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Interview with Ed Jenkins, July 7, 2008

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:50 - Early life and family

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Partial Transcript: We'd like to know more about you and your family...

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins recalls growing up in Young Harris, Georgia, being surrounded by local politics from an early age, and attending Young Harris High School with future politician Zell Miller.

Keywords: Blairsville, Georgia; Young Harris, Georgia; Zell Miller; local politics

00:05:47 - Law school and start in Washington

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Partial Transcript: And then after Young Harris, the University of Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins talks about attending law school at the University of Georgia and Emory. He recalls moving to Washington to work as as a lawyer for Phil Landrum, the passing of the controversial Griffin-Landrum labor reform bill, and Landrum's focus on education reform.

Keywords: Griffin-Landrum bill; Washington, D.C.; education reform; labor legislation; law school

00:12:09 - Deciding to run for Congress

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Partial Transcript: Your friend, Zell Miller, has been a very successful politician and a good friend.

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins talks about negotiating personal and political ties when his friend Zell Miller ran against Landrum for Congress. He recalls deciding to enter politics and run for Congress when Landrum retired.

Keywords: Congress; Phil Landrum; Zell Miller

00:19:47 - Serving on Way and Means Committee

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Partial Transcript: Well, having Congressman Landrum as a friend certainly must have helped you when you got to Washington.

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins talks about running for a seat on the Way and Means Committee, working on the trade subcommittee, and protecting the textile industry in his district. He discusses a bill he proposed to impose import quotas to protect local industry and the future of the textile and poultry industries.

Keywords: Ways and Means Committee; import quotas; industry; poultry; textile; trade legislation

00:30:39 - Fiscal conservatism and balanced budget

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Partial Transcript: There was a coalition of congressmen, mostly from the South, known as Blue Dogs.

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins talks about his views on being fiscally conservative, balancing the national deficit, and increasing the Defense budget.

Keywords: balanced budget; defense spending; fiscal conservatism; national deficit

00:35:44 - Relationship to Speaker of the House

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Partial Transcript: As I recall, you served under three Speakers.

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins discusses the congressman's relationship with the Speaker of the House, and describes the leadership and personality of three Speakers he served under. He recalls the Gingrich's opposition to Speaker Jim Wright, and Gingrich's use of televised media in gaining national recognition.

Keywords: Jim Wright; Newt Gingrich; Speaker of the House; Tip O'Neill; Tom Foley; media influence

00:45:20 - Other Georgia representatives / Ethics Committee

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Partial Transcript: Who were some of your colleagues from Georgia?

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins recalls some of his Georgia colleagues in the House of the Representatives. He describes serving on the Ethics Committee, and adjudicating several incidents of improper behavior by members of the House.

Keywords: Bo Ginn; Doug Barnard; Ethics Committee; House of Representatives; Koreagate; bribery; sexual misconduct

00:54:08 - Iran-Contra Committee

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Partial Transcript: And the Iran-Contra Committee--later you mentioned Irangate...

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins describes being selected to the Iran-Contra Committee to investigate the participation of the President Ronald Reagan and other officials in the illegal selling of arms to Iran.

Keywords: Iran-Contra affair; Latin America; Ollie North; Ronald Reagan; impeachment

01:04:59 - Jimmy Carter's relationship to Congress

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Partial Transcript: You failed to mention the fact that you went to Congress the year that Jimmy Carter was elected President.

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins evaluates Jimmy Carter's working relationship with Congress, lack of political sponsorship, and inability to get legislation passed.

Keywords: Jimmy Carter; outsider vs insider; political support; sponsorship

01:09:43 - U.S. Military Engagement in the Middle East

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk for a minute about the first Gulf War.

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins discusses his opposition of U.S involvement in the first Gulf War, the results of the war, and his views on the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Keywords: Afghanistan; Bush administration; Gulf War; Iraq War; Middle East; military

01:19:03 - Evaluating the threat of terrorism

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Partial Transcript: Are we overreacting to the threat of terrorism?

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins gives his evaluation of anti-terrorism legislation, foreign policy, and the effect of partisanship in Congress.

Keywords: CIA; foreign policy; interventionism; opposition forces; surveillance and intelligence; terrorism; wiretapping

01:24:25 - Growth of the Republican Party in Georgia

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk about some Georgia politics.

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins discusses the growth of the Republican Party at the state and national level, various reasons for the shift, social and racial issues being wedged in the Democratic Party, and campaign strategies that have attributed to the Republican Party's growing success. Jenkins also offers his views on party registration and term limits.

Keywords: Republican Party; campaign strategy; grass roots organizing; party registration; term limits

01:36:17 - Anecdote about political support

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Partial Transcript: What was your toughest political campaign?

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins talks about a challenging political campaign, and the help of his friend D.L. Crumley in securing political support among the constituents in his district.

Keywords: campaigning; constituents; political support

01:42:37 - Reflection on political career

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Partial Transcript: Ed, you've had a very successful career..

Segment Synopsis: Jenkins explains the reasoning behind his decision not to run for various positions during his career in Congress. He also discusses his decision to retire from politics.

Keywords: career advancement; politics; retirement