Thank you for allowing me to communicate my thoughts to your readers and my constituents. I appreciate my relationship with the MDJ dating back almost 40 years. We have agreed on most issues, and, if we did not, the MDJ always let me express my point of view without exception.
My brother Woody and I were taught by our parents to acknowledge success with humility and when not successful, to accept with grace. I hope we have followed that tenet. I wish my successor all the best in every day of his tenure in the Georgia state Senate. I hope he finds it as gratifying and rewarding as I have.
The purpose of this letter is to thank the people of Georgia, the citizens of Cobb County, and most especially the people of the 33rd District. I have been fortunate to serve during what I feel is Georgia’s most exciting era as it relates to change, progress and knowledge gained. However, I will state that I believe it is our charge to remember and let our future efforts be guided by all of Georgia’s history the good and the bad to go forward. Several thousand people have crossed paths with me and I with them, and I remember so many special moments with them during my 34 years of service. For instance, the one and only time I heard one member from south Georgia speak was when asking the following question: “Is it not true that the Vidalia onion is a $1 billion industry in our state?” The debate, which some had found amusing, ended quickly and the regional areas that had the proper soil to grow this sweet onion were enumerated appropriately.
I am proud of my accomplishments and stations, as well as legislation, but this letter is not about that, it’s about the state of Georgia and a county whose people have allowed me to be a part of their government for almost 35 years. Every young man or woman would be amazed to meet and work with eight governors and meet four United States presidents, what a great number of bright and innovative leaders.
But, lest I forget the several thousand I witnessed who stood alone and voted in spite of their party’s political position, showing great courage and exemplifying great conscious, those who stepped up and said I’ll do it when there was no one else. Yes, and those who left their egos at the outer door and not on the floor of the state Senate. Those are the people who come into my mind and memories most often.
It’s been said in the profession where I have made my living that a bank can lose all of their largest customers and still survive, but they could not stand if they were to lose the multitudes of small customers and investors. So, I would advise my successor and all those who succeed others that one does not have to be a column or the cornerstone of state government, one does not have to have the breadth of even a brick, but all those elected can (if they will) be a part of the very strong mortar that ties us all together as Georgians and friends no matter their party or ideologies.
This January 12, will bring to a close my elected public service, and along with my father, the late George W. Thompson Sr., and my brother, George Woody Thompson Jr, a pause in more than 75 years of combined service as state and local public officials. On behalf of my family and supporters, let me leave you with a heartfelt and sincere thank you for all the years you have honored us.
Sen. Steve Thompson
Dean of the Georgia State Senate