Special to the Daily World
MACON, Ga. (AP) — Friends mourned the death of former Georgia state Sen. Robert Brown, the fiery leader of the chamber’s Democrats for six years, who was found dead at his home Thursday, Dec. 8.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Brown cared about working-class people and issues such as education, healthcare and job creation not only in Macon, but throughout the state.
Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman Mike Berlon said he was a valiant fighter for education and opportunity for all Georgians. “Sen. Brown held his caucus together during some legendary political battles,” Berlon added. Former House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter said, ”Georgia lost a good man.”
Macon police said the 61-year-old Brown was found at his home Thursday with a single gunshot wound to the head. Police said his death was an apparent suicide.
A graduate of Mercer University, Brown began his political career on the local school board. His political skill was solidified in a close victory for his state Senate seat in 1991.
“He was one of the brightest people I’ve ever worked with,” said Porter. “One of the most loyal political friends you could ever have, a true believer.”
Brown served as one of Gov. Zell Miller’s floor leaders while working on a variety of issues for his constituents. His legislative accomplishments included the expansion of Macon’s Tubman Museum and saving the famed Douglass Theatre from demolition.
He protected Peachcare for Georgia’s children, and recently fought against changes to the HOPE scholarship that he believed made the program unfair to middle-class students.
Brown was also known for his fire-and-brimstone speeches, often spicing up a sedate Senate with his quick wit and intellect. “Whether you agreed with Robert Brown or not, you respected him,” said Berlon. “Many of his political opponents made the mistake of underestimating him. They rarely made that same mistake twice.”
Behind the scenes, Brown had friends on both sides of the political aisle. He was a bright and loyal leader who offered a smile and handshake to even his biggest rivals.
“He will be missed,” concluded Porter.
Brown’s funeral service was held Wednesday, Dec. 14.