Georgia House Minority Leader announces he won’t stand for reelection

House Minority Leader James Beverly announced his retirement on March 8, the final day of qualifying for the 2024 election that will include his Macon district among the 236 legislative seats. Jill Nolin/Georgia Recorder (file)

House Minority Leader James Beverly, a steady voice for Democrats at the GOP-controlled state Capitol, has announced that he will retire from the Georgia House of Representatives at the end of the 2024 legislative session.

The retirement of the Macon lawmaker after 14 years serving in the Legislature means that there will be new leadership for both chambers’ Democratic Caucuses, with Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler announcing in February that she will also step down at the end of the year. Beverly’s decision to step down was driven by a new business opportunity that he said aligns with his interest in improving the livelihoods of people in impoverished communities.

Beverly’s first sponsored legislation was designed to provide tax credits to small businesses that hire employees in low-income communities. Later, he led the Macon-Bibb County Community Enhancement Authority, which was formed to reduce blight in a Macon neighborhood while also providing workforce training to locals.

In December, Beverly was able to meet the owners of a company that can pre-manufacture materials and build new 1,500-square-foot homes in 15 days. Using his small trucking business, Beverly’s company will deliver materials across the country for his new business partners.

Beverly’s announcement comes on the final day for qualifying ahead of the May 21 primary for the 2024 election campaign for state Legislature. Beverly said he plans to continue fundraising and supporting Democratic candidates in their campaigns heading into the November general election. The House and Senate Democratic Caucuses are slated in November to elect the officers that will lead the party for the next two years.

“I’m still going to raise money. I’m still going to guard the seats,” Beverly said. “We’re still gonna put our staff to work. We need people to chip in and do what we need to do because it’s not about James Beverly.”

“It’s about the Democratic value proposition that I think is superior to Republicans and we need to make sure that people know and start picking up more seats.”

The new Republican-drawn redistricting maps also moved Beverly’s Macon district further south into Houston County, which would require him to spend more time on the campaign trail to reach out to new voters.

Beverly’s decision to retire was a spur of the moment decision, he said. By the end of last year, Beverly had accumulated 80,000 Delta Air Lines flight miles while traveling to represent the caucus.

“You’ve got to go meet different leaders across the country trying to raise money. It was brutal,” Beverly said. “And so I think about the issue with the presidential election coming in, and the demands on that, that’s gonna be one thing, but when you start layering in the other things, something’s going to give. But what I didn’t want to give up was my health.”


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