Partial Transcript: Before we talk about Zell Miller and your experience with him, let’s talk a little bit about you.
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley explains how he became the director of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. He talks about his schooling and childhood in the Atlanta area, which experienced a rural-to-suburban transition between the 1960s and 1980s.
Keywords: UGA; University of Georgia; Vinson Institute; external affairs; government relations
Partial Transcript: Let’s talk about his relationship with the Speaker of the House.
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley evaluates Governor Miller's contentious relationship with Speaker Murphy, stating that their disagreements were substantive and beneficial for state policy. He describes the differences between Miller and Murphy's responsibilities, political influence, and strategies.
Keywords: Eggs and Issues Breakfast; Mountain Protection Act; Speaker Tom Murphy; Zell Miller; speaker of the house; taxes
Partial Transcript: Steve, you probably have spent more time with Zell Miller than anybody outside of his family while he was in public office.
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley talks about Zell Miller's personal attributes, including his caring nature, his sense of humor, and his ambition. He also outlines Miller's path to the governorship as well as his relationships with previous Georgia governors.
Keywords: George Busbee; Joe Frank Harris; Lieutenant Governor Miller; Senator Miller; personal life
Partial Transcript: Let’s roll the clock ahead to 1990 and his decision to run for governor.
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley speaks briefly about Miller's progressive goals for Georgia. He focuses on Miller's interactions with the media, which became more disciplined and focused after Miller hired campaign managers to gather polling and focus group information. Wrigley also discusses fundraising for Miller's primary and general elections.
Keywords: James Carville; Paul Begala; campaigning; campaigns; media; public relations
Partial Transcript: Getting back to that 1990 race, the big issue that Miller raised was the lottery.
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley describes the role of the educational lottery proposal in re-branding Miller during the 1990 election. He evaluates Miller's opponents and compares the demographic groups and regions from which each candidate gained support. Wrigley describes the process of passing Miller's lottery amendment through Speaker Tom Murphy's House.
Keywords: Andrew Young; Bubba McDonald; Roy Barnes; demographics; education; election; opposition; pre-k; pre-kindergarten; public school; reelection; school funding
Partial Transcript: The financial crisis you spoke of required some innovative solutions as I recall.
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley talks about Governor Miller's budget management strategies, including spending cuts, increased fees, inter-agency redirection, and bond sales. He mentions the Williams Commission, an efficiency and accountability committee that tracked Miller's progress on campaign promises.
Keywords: Georgia Rebound Program; Governor Harris; Governor's Office of Planning and Budget; Hank Huckaby; Joe Frank Harris; OPB; Virgil Williams; budget; funding; revenue; state funds
Partial Transcript: You were present at the birth of the HOPE Scholarship.
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley explains Miller's motivation for creating the HOPE scholarship as well as the requirements high school students must meet to earn funding for attending university.
Keywords: college; education; scholarships; school; tuition; university
Partial Transcript: What are some of the other programs that you got underway during Miller’s first term?
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley explains how Governor Miller expanded Georgia's public land holdings and its state park system. He talks about Miller's stance on violent crime, which led to the introduction of state boot camps. Wrigley also examines how Governor Miller dealt with competing interests on the legislative agenda.
Keywords: Department of Natural Resources; Preservation 2000; Tallulah Gorge; education; environment; public lands
Partial Transcript: Talk about the flag for a minute.
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley speaks about Governor Miller's aggressive approach to changing the state flag in 1992, stating that Miller did not have enough support to pursue such a politically risky issue. He also mentions Miller's desire to travel the state and engage with his constituents. In addition, Wrigley discusses Miller's relationship with the Clinton family.
Keywords: Hillary Clinton; President Clinton; controversy; state flag
Partial Transcript: Steve, if you don’t mind, let’s move ahead now to 1994 when Governor Miller is running for reelection, even though he said that he would only serve one term.
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley comments on the close 1994 gubernatorial race, mentioning Democrat Zell Millers's campaign strategies and voter base, Republican Guy Millner's political blunders, and the state's preoccupation with the 1996 Olympics. He recalls that although Miller won in Georgia, Republican candidates for governor were far more successful than Democrats throughout most of the country.
Keywords: Democratic Party; Lawton Chiles; Olympic Games; Republican Party; campaigning; candidates; marketing; messaging
Partial Transcript: Let’s talk for a minute about the judicial appointment situation when Zell Miller was governor.
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley talks about Miller's perspective and influence on Georgia's judicial branch. He also tells a story about Miller replacing all of his Democratic school board appointees, who continually blocked the elected Republican superintendent's policies.
Keywords: Alabama; BOE; Board of Education; Johnny Isakson; Linda Schrenko; appointed officials; court system; courts; water rights; water wars
Partial Transcript: In his early career being a senator from the mountains of Georgia, North Georgia, Miller had some problem understanding the role of business in politics.
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley and Short discuss the evolution of Miller's stance on the business community's role in politics. Wrigley outlines Miller's greatest achievements, including voluntary Pre-K programs in the state's public schools, a CD developed to stimulate babies' brains, investment in higher education, and surplus-inducing budget policies. Wrigley also mentions possible changes Miller may have made to his political style and to the HOPE Scholarship program.
Keywords: Georgia Hospital Association; HOPE; University System of Georgia; college; corporations; education; populism; private industry; taxes; university
Partial Transcript: Were you surprised when Governor Roy Barnes appointed him to the United States Senate?
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley compares the roles of senator and governor, explaining why he believes Zell Miller was better suited to serve in the executive branch.
Keywords: U.S. Senate; federal; legislative branch; legislature
Partial Transcript: Tell us about the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
Segment Synopsis: Wrigley talks about some of the Vinson Institute's activities, including training state and local officials, developing policy, and researching demography.
Keywords: GIS; UGA; University of Georgia; demographics; outreach; policy; population; public service; research; technical assistance
BOB SHORT: Im Bob Short, and this is Reflections on Georgia Politicssponsored by Young Harris College and the Richard B. Russell Library for research and studies at the University of Georgia. Im here with Dr. Steve Wrigley, who has served as chief of staff for Lieutenant Governor and Governor Zell Miller and who is now the director of the Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia. Did I get that right?
