the powers-that-be, thereby earning the wrath and disdain of The Establishment. He once told me Bobby was his middle name, as it was often preceded in a MDJ column by a derisive adjective.
anonymous
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July 26, 2011
I Pray for him. Although he was a nutcase it is sad to hear he has passed. Condolences to the family.
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