DALTON, Ga. -- This time he's really calling it quits.
Two years ago, state Rep. Roger Williams, R-Dalton, had considered retiring but ended up serving another term as state legislator.
Thursday morning at a breakfast hosted by the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, Williams announced that the legislative term that begins Monday would be his last.
"After 22 years, I'm ready to enjoy life again," Williams, 78, said.
Williams is chairman of the Regulated Industries Committee and a member of the Appropriations, Ways and Means and Industrial Relations committees.
He served in the Legislature from 1977 to 1986 before being re-elected in 2001. He served tours in Germany and Vietnam with the Army, rising to the rank of captain, according to Chattanooga Times Free Press archives.
Georgia Trend magazine named Williams as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians in its January issue.
"In his long career in the House, Williams has been a strong advocate for economic policies that promote growth," the article noted.
Williams said he considers the passage of a bill that allowed local referendums on Sunday alcohol sales one of his recent major accomplishments.
Even though he is stepping down at the end of this legislative term, Williams said he is not taking it easy for the next few months.
He plans to co-sponsor a bill to eliminate the state's energy tax on manufacturing, mining and agriculture. Georgia is one of only 10 states that have no exemptions on an energy tax, which hinders economic development, proponents of the bill argue.
Williams said he also hopes to secure funding for a new classroom and lab building at Dalton State College. Funding for the building has been slashed from the state budget for the last five years, Williams said.
"It will be my last hurrah," Williams said. "I've pleaded and begged; I'm hopeful this year we will get it."
Fellow legislator Sen. Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton, warned that he still would be calling on Williams for advice.
"He has been a valuable asset to our community," Bethel said. "Twenty-two years is a long time to be doing this job, and he has done it with honor and integrity."
Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...