STEVE WRIGLEY: You did.
SHORT: Good. Well, welcome.
WRIGLEY: Thank you.
SHORT: Were delighted to have you. Before we talk about Zell Miller and yourexperience with him, lets talk a little bit about you. Tell us about yourself.
WRIGLEY: Okay. I think Ill go backwards in time. Ive been at UGA now 11years. I left the Governors office in July of 98 and came here to work at 00:01:00the Vinson Institute running international programs. And then Michael Adams, the president, asked me in 2000, July of 2000, to become the VP of government relations, which to succeed Larry Weatherford that a lot of people know, a good friend, did a great job here for many years. Larry had retired. So I started as VP of government relations. I did that a couple of years, and I was responsible for federal, state, and local relations. We added a few people to help make that work better because I couldnt make it all work. And then in the spring of 2002, Dr. Adams asked me to be the senior VP for external affairs at UGA, which was government relations, fundraising, alumni relations, public affairs, the career center, sort of all of the external activities for the University. I did that about five years and then was ready to do something different. Five years is long enough, so when Jim Ledbetter retired as the director of the Vinson 00:02:00Institute, I expressed an interest in that. And that worked out because its just a great old organization in this state that helps to work for state and local government on training and technical assistance just to try to help them do their jobs a little better. Its a wonderful organization and full of great folks. So thats sort of a quick thumbnail of essentially since Ive been here. Prior to that, I spent 13 years in state government and went into state government in 85 working in the Senate research office. I was finishing up my dissertation at Northwestern University to get my Ph.D., did that. Worked in Senate research a couple years. Thats how I got to know Zell Miller. He was Lieutenant Governor.
SHORT: So tell us about your early life, growing up.
WRIGLEY: Oh, okay. I was going back to that, you know, the log cabin style. ButI was born out of state. I was born in Kansas. We moved here when I was very young. My dad worked for the Federal Aviation Administration and was sent to 00:03:00Atlanta in 1960, and we lived in Cobb County for a while, went to school in early grades there. Then we moved to Douglas County, where I graduated from high school, and then went on to Georgia State in Atlanta. I grew up in suburban Atlanta in the 60s and 70s, when it went from being a lot of rural areas and rural counties and rather rapidly to being suburban Atlanta and suburban Georgia. And the demographics and the politics and all of that changed dramatically, as you well know, in particularly the course of the 70s as Georgia grew and in the 80s. So I grew up basically considering myself a Georgian and grew up in suburban Atlanta and went to school and public schools here.
SHORT: When did you first meet Zell Miller?
WRIGLEY: Well, I did an internmy senior year at Georgia State I did a legislativeinternship on the Senate side. I met him then, didnt really get to know him, 00:04:00but got to know a number of people in the Senate research office and elsewhere. So I first met him then, but then when I came back to Georgia I worked in the 85 legislative session I guess. While I was still working on my dissertation, and then they had an opening later in the year in Senate research, and thats where I really got to know him. I worked with him on some projects, and it was really during 1987 when he had his Mountain Protection Act. If you remember that, it was an idea he had that I helped him with. We worked closely on that, and thats where I really got to know him. We spent the better part of that year working on that and did a number of things around that legislation and into the 88 session. And then it was after the 88 session when Sarah Eby-Ebersole left his office. And he asked me to come over and be his executive assistant. That was the spring of 88, so I really got to know him in 1987 00:05:00when he was Lieutenant Governor.
SHORT: He was a passionate man.
WRIGLEY: Yeah, I think hes a perfectionist about most everything he does,and which I think is what drives his passion. He really cares about getting things right, to the point of turning a decision over and over and over and looking at it a lot of different ways. He was a very good decision maker, it wasn't that he was adverse to the decision. Some folks in elective office dont like to make decisions because theyre afraid theyre going to alienate somebody. He wanted to get it right. He was just passionate about getting things right, especially the area he cared deeply about within education.
SHORT: Lets talk for a minute about his career before becoming LieutenantGovernor. He had lost two elections for congress, but he probably and I think youll agree with me is the most resilient political figure in Georgia history. Every time he bounced back, he bounced higher. 00:06:00
WRIGLEY: Yeah. And I think what explains it is he really had something hewanted to do with being in elective office. I think a lot of people todaynot everybody, but a lot of people today run for elective office because they want to be in elective office. He ran for elective office because he wanted to do something with it. And primarilyyou know, I mean you know his story. I mean, he grew up where he grew up and poor and he really, you know, from his community and from his mother really, inculcated, internalized the notion that education can really make a difference in somebodys life. And I think it did in his life, and I think he was I think the thing people sometimes miss about him is he was ambitious for his state. I think it bothered him that the rest of the country looked at our part of the country and thought theres nothing going on good down there. And he felt otherwise and felt he key to change that was education. I think thats where he was ambitious for the state and passionate about giving people educational opportunities because he really knew that it 00:07:00would make the state a better place. And I think thats why he bounced back politically, because I think he had something he wanted to do with elective office. And not everybodys run is like that.
SHORT: As Lieutenant Governor, you really dont have the power to push anagenda because you always have the Governor who has his own program. He seemed to be very successful in his ability to get things done that he wanted done, as well as getting things done that the governor wanted done. How do you how did he go about that?
WRIGLEY: Well, he was a master politician. And unfortunately, politicianhas become something of a dirty word, and I dont subscribe to that. I think we need people who are good at politics, and he was good at it. He understood 00:08:00individuals motivations; he understood the Senate and how it worked, the dynamics. He understood the dynamics vis--vis the state House, and I think he always had good relationships with the two governors that he served under as Lieutenant Governor. I dont think he ever tried to be the governor when he was lieutenant governor. Some lieutenant governors try to be the governor when theyre only the lieutenant governor. I dont think he ever tried to do that, and I think that was a source of his ability to get along with the governor and the governor in power to support him and his agenda. But he knew how to put coalitions together. He knewyou know, he knew when to give in. He knew when you could push something so far or push somebody so far, and he realy was a master at understanding motivations and a master at knowing just how far an individual would go in terms of a vote or that sort of thing. So he was justyou know, I dont know all the governors, but hes got to be one of 00:09:00the most skilled political figures in our state in the last hundred yearshe has to be. I think his success shows that, but hes really good at it. And he loved it.
