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Interview with Bill Stuckey, August 11, 2008

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:06 - Interview Introduction

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Partial Transcript: I’m Bob Short, and this is “Reflections on Georgia Politics,” sponsored by the Richard B. Russell Library at the University of Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Short introduces the interview and interviewee, Bill Stuckey.

00:01:03 - Father's business / Early years

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Partial Transcript: Well, we’re anxious to hear from you about your experiences, both in Congress and in business.

Segment Synopsis: Stuckey talks about the origins of his father's company. He also talks about his early years and how he became involved in his father's business.

Keywords: Eastman, Ga; Georgia Military Academy; Pet Milk; University of Georgia; candy; pecans; salesman

00:05:03 - Interest in politics / First campaign for Georgia legislature

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Partial Transcript: How did you get interested in politics?

Segment Synopsis: Stuckey talks about how he was introduced to politics because of where he lived, and his father was part of the Georgia General Assembly. He recalls his first election where he beat the incumbent for the 8th district.

Keywords: 8th District; Democratic Party; Eugene Talmadge; Republican Party; advertising; campaign; polarize; political philosophy

00:12:32 - Washington, DC / Campaign financing

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Partial Transcript: Well, you were elected and go to Washington.

Segment Synopsis: Stuckey talks about the social life of a US Congressman or Senator. He shares his expectations of becoming a US Congressman, and he mentions how he soon realized how Freshman Legislatures have no power. Stuckey briefly talks about campaign financing in past and current elections.

Keywords: Washington DC; advertisement; campaign financing; caucus; committee; freshman senator; social life

00:19:35 - First days as a U.S. Congressman

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Partial Transcript: Tell us, Mr. Congressman, if you will, and if you recall, what is the first thing you did when you arrived in Congress?

Segment Synopsis: Stuckey reflects on his first days in Washington. He talks about how the senior members have a greater seniority. Stuckey talks about the friends he made while he was in Washington.

00:26:05 - Work on committees

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Partial Transcript: Let’s talk now, Bill, if you will, about your work on your committees.

Segment Synopsis: Stuckey speaks about his work in his committees and sub committees.

00:32:00 - Turbulent times / Congress during Vietnam

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Partial Transcript: Well, you began your career as a Congressman at a time when the country was in pretty much upheaval …

Segment Synopsis: Stuckey remarks how the ten years he served in congress was one of the most turbulent decades in US history. He listed off many of the events that happened. Stuckey also talks about what Congress was like during the Vietnam War.

Keywords: 1964 Civil Rights Act; 1968 Democratic Convention; Bobby Kennedy; Civil Rights Movement; Gerald Ford; Martin Luther King; Richard Nixon; Vietnam War; Watergate; Watergate Hearings; assassinations; burning of Washington; gold standard

00:41:01 - Nixon's impeachment / US Foreign Relations

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Partial Transcript: One question about the Nixon situation, when he resigned from the presidency, the impeachment vote never came to the floor of the House.

Segment Synopsis: Stuckey talks about President Nixon's impeachment. He later talks about US foreign relations with China, and he offers some ways that the US can compete in the Global Market.

Keywords: China; President Nixon; Strongman; Watergate; dollar; global market; impeachment; recession; tariffs; trade

00:48:31 - Speakers of the House / Political parties

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Partial Transcript: You served with three Speakers, as I recall.

Segment Synopsis: Stuckey reflects on the Speakers of the House he served under. Stuckey also talks about party politics and the change in political parties in Georgia.

Keywords: Democratic Party; John McCormick; Paul Albert; Sam Rayburn; Speaker of the House; conservative; conservative party; leader; minority votes

00:54:42 - Minority voters / Retirement

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Congressman, you ran very well among the minority voters in your district.

Segment Synopsis: Stuckey shares a story oof how he obtained the votes of minority voters in his district. He won their votes because the Stuckey Stores lacked segregated bathrooms. Stuckey later talks about his retirement from Congress and how he has taken over the Stuckey business after his father.

Keywords: 1964 Civil Rights Act; General Assembly; Stuckey's; Times; business; children; congress; family; pecans; retirement; segregation; terms

01:02:16 - Closing reflections

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Partial Transcript: Looking back over your public life, what has been your proudest moment?

Segment Synopsis: Stuckey shares his greatest accomplishments, disappointments, and how he would like to be remembered.

Keywords: Cumberland Island; Eastman, Ga; NASDAQ; Okefenokee Swamp; friendship; funeral; politics

01:06:28 - Okefenokee Swamp and Cumberland Island

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Partial Transcript: Before we wrap up, and we can edit this back in, do you want to -- I don’t know if you’ve really full explained the Okefenokee, and Cumberland Island, and the work you did on that.

Segment Synopsis: Stuckey talks about his work in preserving Cumberland Island and the Okefenokee Swamp.

Keywords: Carnegie family; Greyfield Inn; Mellon Foundation; hotels; interior department; preservation

01:10:54 - Relationships with fellow Congressmen / Meeting with Lyndon B. Johnson

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Partial Transcript: Anything else that you want to -- what else do you remember that we haven’t talked about?

Segment Synopsis: Stuckey mentions the camaraderie that existed when he was in congress and how it no longer exists anymore. Stuckey also shares a story of when he met President Johnson before his election to the House.

Keywords: Air Force One; Lyndon B. Johnson; Mack Mattingly; Party of Lincoln; President Johnson; camaraderie; congress; meeting