Honorary Grand Marshal
Senator Johnny Isakson
Johnny Isakson is a businessman, a public servant and family man whose common-sense approach and conservative values have made him a leader in Georgia for over 30 years.
Johnny began his business career in 1967 when he opened the first Cobb County office of a small, family-owned real estate business, Northside Realty. Johnny later served as president of Northside for 20 years, presiding over the company’s growth into the largest independent residential real estate brokerage company in the Southeast and one of the largest in America.
Johnny entered politics in 1974 and served 17 years in the Georgia Legislature and two years as Chairman of the Georgia Board of Education. In 1999, Johnny was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for the first of three terms before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. He was re-elected to the Senate in 2010.
In Washington, Johnny has proven to be a leader who gets results. When the mortgage and financial crisis hit in 2008, Johnny drew on his decades of experience in real estate in offering solutions to reduce the inventory of foreclosed homes and to restore the nation’s housing market.
The Senate overwhelmingly passed his legislation to create the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, styled after the 9-11 Commission, to investigate the near collapse of the banking system and loss of tens of trillions of dollars in order to gather the facts before rushing to create new regulations.
Johnny continues to lead in Congress through his successful bipartisan efforts to address federal spending, reduce the debt and change the way Washington does business. He introduced the Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act to end reckless spending and reform the federal budget process by converting it from an annual spending process to a two-year cycle, with one year for appropriating federal dollars and the other year devoted to much-needed oversight of federal programs. He also co-sponsored the Balanced Budget Amendment and the Commitment to American Prosperity Act, or CAP Act, designed to significantly reduce federal spending by tying spending levels to the gross domestic product. He follows his own advice and has returned over $3 million of his own Senate office budget to the Treasury over the years as a former member of the House and current member of the Senate.
Johnny has worked to strengthen our Armed Forces, and continues to show unwavering commitment to the men and women who serve our country.
On energy, Johnny is committed to lessening America’s dependence on foreign oil as well as pushing for alternative energy sources and conservation. He has worked to enhance and maintain Georgia’s roads, while also working for mass transit alternatives to reduce congestion and improve air quality.
Johnny was an original author of the No Child Left Behind Act, the most significant improvement to our education system in a generation.
He continues to push for immigration reform that is built on a foundation of securing our borders first.
Johnny is a 1966 graduate of the University of Georgia and he served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972. Johnny and his wife, Dianne, have been married since 1968 and have three grown children and nine grandchildren. They live in Marietta, Georgia, and attend Mount Zion United Methodist Church, where Johnny taught sixth-grade Sunday school for 30 years.