By MOAA Staff
Sen. Johnny Isakson, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and a longtime voice for veterans and servicemembers in the halls of Congress, announced Aug. 28 his plan to resign his Senate seat at the end of the year, citing health concerns.
The Georgia Republican has served on the key committee he now chairs since entering the Senate in 2005. MOAA honored his work on behalf of the military community in 2017 with the Colonel Arthur T. Marix Congressional Leadership Award, an annual honor presented to a key lawmaker who has shared common cause with MOAA’s advocacy efforts.
“MOAA is deeply saddened to learn of Senator Johnny Isakson’s retirement from public office,” said MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret). “Senator Isakson’s long history of serving our uniformed servicemembers and veterans, their families, and survivors over the last 40 years has not only been unprecedented, but has placed him in the highest regard by those whom he has served over these many decades. His work and unselfish devotion to the men and women in uniform, past and present, will live on for generations to come because of his servant leadership approach to always putting others before self. MOAA wishes Senator Isakson and his family the very best and we extend our heartfelt gratitude for all you’ve done for our nation.”
Among many other legislative achievements, Isakson played major roles in a series of VA reform efforts, sponsored a series of bills designed to improve and expand benefits for military members past and present, and their families, and has championed countless veterans causes, including efforts to provide benefits to Blue Water Navy veterans who served off Vietnam’s coast.
He sponsored the VA MISSION Act, which included several reforms benefitting veterans and caregivers, such as expanded access to urgent care facilities and a Veteran Community Care Program designed to offer more and more convenient options for beneficiaries.
Isakson served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972. An announcement from his office on the decision to step down cited a series of health concerns for the 74-year-old, including a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in 2014 and a recent kidney surgery.
“Senator Isakson … has shown consistent, strong leadership in being a stalwart voice for veterans and military members, and their families in Congress, and demanding fair treatment and accountability from government agencies,” Atkins said of the senator during the 2017 MOAA awards ceremony. “He’s a true champion for those who wear, and have worn, the uniform, and their families.”