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Interview with Larry Walker, May 14, 2008

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:35 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: We’re very interested in learning about Larry Walker.

Segment Synopsis: Walker talks about growing up in Perry, Georgia. He also talks about going to the University of Georgia for undergrad and law school. Walker also talks about his political family.

Keywords: Houston County; Perry, Ga; Tombstone, Arizona; University of Georgia; farm equipment; politics

00:03:30 - Expectations / Tom Murphy / Denmark Groover

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Partial Transcript: Did you think when you won your first race in 1972 that you would serve for 32 years?

Segment Synopsis: Walker shares his first thoughts about joining the General Assembly and how he never thought he would make it past one term. Walker later talks about George L Smith and Tom Murphy. Walker talks about his relationship with Denmark Groover.

Keywords: Denmark Groover; George Busbee; George L Smith; Tom Murphy; legislation; legislature; majority whip; speaker of the house

00:09:45 - Relationship with Tom Murphy / Majority Leader

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Partial Transcript: Well, you mentioned Speaker Murphy.

Segment Synopsis: Walker talks about Tom Murphy's inner circle. Walker explains how the legislature works as a series of circles. Walker later talks about how he became elected as Majority Leader, and he shares his duties as Majority Leader.

Keywords: Bill Lee; Calvin Smyre; Governor Harris; Joe Frank Harris; Terry Coleman; Tom Buck; floor leader; legislation; majority leader; minority leader; speaker of the house; training

00:15:10 - Camaraderie in the legislature / Feud between Zell Miller and Tom Murphy

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Partial Transcript: Being a legislator is certainly very serious business, but there also is a fun side.

Segment Synopsis: Walker talks about the camaraderie that comes along with being a member of the state legislature. Walker also talks about the supposed feud between Lieutenant Governor Zell Miller and Speaker of the House, Tom Murphy.

Keywords: Marcus Collins; Sheraton Hotel; Tom Murphy; Zell Miller; camaraderie; feud; lieutenant governor; lobbyist; social life

00:20:48 - George Busbee's Administration

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Partial Transcript: Let’s talk for a minute about the programs that some of those governors – of course, Governor Busbee took on a rather ambitious administration.

Segment Synopsis: Walker talks about Governor George Busbee's administration. he goes into detail about all of the good deeds Busbee did for the State of Georgia.

Keywords: airports; budget; foreign trade; popular

00:25:06 - Appropriations

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Partial Transcript: Let’s talk a little bit about appropriations.

Segment Synopsis: Walker talks about the appropriations process in the legislature. As the Majority Leader, Walker had to present the budget on the floor of the house. He also mentions how it is important to communicate to voters what you do for them in the legislature.

Keywords: Creekwood Park; Perry, Ga; appropriations; budget; conservative; green door; populist; projects

00:30:56 - Other issues / ERA / Education Lottery

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Partial Transcript: Well, with you as Majority Leader and Murphy as Speaker, the Georgia House never got bogged down with emotional issues such as abortion and gun control and school prayer, which are all politically risky and controversial issues.

Segment Synopsis: Walker talks about how the Georgia legislature avoided taking up politically risky topics under Murphy's leadership. He talks about voting down the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) and about Zell Miller's campaign to initiate the State Education Lottery.

Keywords: Equal Rights Amendment; Tom Murphy; Zell Miller; abortion; education lottery; gun control; university system

00:35:09 - Changing the Georgia State Flag

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Partial Transcript: During his tenure, he also attempted to change the state flag, the first person since 1956 to attempt that.

Segment Synopsis: Walker talks about the changing of the state flag to remove the Confederate battle flag. Governor Miller tried to do it but was unsuccessful. Walker explains how he was supportive of changing the flag when Governor Barnes pushed for the change.

Keywords: Confederacy; Confederate flag; Roy Barnes; Zell Miller; change; heritage; image; offensive; southern heritage; stars and bars; state flag

00:41:24 - Party politics in Georgia

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Partial Transcript: I know that you and Governor Perdue are very close friends

Segment Synopsis: Walker talks about party politics in Georgia. Walker admits how he votes for the candidate and not the party now. He offers his explanation for why the Republican party gained control of the state.

Keywords: conservatism; democratic party; liberalism; party politics; party registration; party switching; republican party; rise of the Republican Party

00:51:39 - State Board of Transportation

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Partial Transcript: After you left the legislatures, you mentioned that you became a member of the State Board of Transportation.

Segment Synopsis: Walker talks about working for the State Board of Transportation. He mentions the difficulty in creating a transportation system to alleviate Atlanta traffic.

Keywords: DOT; appointments; budget; commissioner; commuter rail; gasoline tax; population growth; sales tax; traffic; transportation

00:59:22 - Georgia's economy / Tax incentives

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Partial Transcript: Are we doing too much in the way of incentives in bringing new into the state of Georgia?

Segment Synopsis: Walker talks about Georgia's economy, and how he believes that Georgia should do more to attract more business to the state.

Keywords: backwater; development; foreign investment; incentives; industrial jobs; progress

01:01:04 - Denmark Groover and the Georgia state flag

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Partial Transcript: One of the interesting things about the new flag was Denmark Groover, who sponsored the legislation to create the old Georgia flag in 1956, and made a speech on the House of Representatives in support of the new flag.

Segment Synopsis: Walker talks about Denmark Groover's contribution to changing the State Flag.

Keywords: Confederate flag; Denmark Groover; change; flag; georgia flag; speech

01:02:55 - "Georgia on My Mind" as state song / Accomplishments and disappointments

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Partial Transcript: What was your most exciting day in the legislature?

Segment Synopsis: Walker says his most exciting day in the legislature was when 'Georgia On My Mind' became Georgia's state song and Ray Charles came to the state house to sing it. Walker also talks about his accomplishments and disappointments in his career.

Keywords: AG center; Georgia On My Mind; Hoagy Carmichael; Ray Charles; speaker of the house; state flag

01:08:15 - Sam Nunn / Rememberance

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Partial Transcript: I can’t let you go without talking about Sam Nunn.

Segment Synopsis: Walker talks about how much he admires Sam Nunn. He believes that Nunn should have a leadership position in Washington DC. Walker finishes the interview by stating how he wants to be remembered.

Keywords: Cabinet; Sam Nunn; Secretary of State; Senator Obama; tombstone