ATLANTA - Lawmakers gave a standing ovation on the House floor Wednesday after approving a bill that would pave the way for a statue of former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller on state Capitol grounds.
"I'm not going to ever forget him. I know very few people more deserving of a statue at this Capitol than Zell Bryan Miller," said State Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, who worked for Miller early in his political career. "What a giant of a man. What a dear friend whom I'll miss forever."
Miller was Georgia's 79th Governor and is most remembered for championing the creation of the Georgia Lottery and designating the money to the HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K program.
"Gov. Miller talked about the lottery and he said what we ought to do is designate the money for the future of our state and invest it in intellectual capital of the young people in our state and keep our best and brightest in our state," said State Rep. Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus.
House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, carried the bill in the House of Representatives.
"I think he was one of the most consequential governors that we've had in our state's history," said Speaker Ralston. "He had such an impact on Georgia through our HOPE Scholarship and all the efforts he led on education and policy. He embodied so many leadership qualities and his footprint will be on this state for a long, long time."
Speaker Ralston said it will take some time before the statue is at the Capitol because officials have to identify an artist, approve a design and raise private funds to pay for the monument.
- Atlanta-area spa shootings: Confessed shooter motivated by "addiction to sex," officials say
- Georgia braces for severe weather threat including tornadoes
- Third round of stimulus checks arrive
Download the FOX 5 Atlanta app for breaking news and weather alerts.