ATLANTA — Saying “it’s time,” longtime state Rep. Bob Hanner, R-Parrott, will retire from the state House at the end of his term, which expires at the end of the year.
Hanner confirmed in a phone interview from Atlanta on Thursday that he would not run for re-election this summer.
“I am (retiring),” he said. “I’ve been here 37 years. It’s time to move on.”
Hanner, an insurance executive, was first elected in a special election in 1975 called to fill an unexpired term when the district’s representative resigned to become a prosecutor. “I came in during the mid-term,” he said.
Hanner has recently dealt with some health issues but says he feels better now “than I have in a long time.”
“I have some other things in mind that I want to do,” he said.
Hanner, who enters his 37th year in the House this September, made the announcement on the House floor Thursday.
He serves as a member of the House Appropriations and Rules committees and is secretary of the House committees on Natural Resources & Environment, and Public Safety and Homeland Security.
Hanner represents District 148, which was impacted during redistricting. Under the new map that will be used for this year’s legislative elections, Hanner is in the same district as another incumbent, Rep. Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert, who represents the 149th.
Both were placed into an expanded 151st District that was redrawn to include a northwest section of Dougherty County, along with Calhoun, Terrell, Randolph, Early, Clay, Quitman, Webester and Stewart counties.
Asked whether being placed in the same district as his friend Greene influenced his decision, Hanner said, “I don’t think so. We’re friends, and Gerald and I talked. We decided we would not publicly or privately make a decision until after the (legislative) session.”
Hanner said he didn’t know whether Greene had decided to run for the 151st seat. Attempts to contact Greene on Thursday were unsuccessful.
Greene, who has served in the House since January 1983, is vice chair of the House State Institutions & Property Committee and a member of the House Appropriations, Economic Development & Tourism, Rules, and Retirement committees.
Both Hanner and Greene spent most of their legislative careers as Democrats, which was once entrenched as the dominant party in Georgia politics. In 2010, the two legislators announced that they were moving across the aisle to the Republican party, which has control of both houses of the General Assembly, the governor’s office and the full roster of statewide constitutional officers.
Hanner’s first election to the Legislature came in a September 1975 runoff against Melvin Peavy, a Randolph County commissioner, in what was then the 130th House District. They were seeking to replace John Irwin, who had resigned to accept an appointment as the district attorney of the Pataula Judicial Circuit. Hanner claimed 2,811 votes, or 51.65 percent, of the 5,442 votes cast. Peavy had led the five-candidate field in the August special election, edging Hanner by 106 votes but not collecting enough to win without the runoff.
“I only made one promise during the campaign,” Hanner, a farmer and member of the Terrell County Hospital Authority at the time, told The Albany Herald when he won in 1975, “and that was to be available to the people to hear their needs. And I intend to get started on that as soon as I get these peanuts up.”
Hanner noted Thursday that when he first joined the Legislature, his oldest son was only 4 years old and his middle son was 6 months old. “My youngest wasn’t even born yet,” he said.