ATLANTA — Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Hill died Monday at age 75, according to a statement from Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.
The Republican was first elected to the Georgia Senate from the 4th District in 1990 and was reelected in 2018 to his 15th term. Hill was a 37-year veteran, serving 33 years in the Georgia Air National Guard.
Duncan called Hill a “true statesman, a man of overwhelming integrity, and a servant leader.”
“For three decades Georgians have benefited from his leadership and his calm and steady hand at the helm,” Duncan said in a statement. “He exhibited all the characteristics we hope for in a leader and was a true friend to all. Jack always ensured we were good stewards of taxpayer dollars, but it was more than that, he led with kindness and clarity.”
Tattnall County Sheriff Kyle Sapp told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Hill was found dead in his office Monday evening. His death is not expected to be related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Georgia’s top elected officials took to social media to mourn the loss of the high-ranking state lawmaker who, they said, ensured the state’s budget was balanced and fair.
“There is not a member of the legislature whose life was not touched in some way by Jack,” Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller said in a statement. “Whether it was providing insight into a budgetary need for their district, or by just being a friend to lean on, you could always count on Jack to be there. I can personally attest to the many times I sought his wisdom and how much I benefitted from his counsel.”
Gov. Brian Kemp called Hill a “gentle giant.”
“Jack Hill was one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I ever served with,” he said on Twitter. “His loss is devastating to our state, but he leaves behind an unmatched legacy of hard work and public service.”
Hill was sworn into the Senate as a Democrat, but in 2002 switched parties and after winning the election was named chairman of the Senate budget committee.
Lawmakers from both chambers remembered Hill as one of Georgia’s finest state lawmakers.
“Senator Jack Hill was one of the finest public servants I have known,” House Speaker David Ralston said in a statement. “Quiet, studious, thorough, he exemplified the best in a leader. Senator Hill served with integrity. Georgia has lost one of its finest and I have lost a friend and a mentor. Rest In Peace, Mr. Chairman.”