SHORT: Yeah, hes proven that.
SHORT: Lets talk about his relationship with the Speaker of the House.Theres a saying that those guys really knew how and when to rattle each others cages.
WRIGLEY: Yeah, I think they enjoyed it, too. They had a good time with it. Ithink they respected one another. They respected one anothers office. And I think there were times they certainly didnt like each other. They had similar backgrounds in some ways, shared a lot of the same values, both pretty hard-headed. And, you know, both I think felt like that their vision of the 00:10:00state was the correct one. And I think that one of the things that gets overlooked is they fought about substantive matters; it wasnt just personality. Sometimes people in political offices, they fight because its just personalities and about power, and that happens. And certainly they have those kinds of struggles. But they fought about ideas; they fought about substance, whether it was the fiscal role of the stateMiller was far more aggressive about the state having a proactive fiscal investment in whatever it is, education or whatever. I think the Speaker was less so. Its not he wasnt you know, he wasnt a hard right conservative on stuff, but Miller was far more I think comfortable with seeing state government working toward positive ends. So theres a lot of things that, when they fought about them, they were about something bigger. They werent just fighting for the 00:11:00sake of fightingwell, sometimes they did that too because it was fun; they enjoyed it. But they never crashed a legislative session. They never crashed it just because they couldnt get along. You watched them both a long time. I dont recallin the time I worked with them, I dont recall a single time that they just crashed things just because they could. They didnt I dont think the state suffered because they fought. I think probably the state probably benefited because they fought. I dont see anything wrong with that.
WRIGLEY: Thats a good thing.
SHORT: Thats good, yes. Looking at some of the things they disagreed on, wementioned the Mountain Protection Act. Speaker Murphy was not in favor of that. Miller eventually prevailed. The sales tax on food, Murphy was opposed to that, not because of the it wasnt because he didnt want to take the tax off food, but because he thought it would cost the state too much money. Miller 00:12:00eventually prevailed on that. So as you look back over those struggles, dont you think that Governor Miller won most of those battles in the end?
WRIGLEY: Yeah, I think he did. And I think some of them he eventually won asgovernor; and of course that relationship changed dramatically when Miller became Governor. And I think that to some extent explains why he won most of those. And I think on some of the other items, I think he was a statewide elected official and I think to be a statewide elected official you just have to deal with explaining your positions to the public in a very different way than if you were Speaker of the House because you really answer to your whole district and then 179 members of the House. Thats very different than if youve got to run statewide and explain and answer statewide. In some ways it 00:13:00makes it easier to craft and pursue a message because I think one of the things that happened and those who admire Speaker Murphy, and Im one of them, they might disagree with this; but I think the Speaker was never comfortable on that bigger stage and was a little bit awkward when he had to deal with issues where there was a lot of attention and statewide attention and media attention, and Miller was comfortable with that and could have a message. I mean, how many times would they go to the eggs and issues breakfast and Miller would have worked months on a speech and speak eloquently and at length and lay out an agenda, and the Speaker would get up and just sort of mumble through something? And that was his sort of approach to things to the Speaker; it was deliberate. It wasnt as if he didnt have the ability; he certainly did. But that was just kind of his approach. And Millers approach was different. But I think it helped Miller in the end to win those fights.
SHORT: I think that most political insiders really enjoyed them.00:14:00
WRIGLEY: Every year we looked forward to those.
SHORT: Steve, you probably have spent more time with Zell Miller than anybodyoutside of his family while he was in public office. Tell us what he was like when there were no spotlights and no photo ops and no reporters around.
WRIGLEY: He didnt change much. You know him very well, Bob, and he didntchange a lot. He is an intense man, and hes introspective and he thinks a lot. And he remained intense, and that really didnt that didnt change a lot. Hes a very caring person, and I think sometimes people miss that. You know, my wife and I had our children while I was working for him when he was governor, and they grew up; and to this day he always asks about them. When they would go on a foreign trip, he would bring something back for them. You know, he 00:15:00didnt have to do that, but theres a softer side to him and a very caring side to him that I think a lot of people dont realize and you would not see in public except on rare occasions. But hes got a great sense of humor. Hes a lot of fun. Hes got a great sense of humor, which he often didnt show in public, but privately he would. And I think hes got a great sense of humor about himself. You can poke fun at him. You can make fun of him, and he laughs about it, which I think a lot of people might find to be surprising. But hes got a great sense of humor, and its a sense of humor about himself. So he was a lot of fun to be with. He was also, like I said, quiet and could be introspective. I mean, how many times have you ridden in the car with him for two hours and never said a word? And he wasnt being unfriendly; he was either thinking, he was reading. I think, unlike a lot of people in elective office 00:16:00today, he constantly thought about what am I doing, what are we doing, and where are we going and how are we going to get there. He was intense about that. Again, I think thats he wasnt casual about anything he did, which I think is a secret to his success.
SHORT: And as a youthyou know, Ive known him most of my life. In all ofthe time that Ive known him, he has always had a goal.
SHORT: And that goal was to be a United States senator. And he finally achievedthat goal, and I want to talk about that in a minute. But he really had no hobbies. He didnt play golf. He didnt play bridge. You know, hes not a ballroom dancer. But he was a fan of country music and baseball, and Im sure youve been with him on trips to Nashville and baseball trips.
SHORT: And Im sure that he probably was just as excited as a youngster when00:17:00he got into those arenas. Well, he waited 16 years before running for governor. And during that time, he served under two progressive governors, George Busbee and Joe Frank Harris. How were their relationships?
