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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Hank Johnson, Johnny Isakson react to Nelson Mandela’s death

Gwinnett Congressman Hank Johnson lost an idol this week with the death of South African President Nelson Mandela.

In 1990, Johnson attended a speech Mandela made in Atlanta during an eight-city tour of the United States after he was released from jail.

“What impressed me most about Nelson Mandela was his humble spirit of forgiveness and love towards those who persecuted him,” Johnson said after Mandela’s death Thursday. “Neither angry nor vindictive, and with great courage and dignity, he endured 27 years in prison, sacrificing his liberty for the sake of all South Africans. Ultimately, he lived a life of triumph over evil and adversity, leaving the world a better place for his journey amongst us. The spirit of his life will remain in my heart as long as I live.”

Georgia’s U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson also honored Mandela, who died at the age of 95.

“The world lost a selfless champion of freedom, democracy and equality today,” Isakson said Thursday. “Nelson Mandela’s courage in the face of terrible injustice helped dismantle apartheid, and his determined leadership guided South Africa through a process of reconciliation that at one time seemed impossible. Mandela’s legacy will be one of dignity, forgiveness and a profound dedication to the principles that all free people hold dear. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the people of South Africa.”

Legislative lunch

Gwinnett’s Chamber of Commerce will hear from the highest profile local legislator next week.

David Shafer, the Duluth man who serves as president pro tempore of the Georgia state Senate, is the featured speaker in the Chamber’s legislative luncheon, which will be held at noon Wednesday at Sonesta at Gwinnett Place.

The lunch is $45 for Chamber members and $55 for non-members. To register go to www.gwinnettchamber.org.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.