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Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 10:27am

Next Speaker Must Be Big On Ethics

The house Republican caucus will be meeting Friday to discuss leadership changes. Officials say Ethics will play a big role in who will become the next Speaker of the Georgia House.

Speaker pro tem Mark Burkhalter told his colleagues yesterday that he will not seek the permanent speakership, but instead will call for an election when lawmakers return to the capitol next month.

The leadership shakeup is a result of Speaker Richardson’s scandal involving an alleged affair with a lobbyist.

State Representative Wendell Willard of Atlanta says whoever wants to be speaker now must be very ethical.

"They need to stand up in front of the caucus and look us all in the eye and say there is nothing in my background that keeps me from serving," he says.

Willard says two names mentioned among his colleagues to be interested in becoming speaker are Representatives David Ralston of Blue Ridge and Larry O'Neill of Warner Robins.

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