ATLANTA — Dick Pettys, a longtime political reporter for The Associated Press who was a fixture at the Georgia state Capitol for more than three decades and a well-respected mentor to other journalists, died Monday. He was 66.
Matt Towery, the CEO of InsiderAdvantage, said Pettys died Monday evening after having a massive heart attack at the home where he retired in Clarkesville, in north Georgia. Towery said he got the news from Pettys’ son, Richard Pettys Jr.
“I’m heartbroken,” Towery said. “He was a fabulous guy. There was only one Dick Pettys.”
A call to the journalist’s son was not immediately returned.
Pettys covered Georgia politics from Jimmy Carter’s time as governor and aspiring presidential candidate through the end of the Democratic Party’s political control of the state and the election of Georgia’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction.
“For years, Dick was every Georgian’s eyes and ears on the state budget and those who controlled it,” said Maryann Mrowca, the AP’s assistant bureau chief for the South Atlantic Region. “Even when politicians did not like what he reported, they knew he was fair, accurate and kept the same eagle eye on all in power to make sure they were held accountable for their actions and inactions.”
A 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia, Pettys worked for the AP from 1970 to 2005.
After retiring and moving to Clarkesville, he went to work for Towery.
Districts sued over charter campaign
ATLANTA — A group of five Georgia residents is accusing the state’s 180 local school districts of illegally using taxpayer money to campaign against a proposed constitutional amendment on charter schools.
The proposal would allow the state to create a new board that could pick private entities to run independent schools financed by taxpayers. Local boards currently control charters.
The amendment is on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Superintendent John Barge has led public education officials in opposing the amendment. Barge drew the ire of Atlanta attorney Glenn Delk for explaining his opposition using a state website. Under threat of legal action, Barge removed the material. Neither he nor the state Board of Education is named as a defendant.
In other news
THE FIRST BOEING 787 made in South Carolina flew out of Charleston International Airport on Monday. It was delivered to Air India last week.
THERE WERE NO major problems during the fall motorcycle rally at Myrtle Beach, S.C., authorities said. There were no serious wrecks or deaths.