WRIGLEY: I think very good. And I wasnt really around in the Busbee years,but he communicated with both of them well; and they still communicate. I mean, even as far back as Carl Sandersas you know, theyre very good friends and still to this day communicate. Again, I think he was respectful to them. I dont think he ever tried to be the governor as lieutenant governor. I think that made a big difference. Im sure he drove both of them crazy at more than one occasion. And Miller, hes a very good public speaker. He doesnt mind taking something on publicly, and both Busbees styleand Joe Franks style 00:18:00was a little more I guess not as aggressive and calm. They were both very good governors and effective governors, but the styles were different. And to this day with Governor Harris we joke about some of those things that went on. But I think he I think he got along very well with both of them and never tried to substitute himself for either of them, and I think that made a big difference. You know, they would disagree; but, again, I dont recall him ever having a big meltdown disagreement with either governor.
SHORT: He was a bit nave I guess is the word when he became lieutenantgovernor. The first thing he did was give away his power to appoint committees. What do you remember about that?
WRIGLEY: Well, I think youre right; I think nave is the word. I thinkits one too many political science courses or something I think that the 00:19:00shared power was the way to run the Senate, and theres a way to share power without sharing the powers I think. And I think thats what he learned over time. And I think he learned it very quickly, and I think he was smart. And, after losing the Senate race to Talmadge, I mean, theres no question he was wounded, but its remarkable to me and it says a lot about his skill and his determination that losing that race in 80 and then just a few years later getting his powers back as lieutenant governor, which really I think ultimately launched him toward making a successful run for governor. But again, I think it goes back to his skill and understanding, motives about senators and explaining to them why it would make a difference. So I thinkI think he figured out he could share power and wouldnt have to share the power. Somebody ultimately 00:20:00would have to be in charge.
SHORT: Thats right. Lets roll the clock ahead to 1990 and his decision torun for governor. Why did he do that?
WRIGLEY: You know, I think its what I said before. He had something hewanted to do, and I think being lieutenant governor for 16 yearsI think he came to understand Im never going to be able to do some things for the state that I think need to be done in education or whatever unless Im the governor. And I think he felt like it was time to try to, you know, really aggressively put Georgia on a move towardin fact, we were coming up on a new century, and I think he knew were not going to see those kinds of changes unless I get myself elected governor. Its pretty simple. I just think he, you know
SHORT: Yeah. He always has a goal.00:21:00
SHORT: He made a mistake I think during that campaign by declaring that hewould only serve one term. What prompted that decision?
WRIGLEY: I think it was and I think he lived that over here after the 86biannual that heyou know how heand hes sort of cute sometimes in the way he deals with the media. He likes to sort of he always sort of had this side to him that was playful. You know, I think we reached a point where the media scrutiny is such you really cant do that because they hound you and everythings on the web and we were just at that point beginning to see where those kinds of comments are easily retrievable. I think he was just being playful about it and got himself quoted, and that was in late 86. And then he tried to figure out a way to extricate himself from it. I never thought it was that big a political issue. I dont think people care about that sort of thing. But I dont think it was thought out. I think he thought it was sort of 00:22:00cute and playful, and maybe he thought, well, maybe it will help me get elected if I say Im only going to serve one term. I dont know. But I dont think its something he thought through very well.
SHORT: The campaign of 1990, you were involved; and that was the introductionto a fellow named James Carville. Tell us what you can about that campaign.
WRIGLEY: Well, I think it was you know, I think every eight or ten yearscampaignsand maybe its more frequent nowbut they get taken to another level, and I think thats what James and then is associate, Paul Begala, both did. I think they brought a level of sophistication to dealing with media, polling, messaging that had been seen in Georgia, but probably not to the level that they brought. And I first met those guys in 1988 when they became involved with Millers campaign. They brought a lot of discipline, which I think at 00:23:00times in the past Miller had not always shown when he ran for office, and even being in office, which is odd because hes a very self-disciplined person, an extraordinarily self-disciplined person. But I think that pure honesty and that passion just comes out when hes out there in public, and I have explained it. But Carville really brought a discipline and a focus, and the fact that he was James was in his early 40s then I guess he would have been. And he was a little bit older. He wasnt a 28-year-old, 25-year-old person trying to manage a very seasoned, very stubborn, very focused Zell Miller. James was seasoned himself, and the two of them hit it off. They clashed all the time. But James really knew how to work with Zell and get him focused and remind him what this is all about. I think Miller just looked in the mirror and said Im going to do this and Im going to do it right and Im going to manage myself. I think 00:24:00in the end, you know, people talk about James did this or I did that or whateverin the end, Miller won that race because he determined he was going to win that race and he determined he was going to manage himself and do what he needed to do. And James and Paul and others were there just to help support him and provide, you know, campaign discipline and message focus. We did a lot of polling, a lot of, you know, focus groups, a lot of media testing, spent a lot of time writing ads and scripts and a lot of time raising money.
SHORT: It costs a lot of money.
WRIGLEY: Yeah. I think we raised, what, $6 million I think. It doesnt seemlike much now. It was a huge sum of money. But that was for a primary runoff and a general election. And then just four years later I think we raised the same amount of money for essentially the general election. In 94 we raised I think about six. And there was a primary, but we didnt spend hardly any money. So 00:25:00just in those four short years the amount of money needed went up exponentially.
SHORT: That primary Im sure was helpful because you had three opponents thathe he being Miller got 70 percent of the vote. So that was an indication that he went into the general election with some strength. Getting back to that 1990 race, the big issue that Miller raised was the lottery. Obviously, a very popular one that was opposed by all of his opponents, which gave him some sort of leverage in the race. He didnt have to talk about everybody elses issues; he could only talk about his own. That campaign for the lottery was brilliant. And who managed that?
WRIGLEY: Well, Miller was all over it, you know. And to pursue the lottery washis idea. James and Paul had worked with a candidate, Wallace Wilkinson from Kentucky, who had run on a lottery for education. The messaging around it was 00:26:00really refined. You know, there was a group of us. But Miller was front and center on that, and he was the one who was really determined that if theres a lottery in Georgia the money would be dedicatedthe proceeds would be dedicated to education, which was different from other states. And wed already had seen the experience in other states, Florida and Kentucky and others where when the lottery monies went into the general fund they just kind of disappeared. And so Miller made that determination very early on. It polled very well, and a lot of it just had to do with sort of what is I think a cultural lack of confidence in legislative bodies to handle money right. I mean, thats probably unfair to most legislative bodies, but its just how people feel about them. And so I think he knew that intuitively. It polled strongly. And then the messaging around it, you know, we worked on. And I think for Miller, I mean, here was a guy who had been around a longtime; hed been in office a long time. He was running against three other very strong candidates who were 00:27:00fresh in many waysRoy Barnes and Andy Young and Bubba McDonald. And I think not only was it a good idea and he pushed it as a way to advance education in the state of Georgia, but I think it also helped sort of, you know, frankly cover over the fact hed been around a long time.
