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Interview with Bubba McDonald, May 1, 2008

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:01:22 - Early life / Getting involved in politics

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Partial Transcript: Tell us a little about your early life.

Segment Synopsis: McDonald talks about his early life, family, and how he received his nickname "Bubba." He talks about studying at the University of Georgia, serving in the Air Force, and marrying his wife. McDonald also discusses his start in legislative politics as County Commissioner, and running for election to the Georgia House of Representatives.

Keywords: Commerce, Georgia; House of Representatives; county commissioner; legislative politics

00:07:01 - Local legislative initiatives

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Partial Transcript: Probably one of the most exciting and satisfying things that happened to me legislatively was in my earlier days.

Segment Synopsis: McDonald talks about legislation he has introduced a local bill providing arrest authority to GBI against car theft, a referendum for the consolidation of county school districts, and the creation of Small Business Development Center (SBDC). He also discusses his work as chairman of the Industry Committee, and later on, the Appropriations Committee.

Keywords: Appropriations Committee; Jackson County; Small Business Development Center (SBDC); local legislation; school district consolidation

00:14:54 - Appropriations process

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk about how your committee and the legislature appropriates the taxpayers money.

Segment Synopsis: McDonald discusses the state budget appropriation process in the House and the Senate, the Green Door Committee, and lobbying from governmental institutions.

Keywords: Green Door Committee; appropriations; budget process; lobbying; lobbyists

00:19:17 - Time in House of Representatives

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Partial Transcript: Let's go back, Bubba, if you will, to your first year in the House of Representatives.

Segment Synopsis: McDonald remembers beginning his work as a House Representative during Jimmy Carter's term as governor. He reflects on Carter's relationship to the legislature as governor, and talks about the economic growth Georgia began to experience beginning in the 1970s.

Keywords: Developmental Highway Program; Jimmy Carter; economic expansion

00:23:59 - Working relationships with governors

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk a minute about some of the governors with whom you served.

Segment Synopsis: McDonald talks about his working relationships with governors George Busbee, Joe Frank Harris, and Zell Miller. He also describes being asked by Zell Miller to serve on the Public Service Commission.

Keywords: George Busbee; Joe Frank Harris; Public Service Commission; Zell Miller; governorship

00:35:54 - Public Service Commission / Energy resources

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Partial Transcript: Well, I would say, and I might be wrong, but I think the Public Service Commission's decision probably affects the pocketbooks of Georgians more than any other agency.

Segment Synopsis: McDonald explains the duties of the Public Service Commission in regulating the relationship between a company's profitability and the consumer charge. He comments on the need for reliable energy for economic expansion, the rapid evolution of the telecommunications industry and the challenges it poses, the relationship between lobbying and public service, and the development of nuclear power.

Keywords: David Burgess; Georgia Power Company; National Organization of Utility Regulators (NARUC); Nuclear Electric Liability Insurance Group; company regulation; economic development; energy source; lobbying; natural gas; nuclear power; telecommunications

00:46:25 - Term limits and legislative/personal life balance

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Partial Transcript: Do you think that the voters can be trusted to elect the right people to serve on the Public Service Commission.

Segment Synopsis: McDonald comments on voter election power versus governmental appointment for public service positions. He also talks about term limits, frequent campaigning, and how they affect a public servant's work-life balance.

Keywords: campaigning; public service; term limits; voter power

00:51:59 - Governors Barnes and Purdue's administrations

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Partial Transcript: We didn't speak of Roy Barnes. How was we as a governor?

Segment Synopsis: McDonald talks about some of the policies that Barnes and Purdue implemented during their governor terms, including changes to teacher tenure and choosing a new Georgia flag.

Keywords: Roy Barnes; Sonny Purdue; flag; governors; tenure

00:57:21 - Decline of Democratic Party in Georgia

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Partial Transcript: You came out of retirement, so to speak, from politics back into politics in 2004.

Segment Synopsis: McDonald talks about the decline of the Democratic Party in Georgia, the switch to a Republican majority, and the relationship between the national versus state level political party's focus and self-representation. He talks about his views on the right to life issue and its affect on his party identification.

Keywords: Democratic Party; Republican Party; conservatism; liberalism; party shift; right to life; rise of the Republican Party

01:00:39 - Relationship with Speaker Tom Murphy, and others

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Partial Transcript: Back to your relationship with Speaker Murphy...

Segment Synopsis: McDonald talks about his working relationship with Tom Murphy, and one incidence in which he advised Murphy on an issue.

Keywords: Speaker of the House; Tom Murphy

01:10:00 - Reflection on career and legacy

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Partial Transcript: Bubba, looking back on your career, what would you consider your brightest moment?

Segment Synopsis: McDonald reflects on his achievements as a legislator, expresses disappointment in the growing political partisanship, and reflects on the legacy he wants to leave.

Keywords: farm winery act; partisanship