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Interview with Lewis Massey, April 16, 2009

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:30 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: You were born and grew up in Gainesville- the son of two well-known parents, Abit and Kayanne Massey.

Segment Synopsis: Massey talks about his mother, a former Miss Georgia, and his father, former director of the Georgia Poultry Association and Secretary of the Georgia Department of Industry. He discusses his education in the Hall County public schools and at the University of Georgia, where he majored in finance and served as a student adviser to the Board of Regents.

Keywords: Hall County; Student Advisory Council; family; school

00:04:08 - Campaign management / Governor Harris

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember the first political campaign you participated in?

Segment Synopsis: Massey recalls campaigning for Bobby Lawson and Joe Wood, former Democratic members of the Georgia General Assembly, and he mentions serving as a driver for Robert Benham, the first African-American judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court. Massey also discusses working with Governor Harris, who enacted the Quality Basic Education Act and promoted "smart growth" policies. Additionally, Massey describes his role in planning the 1996 Olympics as Governor Zell Miller's Secretary of State.

Keywords: General Assembly; Georgia House of Representatives; Joe Frank Harris; Olympics; QBE; campaigns; courts; education policy; legislature; smart growth

00:10:19 - Pierre Howard's Chief of Staff

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Partial Transcript: So what happened after-- after you worked with Governor Harris?

Segment Synopsis: Massey discusses his positions as campaign manager and chief of staff under Georgia Lieutenant Governor Pierre Howard, a major proponent of nursing home reforms and child protective policies.

Keywords: DeKalb County; campaigning; elections; television

00:16:32 - State elections, reapportionment, and appointments

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Partial Transcript: A lot of states require the lieutenant governor to run on the same ticket as the governor.

Segment Synopsis: Massey ponders the benefits of Georgia's independent elections for governor, lieutenant governor, and cabinet members. Massey also talks about the origins of the nickname "possum" and explains how he became Georgia's Secretary of State in 1996.

Keywords: Culver Kidd; Max Cleland; State Department; Zell Miller; cabinets; electoral laws; state senate

00:22:13 - Secretary of State's office / Voter laws

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Partial Transcript: What was your view of the job when you took it?

Segment Synopsis: Massey discusses some of the responsibilities of the Georgia Department of State, including overseeing elections and corporations, licensing professionals, and regulating securities. He describes creating an official website for the department, as well as cracking down on telemarketing scams and child support payments while in office. Massey also talks about voter fraud and commends the initiative of Cathy Cox (who succeeded Massey as Secretary of State) to expand electronic voting systems statewide.

Keywords: Ben Fortson; State Department; cabinet; fraud; voter ID laws

00:30:43 - 1998 gubernatorial election

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Partial Transcript: If I recall, and correct me if I'm wrong, shortly after you were appointed by Governor Miller, you had to run to finish Max Cleland's term.

Segment Synopsis: Massey discusses running for Secretary of State in 1996 and governor in 1998. He mentions that his young age may have been a disadvantage in comparison to that of candidate Zell Miller. Massey talks about dropping out of the race due to campaign demands that conflicted with his values.

Keywords: Roy Barnes

00:37:41 - Georgia party politics

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk for a minute about the change in party politics in Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Massey comments on the growth of Georgia's Republican Party and how new Atlanta suburbs affected elections in the 1990s. He also discusses the gubernatorial race between Sonny Perdue and Roy Barnes in 2002 as well as the demographic makeup of the Democratic Party at the state and national level.

Keywords: Democratic Party; Democrats; Republicans; demographics; population

00:45:39 - Life outside of politics

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Partial Transcript: What has life been for Lewis Massey after public office?

Segment Synopsis: Massey talks about his family and about working in financial services and government relations firms. He advises aspiring politicians to participate in other candidates' campaigns and recalls his childhood dreams of public service. Massey also considers his future in politics.

Keywords: Massey and Bowers; Sci-Trek; children; family; wife