SHORT: Made him look new.
WRIGLEY: Yeah, it made him look new. It gave him the freshness that showed hewas willing to be innovative and willing to be open to new ideas. And talking about pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds and those kinds of things, I think it was a good combination because I think Georgia voters tend to like people who have experience; but on the other hand, he just it wasnt like he was saying to them, well, Ive been around and its my turn. I think he made it clearand you know Miller, its how he is anyway. He was going to fight for that nomination and winning that election because thats how thats what elections are. Theyre battles, and you win them; theyre notyou know, 00:28:00theyre not coronations. I think he understood that. I think the lottery helped convey that to people.
SHORT: Lets talk about the demographics of that race. You had Andrew Young,who was an African-American. You had Roy Barnes, who was very conservative. And you had Bubba McDonald, who was supported by the Speaker. Now, I recall the Speaker telling me your man can never win because speaking of Miller because he and Andrew Young would split all the liberal votes and that will knock him out. But that didnt happen. Miller, as I recall, got a tremendous number of African-American votes, as well as the rural areas in the state where Murphy didnt think he could poll. Isnt that what happened?
WRIGLEY: Yeah. He did well among African-American voters, and some precincts inAtlanta got in the 20 percent range. Of course, Andrew Young got the lions share of them, but Miller got enough. Of course, in the runoff, you know, did 00:29:00very, very wellran very well among all demographic groups among white voters statewide. And in rural areas and older whites, ran very well there. But interestingly enough, I mean, you know, at that point the suburban vote was very strong and very important, and Miller was very appealing there. And I think Barness strategy was to try to appeal to suburban voters, and it didnt really work for whatever reason. But Miller ran very well in the suburbs as well, both in the primary and then in the general. Of course, even then in 90I dont remember the numbers, but the participation rates in the Democratic Party were five or six-to-one to the Republican primary. Of course, thats changed today. He ran very well among all demographic groups in the 00:30:00primary, and I think again it was about what he said he was for. It was about the messaging, and I think he had a message that resonated with all demographic groups.
SHORT: It could have been that Barnes was hurt because Johnny Isakson, who wasfrom his home county, was running as a republican. And therefore, Barnes didnt get those republican votes that I think he was counting. So he gets elected governor; he wins the runoff, and he goes into office. Whats the first thing that happened?
WRIGLEY: The lottery. That was the top priority, was to get the lottery passed.We had when Miller was lieutenant governor, we had actually passed it in the Senate in the 89 session. Of course, it went to the House and didnt go anywhere. Because it was a constitutional amendment, it needed a two-thirds vote. So that was the top priority. Everything was aroundI mean, you know, aside from all the organizational stuff that you have to do, which is 00:31:00tremendous, as you know. I mean, organizing the office and naming various department heads and all the things that youve got to do. You get on the budgetwe were in a fiscal crisis at the time, nothing like what were facing now but we spent a lot of time on the literally the day after the election in November, spent a lot of time in budget meetings and budget hearings putting together what would have been the fiscalwell, the amended 91 budget and the fiscal 92 budget I guess. And so that consumed an awful lot of time, all of those mechanics that a governor in Georgia has to do and that are very important. But the big focus was on a legislative strategy generally about the various things he had talked about in his campaign that he wanted to do. I think we had 35 or 40 pieces of legislation the first several sessions we were there. But the big thing was the focus on the lottery, naming floor leaders in the House and Senate, and getting that team of people together pretty quickly 00:32:00because we knew we wanted to run the lottery through fast. And we were going to start it in the House and do it first, and it needed 120 votes. So we rather quickly went about getting organized for that and then all the things that you have to do, meetings with the leadership, meetings with the Speaker and lieutenant governor, and of course the lieutenant governor had been elected that year, Pierre Howard, and he was a good ally and very helpful to us through the years.
SHORT: At that point, the Speaker, as I recall, has sort of abandoned hisdesire to argue with Miller and became a pretty good ally.
WRIGLEY: Yeah. They got along very well when Miller was governor. And the onlyreally difficult session that we had was, as I recall, I think the 97 session. But for the most part, they worked well together, communicated regularly. We had regular meetings during the legislative session. Miller met with the leadership of both houses together on Friday afternoons. You know, 00:33:00Speaker Murphy had respect for the office of governor, and he very quickly said to Governor Millerhe said, you know, Ill make sure the lottery gets to the floor for a vote. He wasnt for it, didnt support it; but he wasnt going to hold it up in a committee. But they worked very well together on the big things and the little things. And, you know, the Speaker every now and then would need something in the budget or had an interest in a judicial appointment here or there. And you know how those things help to move the system along. They communicated very well on those kinds of things.
SHORT: The financial crisis you spoke of required some innovative solutions asI recall. Tell us about that.
WRIGLEY: Well, then the economy was in bad shape and had been, and Governor00:34:00Harris didnt have any choice; there was no revenue shortfall reserve. So we were playing without a safety net, and it seems like I mean, the state budget was 7.2, 7.5 billion or 7.9, and we cut it to 7.2 or something, which is a pretty big hit. But Miller did a combination of budget cuts and reductions. Later he was interested in generating new revenues through some fee increases, had a lot of interest in some budget management mechanisms over time to control state spending, which Hank Huckaby had really helped to implement as director of OPB around budget redirection of constantly asking state agencies to prioritize and reprioritize. And so over five or six yearsand Miller really approached it as not year-to-year, which of course our budget is, but thought 00:35:00about it in terms of over five or six years, how to plan and implement the state budget, state spending, and expect and require state agencies to focus on their priorities and to cut their budget by an amount. And they got to retain those monies, but they had to redirect it to their top priority. So it was a way to focus state spending to move along certain priorities without having to put new money into it. And that developed really over five or six years. And then immediate when we first went into office, of course we did the cuts and things; but then we had this Georgia Rebound program in the 92 session where we raised drivers license fees and tag fees and had a pretty extensive capital outlay, set of bond projects to do construction on a variety of things around the state. And so it he really had a combination of things: 00:36:00controlling spending, foring prioritization, and then generating new revenuenot massive amounts of new revenue; the fees generated a couple hundred million I think.
