FVSU Alum Rep. Calvin Symre wraps up 48 years in office

by Lexus Jenkins

Posted on Apr 06, 2022

FVSU salutes Honorable Calvin Smyre, a 1970 graduate of Fort Valley State College, as he wraps up 48 years in office.


Rep. Calvin Smyre has experienced many firsts in his career. He was the first lawmaker to represent his Columbus district, which was newly drawn in 1974. He was the first Black legislator to serve as a governor's floor leader in the House when Joe Frank Harris picked him for the job. And he was the first Black person to lead the Democratic Party of Georgia. Moreover, he authored the legislation to make Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday a state holiday and the bill to create the Georgia Dome."¯

Smyre was always working tirelessly to make a difference. He served on the Appropriations Committee, responsible for specifying allocations from the state's $20 billion budget, as well as, on the Rules Committee and was chairman of the House Minority Caucus."¯

When he graduated from graduated from Fort Valley State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and a minor in accounting. He began his career as a community organizer and director of the "War on Poverty" program in Columbus, GA.

He said it will be difficult to leave the Legislature, Columbus and Georgia, but especially his grandchildren, who are 22 and 23, so soon after their mother's death.

But life is about doing the work for the ones you leave behind, Smyre said.

"My motto and my mantra has been always to plant seeds to trees for the shade you may never see," he said. "If you think of it in those terms, you're not thinking for the moment, you think for the future."









021621 Atlanta: Governor Brian Kemp (right) confers with Rep. Calvin Smyre (left), Dean of the House, during a press conference announcing the overhaul of Georgia's citizen's arrest statute at the capitol on Tuesday, Feb 16, 2021, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /








Gov. Brian Kemp called Smyre an unmatched statesman who's worked to make Georgia a better place. Smyre is connected to the Kemp family in two ways "” he served with Kemp in the General Assembly and also with first lady Marty Kemp's father, state Rep. Bob Argo.

"Calvin's passion for public service and his love for the Columbus community and our state will be missed at the Georgia state Capitol, but we know he will bring that same spirit of dedication and leadership in service to our nation," Kemp said.

Georgia political historians say Smyre has served more consecutive years in office than any other lawmaker.

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