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Interview with Bobby Rowan, August 19, 2008

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:08 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is 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 Bobby Rowan.

00:00:30 - Rowan's home

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Partial Transcript: Bobby, we’re in your home. It’s a very beautiful home and I understand it has some history.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about his house and the history behind it.

Keywords: Celestine Sibley; Enigma, Ga; hardwood; home; house

00:04:01 - Early life / Early political career

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Partial Transcript: Well we’re anxious to share with you some of your experiences and memories of Georgia politics beginning with your election to the Georgia Senate in 1962 at the age of 26.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan reflects on his early life in Enigma. He later talks about his first race for the Georgia Senate.

Keywords: Ag Hill; Georgia Senate; Jack Sullivan; Julian Paulk; US Army; University of Georgia; campaign; county unit system; farming; run off; teaching

00:21:39 - Georgia Senate

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Partial Transcript: Let’s go back to January 1963 when you began your first term in that Senate that became known as the classiest Senate of all times.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about joining the Senate back in 1963. He remembers the lessons he learned early on in his career. Rowan also talks about the great legislators during his time.

Keywords: Carl Sanders; Georgia Senate; Leroy Johnson; Martin Young; Marvin Griffin; Peter Zack Geer; senate

00:36:11 - Committees / Big city life

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Partial Transcript: And I got associated because of the committee I was put on, one of the mental health issues and mental retardation.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about his work with mental retardation in Georgia. He later talks about how he adjusted to Atlanta life.

Keywords: Atlanta; Snake Pit; committees; mental health; mental retardation

00:44:21 - Political philosophy

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Partial Transcript: Let me quote you, Bobby, a story written by your friend Celestine Sibley.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan defines his political philosophy.

Keywords: fortunate; philosophy; politics; populist

00:49:21 - 1962 Governor's race / Carl Sanders

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Partial Transcript: 1962 Governor’s race, young Senator Carl Sanders and former Governor Marvin Griffin, what do you remember about that race?

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about the details of the 1962 Governor's race between Carl Sanders and Marvin Griffin. Rowan later talks about Carl Sander's term as Governor.

Keywords: Carl E Sanders; Carl F Sanders; Carl Sanders; Governor; Lieutenant Governor; Marvin Griffin; Peter Zack Geer; gubernatorial election; progressive

00:59:42 - Peter Zack Geer / Lester Maddox

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Partial Transcript: Bobby, before we get too far away I’d like to talk for a minute about Peter Zack Geer.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about Peter Zack Geer who was Lieutenant Governor. Rowan later talks about the 1966 election and Lester Maddox.

Keywords: Bo Callaway; Commerce Club; Ellis Arnall; George T Smith; Lester Maddox; Mills B Lane; Peter Zack Geer; lawyer; lieutenant governor

01:07:19 - Tuesday Club

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Partial Transcript: Tell us about the Tuesday Club.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about the Tuesday Club which is a meeting of the Atlanta elites every Tuesday. They made decisions on important issues.

Keywords: Tuesday Club; compromise; elite; lobbying; power brokers; valorem taxes

01:14:37 - Race for Governor

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned the race for Governor.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about his race for Governor and why he decided to run.

Keywords: George Busbee; Governor; Norman Underwood; campaign; gubernatorial election; race

01:20:47 - Jimmy Carter / Georgia today

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Partial Transcript: Jimmy Carter followed Maddox in the Governor’s office by defeating Carl Sanders.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about the election between Carl Sanders and Jimmy Carter. He later talks about the efforts of the past Governors in making Georgia into what it is today.

Keywords: Alabama; Bill Shipp; Carl Sanders; Jimmy Carter; US Naval Academy; air conditioning; campaign; electricity; integration; reform

01:26:14 - Maddox and Reorganization

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Partial Transcript: But Maddox was successful, Bobby, though in becoming Lt. Governor after he was Governor and --

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about Lester Maddox and his administration. He later talks about the reorganization of the government;

Keywords: Jimmy Carter; Lester Maddox; Lieutenant Governor; mental health; mental retardation; reorganization; retirement

01:38:12 - Run for Public Service Commission

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Partial Transcript: So you had served in the Senate, you had run for Governor, and then you decide later to run for the Public Service Commission.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan explains why he had got back into politics to successfully run for the Public Service Commission.

Keywords: Public Service Commission; broke; colon cancer; doctor bills; health insurance

01:47:09 - Zell Miller

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Partial Transcript: Let’s talk a minute about some of your friends, Zell Miller.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks a little bit about Zell Miller.

Keywords: Democratic Convention; Ezell; Georgia politics; Governor; Herman Talmadge; Mack Mattingly; Tom Murphy; Zell Miller; democrat; liberal

01:52:33 - Party politics

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Partial Transcript: While we’re on the subject of party politics, what do you think is the reason for the Republican Party takeover of the Governor’s office and the state capitol?

Segment Synopsis: Rowan gives his reasoning for why the Republican Party took over in Georgia.

Keywords: Bobby Kahn; Newt Gingrich; Republic party; Roy Barnes; democratic party; labor unions; urban

01:58:24 - Bobby Rowan stories

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Partial Transcript: Before time runs out let’s get back to Bobby Rowan.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan shares some humorous stories from his life like his speech he wrote for Roscoe Dean, his argument for dead people's right to vote, and his high school prom.

Keywords: Carl Sanders; God's Little Acre; Roscoe Dean; deceased; election code; elections; prom; speech; voting rights

02:25:12 - Closing reflections

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Partial Transcript: Well Bobby, you’ve been a great public servant.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan closes the interview by reflecting on his political career.

Keywords: Public Service Commission; WIC program; awards; issues; monument; political career; politics; public servant