SHORT: One of his early actions was to appoint a commission, as I remember it,on effectiveness and efficiency, the economy and government. That was headed by Virgil Williams.
SHORT: That commission came up with a list of recommendations. Did he implementmost of those?
WRIGLEY: He did, as I recall. And in fact, we had what we refer to as theWilliams Commission on that and on his campaign plan. OPB actually had tracking sheets for campaign promise and, you know, stage of implementation that we kept 00:37:00up with all the time, and the same thing on the Williams commission where they had come up with recommendations and where he decided the ones and, as I recall, the vast majority of them that he wanted to implement. We set up tracking sheets, spreadsheets to keep up with the stages of implementation of those things. And a lot of aspects of the Williams commission and that Virgil of course brought from a business perspective, a lot of it had to do with money management and financial management to accelerate the states management of that, which just made a lot of different processes more efficient in check processing and improving the amount of interest the state was earning and justit seems like a little bit, but when youre talking about several billion dollars, you know, it makes a lot of difference. So that was something early on that was really veryI think very helpful to us. You know, after two or three years those commissions tend to sort of run their course of their 00:38:00natural life, but I think it was very helpful to us in the first term.
SHORT: You were present at the birth of the HOPE Scholarship.
SHORT: How was it born?
WRIGLEY: You know, it really was Miller. Going back, he had this idea about theconcept of the GI Bill, and he really wanted sort of a scholarship plan with that sort of basic, as he would say, you know, if you do something, you get something. And so I think that people missedhe was determined to expand access to higher education opportunities, but he also talked about quality and excellence a lot and felt like that in a state in the Deep South, you know, we havent always valued education and higher education to the degree that we needed to. He valued it, and he wanted to, literally in his words, create a 00:39:00cultural of higher expectation. And thats really what HOPEwas about. And so it was about setting a standard, get a set GPA in your high school academic courses, and you get to go to collegeyou get tuition free. It was very straightforward. And we went through a lot of iterations of what the scholarship program would be like. We had talked about the pre-kindergarten plan during the campaign in a lot of detail. We only talked very generally about maybe using the lottery money for scholarships. And it was only after the election that we really began to spend time focusing on what it would look like. We looked at a lot of different ideas and possibilities. There were a lot of different staff people involved in thatDan Ebersole, whom you know, and David Leereally helped an awful lot, really had a lot of ideas and memos and a lot of different 00:40:00options. And there was debate of do you have a merit-based program or need-based. And Miller was pretty determined, you know, were going to have a merit-based program because the point is in the state of Georgia I want people to realize a college education has value, and were going to teach people that. It matters that you get a college degree, and it has value. And thats sort of where HOPE came from. But we spent a year or more off and on working on different alternatives about what a scholarship program would look like. You know, the most important thing to try to deal with and grapple with is how much money do you have. Estimating lottery revenues was pretty tricky. And I was trading emails with Dan a couple days ago. We started joking about our original estimate was very, very conservative, and we thought it was we estimated 135 million a year. Hank Tomlinson, who was the official revenue estimator for the 00:41:00state, he estimated it at he thoughthe really thought it would be about 250 million a year, but he thought it could go as high as 400. Of course, Miller immediately started saying 400 publicly, the biggest number right away. But that makes a big difference. And you have to price out what are these things going to cost and to structure the HOPE plan andbut by the middle of 92 when we were campaigning for the lottery referendum, that summer of 92 when the lottery constitutional amendment was on the ballot in November of 92 and the campaign for it was heating up, Miller wanted to announce the scholarship program in the late summer or early fall of 92 before the referendum. And so we really put it all together, and thats when it came out, is in September of 92; thats when he announced it. And we had spent a good part of that year putting the details of it together. And of course, when it was initially proposed and the first couple of years of it are different than what it is now. 00:42:00It expanded because of the amount of money the lottery generated; it was significantly higher than what we anticipated. But we went back and forth, had all these meetings and discussion, and Millers propeller heads, as we called them, and memos andyou know, you get some people involved in these things and they get really complicated after a while. I remember one night, the summer of 92. We were sitting in the governors office. And Miller just laid it out. He said this is what I wanted to dojust straightforward and just laid it out. You know, you get a 3.0 in academic classes in high school and you get your first year of tuition for free. And then over time it became more generous than that. Sobut it was there was a long gestation period I think for HOPE. I dont think people realize it was really a long period of time that we worked 00:43:00on it and kicked ideas around about how it would look, how it work, and trying to guess how much revenue wed have.
SHORT: Its been very successful.
WRIGLEY: Yeah, I think its made a big difference in this state. And otherstates have tried to copy it. But, I mean, thatsimitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I think thats the case.
SHORT: In 92the people passed that in 92.
SHORT: And that was the year that Bill Clinton ran for President. So there wasa good turnout, but the vote was close. And the Clinton vote was close. So youve got your youve got what you wanted. You got the lottery. You got your HOPE program on the way. What are some of the other programs that you got underway during Millers first term? 00:44:00
WRIGLEY: There are a number of things that flowed out of the campaign. One ishe was really interested in what we called Preservation 2000, which was to try to expand the amount of natural areas and lands that the state owned and preserved. And he wanted to add 100,000 acres essentially to the now public land that the state owns. It was a pretty big number then, and it was expensive. And so we worked with great folks at the State Department of Natural Resources. Lonice Barrett and others...Joe Cannon was back over as commissioner for a while. Lonice Barrett was head of state parks. They were terrific. I mean, we didnt have to worry about them. They said this is the goal, you know, and they mapped out how to get there. That was a big piece of the first term that we spent a good bit of time on. And as part of that, ultimately Tallulah Gorge came under as now a state park, and theres some significant additions to the state public land holdings. So that was a major undertaking. A lot of issues in just 00:45:00general education reform beyond HOPE. Implementing the pre-kindergarten program was a big undertaking as well. It was obviously related to the lottery and the lottery coming online, and just the mechanics of setting that up were pretty significant. You know, we had a number of other pieces o legislation around crime and punishment I guess, for lack of a better term
SHORT: Boot camps.
