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Interview with DuBose Porter, February 24, 2009

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:21 - Early life and education

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Partial Transcript: Our guest today is Democrat Dubose Porter...

Segment Synopsis: Porter briefly describes his political career and the causes he is passionate about. He talks about the history behind the name of his hometown of Dublin. He talks about his childhood, attending Davidson College in North Carolina, and later attending law school. Porter describes the early importance of education in his life and his first job as the driver of the bookmobile to Dublin. He also mentions how he and a friend purchased the local Dublic newspaper, The Courier Herald.

Keywords: Courier Herald; Davidson College; North Carolina; bookmobile; education; family; law school; newspaper business

00:13:35 - Entering into politics

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Partial Transcript: Well, let's get back to politics.

Segment Synopsis: Porter discusses his first political race, entering the Atlanta legislature in 1983, and working under Governor Joe Frank Harris (1983-1991) on issues regarding education, economic growth strategies, and public services planning. Porter talks about being asked to be floor leader by Zell Miller for his governor campaign, in exchange for natural resource preservation programs such as Preservation 2000 and the River Corridor Protection program. Porter mentions his mentors in the General Assembly and highlights problems that affect Georgia on the state level.

Keywords: Hugh Gillis; Joe Frank Harris; Pete Phillips; Preservation 2000; River Corridor Protection; Zell Miller; floor leader; governor race; transportation

00:21:42 - Legislation on education

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Partial Transcript: You've had a lot of experience in education...

Segment Synopsis: Porter describes his role in changing the Georgia higher education system, including introducing the HOPE Scholarship on the House Floor. He recalls the opposition to the HOPE Scholarship and the lottery system, and its passing by a small margin. Porter comments on various issues regarding education, including access to technical college, high school drop out rates, the No Child Left Behind Act, federal aid for education, local school systems, charter schools, joint enrollment, and teacher enrollment programs.

Keywords: HOPE Scholarship; No Child Left Behind Act; education; higher education

00:31:43 - Transportation / Election for Speaker of the House

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk for a minute again about transportation.

Segment Synopsis: Porter talks about a proposed bill for a general transportation fund that would fund mass transit or paving projects in urban and rural areas. He comments on the importance of the Department of Transportation's political independence from the governor's office. Porter also talks about his 1992 run for Speaker of the House, his advocacy for open government, and his realization that money drives policy.

Keywords: Department of Transportation; Speaker of the House; Tom Murphy; budget process; finance; mass transit; rapid transit

00:38:30 - Party politics

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Partial Transcript: Well, let's get down to party politics.

Segment Synopsis: Porter comments on the 2002 election in which Republican Sonny Perdue was elected governor, the growth of a Republican majority in the General Assembly, and the experience of legislating in the transition between a Democratic to Republican government. Porter, having served as House Minority Leader, discusses the practice of trading votes on important issues. He also comments on the makeup of the state Democratic Party and party affiliation during voter registration.

Keywords: House Minority Leader; Roy Barnes; Sonny Perdue; partisanship; party switching; political transition

00:52:27 - Reflection on public service career

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Partial Transcript: You've had a great career.

Segment Synopsis: Porter reflects on his role in contributing to policy on education and environmental conservation. He talks about his intent to run for governor in 2010 (which he did), and gives advice to future politicians.

Keywords: career; governor's race; public service