ALBANY – The sudden death of state Rep. Jay Powell was a shock to those who knew and worked with the veteran politician.
Powell, 67, a Camilla Republican who served in Georgia House District 171, collapsed Monday during a retreat for Republican leadership at Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris.
An attorney who had served 10 years in the House, Powell previously was a Camilla City Council member and mayor of the city. He was elected to the House in 2008 and had become the chairman this year of that body’s Rules Committee.
“This is certainly going to be a big loss to District 171 and a big loss to the state of Georgia,” Mitchell County Administrator Clark Harrell said. “Jay was somebody you could always turn to, very accessible. You could always pick up the phone and call him.
“Jay was a leader not only in his district but a leader in southwest Georgia and the state of Georgia. Jay will be missed.”
Moultrie Mayor Bill McIntosh said that he has known Powell for a long time, back to Powell’s days in Camilla city government and his time as president of the Georgia Municipal Association.
“Jay was, first of all, Jay was a personal friend,” McIntosh said. “It’s a really sad day, especially for his family. He’s going to be a really hard person to replace, especially for us because he was one of us. We really will miss him.”
Powell’s leadership and experience will be missed by many, McIntosh said.
“He was a very influential member of the House or Representatives and interested in all of us down here and everywhere,” the Moultrie mayor said.