WRIGLEY: Boot camps was a big part of the agenda, implementing those, which wasprimarily sort of a budgetary mechanism in getting the state department of corrections to organize them and set them up. We toughened penalties on a number of areas and toward the end of the first term had created I think what are now 00:46:00called the seven deadly sins, but a class of that the most severe violent crimes were, on a second conviction, you go to prison for life. The data was clear and is clear that its that class of felons that really generate a preponderance of the violent crime. And so that was a big part of the agenda, getting that kind of legislation passed. And then, you know, you have your own agenda when you run for office and get elected, and then the thing that you have to work like hell to do is to stick to it because when youre governor of Georgia, as you well know, you run the state. You are the day-to-day CEO. Its not an honorary position; it is a real job. And you work every day. And if theres a prison riot or a flood or, you know, just all the issues that take place in all of those dozens of agencies all over the state, youve got to deal with those. And theyre constantly flooding in trying to take over your 00:47:00agenda, and you cant ignore them. Youve got to deal with them, youve got to manage them, youve got to hire good people and get them in place. And there was a time those first two or three years when resources were tight. What I remember about that first two or three years is a very hectic pace. Each legislative session, we had 30 or 35 bills focusing on the main aspects of the 90 campaign promises, to get those passed and underway, all in a climate of tight resources. And, you know, like I said, you have a few things intervene. I mean, you know, Miller got caught up in the presidential election of 92 and it took a good bit of time. There was this effort to change the state flag that came along in 92 and in the 93 session. You know, the big dreadful flood in 94 and in the summer of the reelection year. All that stuff happens, and 00:48:00youve got to deal with it. Its part of what you do every day.
SHORT: Lets talk about the flag for a minute. We all know the history of theflag. Governor Miller decided that he was going to change it. At first he was criticized about, you know, not including enough resources, meaning people, in that effort. Do you think that he might have passed it had he really done that?
WRIGLEY: No, no, I dont think it would have made a difference. I think, youknow, it was 1992 is when he announced it, in May of 92. And then it was in the 93 session when he attempted to pass it. And I dont think there was the broader understanding and broader commitment on the part of anybody really 00:49:00to try to change that. I think everybody was afraid of it. I think the Democratic Party was afraid of it. I think the republican party was afraid of it. I think the business community was terrified of it. And I think to some extent he was ahead of his time, and I think you know, Ive told him thisI dont think he really handled it very well. I think the speech he made in the 93 State of the State speech where he really, you know, I think waslectured those guys and was offensive to them. You know legislators. Thats not how you get them to do what you want them to do. I remember in November of 92, I actually left his office in November of 92 and went to Georgia State for five or six months. When Keith Mason left and went to the White House, I went back as chief of staff, butso I was not there. But in November, he and I met. He was talking about some stuff, and he asked me what I thought about the flag. And I said you cant pass it. Youve got to introduce it, but I dont really think you ought to push it. And he said thats the way I am, too. And a month lateryou know Miller. Hey, he may 00:50:00deny this, but Im convinced of this: About a month later Tom Murphy and Pierre Howard were quoted in the newspaper saying he cant pass it. Well, you dont wave that in front of him, you know, that he cant do something. And so he sort of became determined to try to pass it, and I think it was he really kind of went about it in the wrong way. Theres no doubt in my mind he believed in his heart and soul it was the right thing to do. And he believed it and felt it very strongly, that it was the right thing to do. And I think I was talking to the pragmatic side of him in November of 92. And I think the passionate side of him took over when he was told you cant do it. And I think he sort of processed that as, well, this is importantyou know, its important symbolically for our state and a lot of people. So he dove in and went at it on all fours. I dont think he had support anywhere to do it, and I 00:51:00think his friends were saying, you know, youre not going to be able to pass it. It clearly cost a lot politically I think.
SHORT: For a while.
WRIGLEY: For a while, yeahyeah, I think so.
SHORT: That resiliency
SHORT: That bouncing higher that he always did.
WRIGLEY: Yeah. But I think he realized, you know, I cant do itcant getit done, and moved on from it. The thing he did that I think was really smartand it wasnt a big issue to very many people, but to the people that it was a big issue to it drove them. You know, it really motivated them. But the thing he did was in the fall of 93, summer and fall of 93 and the year before the 94 reelect, he spent a lot of time out in the state. He traveled the state extensively, and I think that was smart. I mean, hes tough enough 00:52:00and resilient enough to know Im going to go out there; and if theyre mad at me about this, Im going to let them tell me. And its a lot better to let them tell you in September of 93 than in November of 94, which some of them did anyway. But I think he wasnt going to hide from constituents that disagreed with him. He was determined to get out there amongst them, and he did. And there were a lot of good things going on in the state, too. And by then, you know, lottery was kicking in; people were excited about it. We began to issue HOPE scholarships; pre-kindergarten was opening. There were good things going on, and one of the things we try to do is remind people of that.
SHORT: Miller and Clinton, they were good friends in 92. That relationshipseemed to sour.
SHORT: What caused that?
WRIGLEY: You know, I think he, like a lot of people, was really disappointed,offended, angeredI dont know, hed have to pick the labelat the 00:53:00President, you know, just lying about the Monica Lewinsky thing. I think that really that overt lie about that from Clinton I think really was the beginning of Millers taking a step back. Now, I think he still loves the guy, respects him, but I think that sort of closeness, that kindred spirit piece of it, I think thats where they really sort of drifted away, with the beginning of that. And Millers not moralistic about those kinds of things. I think that sort of overt, very public on the part of an office holder, which was damaging to the officeyou know, everything else aside, whether youre a Clinton fan or not, it was damaging to the office. And I think thats what bothered him about it, was the disrespect and disrepute that it had brought to the office of the President.
