By The Associated Press
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, died Monday. He was 66.
Pettys died Monday evening after having a massive heart attack at the home where he had retired in Clarksville, North Georgia, said Matt Towery, CEO of InsideAdvantage Georgia, where Pettys worked after retiring from the AP in 2005.
Towery said he received 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 worked at the state Capitol for more than 30 years. An insider with a reputation for evenhanded reporting, he had the ear of everyone from governors and House speakers to low-level clerks under the Gold Dome.
“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.”
Pettys started working for the AP in 1970.