SHORT: He served in the Senate with Hillary.00:54:00
SHORT: They became good friends.
WRIGLEY: Still are I think, yeah. And shethey became very good friends, youknow, when in 91 and 92. And there are others that can tell this story better, but she was in Georgia scheduled to campaign with him the day that the Gennifer Flowers story broke in 92, January of 92 I guess. And she offered him the chance not to go campaign. I mean, that was a huge story, a huge deal. And he said no; I said Id go, Im going. And shes never forgot that. I mean, you know, he stood in there with her. And I dont think theyve ever had a cross word. I think she defended hm publicly and privately in Washington, and I think to this day does. And you know politicsI mean, people on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum
SHORT: Here today, gone tomorrow.
WRIGLEY: Yeah. And theyre oftentimes very good friends, when people who are00:55:00really ideologically identical dont get along at all. I dont think we choose our friends based on ideology.
SHORT: Lets hope not.
WRIGLEY: But he always speaks highly of her, and I know she liked him. So
SHORT: Steve, if you dont mind, lets move ahead now to 1994 when GovernorMiller is running for reelection, even though he said that he would only serve one term. Tell us about that campaign. You were deeply involved in that one.
WRIGLEY: Uh-huh. We knew from the outset it was going to be a very difficultrace. And I remember meetings in the summer of 93 when we had done some polling. Alan Secrest was our pollster. You know, Miller put the question to him directly. He just said, you know, can I win. And Alan said, you know, its a toss up. And, you know, for an incumbent governor in the state of Georgia and a 00:56:00guy who had been in elective politics as long as he had been, thats a pretty sobering assessment. And he decided were going to go do it; and of course, as he does, he threw himself completely into whatever he needed to do in order to win. A lot of that was what I talked about earlier, that sort of reintroduction of himself. He was not just a guy and all hes trying to do is change the flag. I mean, a big part of the strategy was to try to reintroduce him and make sure that people understood that he had he accomplished a lot as a governor and that he had goals for a second term. So it was an extraordinarily difficult race. Georgia was going Republican. The 92-94 elections nationally and in 00:57:00the South clearly showed that. So we knew it was going to be a tough, close fight. We probably got off lucky, believe it or not, by running against Guy Millner, who was inexperienced in politics and showed it a lot, was not an attractive candidate in many wayshad a lot of money, you know, which helped him get the nomination in their party. But Im not so sure we would have beaten Johnny Isakson had he been the nominee. He made a good strong race against the people forget that 90 general election was close. I think Miller got 53 or something, and Johnny got 45 or six and there was a libertarian in there, which is a pretty close race by 1980 and 70 standards. So, you know, we knew 94 was going to be tough. But Carville was involved again, Begala, and a guy named Jim Andrews, who was really the campaign manager. He did 00:58:00a terrific job, and we had a number of other people involved, Rick Dent and others. And, you know, we did some of the same things we did in 90. We focused on the message. We focused on making sure people understood Miller had accomplished things. And a lot of that was around the lottery, and a lot of it was around some of the environmental things, healthcare, the boot camps, and the two strikes and youre out. I mean, we really worked hard. And that was the sum of the message, theres a record heretheres a good strong record of accomplishment. And that resonated well with people. We pushed it and pushed it and pushed it. We were fortunate in that as the incumbent governor we didnt have a primary really. And so we were able to not have to really run untilthe race didnt really start for us until about August of 94 in terms of the public part of the race. We obviously spent a lot of time on fundraising and the messaging part of it and Miller making public appearances all over the state so 00:59:00that, again, that sort of reintroducing himself. And it was a very tough grueling race. Millner was a tough guy and a tough opponent and didnt back And so he was very tough, but was not a good messenger, you know, and made a lot of public mistakes, spoke out against gambling and it turned out he owned casinos. I mean, those kinds of things just drive the public crazy, the hypocrisy of that. And then talking about cutting taxes and he doesnt pay his own taxes and just a lot of things that business people who are successful in an arena where theres no public scrutiny. When they get into politics and theres public scrutiny on everything you do and say, its very difficult to make that switch. And he helped us a lot. He made a lot of mistakes. I think the 01:00:00state wanted to vote for somebody else in many respects, and we wound up winning by 32,000 votes. And it was 51 to 49 or something like that. It was very, very close. And I think you know, I think its possible that, you know, a stronger Republican nominee might have beaten Miller. I really believe that. But I think Miller himself ran virtually a flawless campaign. I think he was terrific and he worked hard. He didnt whine and cry about it; he just got in and worked his tail off, and I think he ran a flawless campaign. But it was still very close, and the Republicans even nationally Democratic governors all over the country were getting beat, and Richards got beat that year by a guy 01:01:00named George Bush. We forget that, you know. Bush went on to bigger and better thingsI guess better, I dont know. But that was a year when the Democratic governors went down in rows, and that year and the next couple of years the governors went from being likeI dont remember the exact numbers35-15 Democrat to Republican to almost the reverse. I mean, it was a big switch nationally. And Miller survived that, and Lawton Chiles in Florida survived that. And Lawton Chiles had won by an even smaller margin. We won by 32,000, and I think he won by 15 or 16,000 in a bigger state. So the percent was even Ill never forget Chiles called Miller within a day or two when it was clear they both won, a day or two of election. Chiles called Miller and said "Landslide one to Landslide two. They had a sense of humor about it. But
SHORT: That was the year of the Contract with America.
WRIGLEY: It was Gingrich's--It was a big Republican national wave. And as you01:02:00know, the thingwhen youre running in a statewide race, you generally want to avoid your state race for a state office being nationalized. You dont want to get caught up in all that goo that goes on in Washington. And we got caught up in that. And some of it was our own doing because of Millers closeness to Clinton. That was a liability. And some of it was just the nature of what was going on in the country, the dissatisfaction with President Clintons first couple of years, the demographic changes in the state of Georgia which had changed dramatically from the mid to late 80s. And MillersI think we overlook sometimes Miller supporting the lottery, that cost him in terms of his traditional vote base. Seniors had doubts about it. The flag thing cost him among some white voters. But what happened is he really and this is where I 01:03:00think Democrats failed to build on after he left office. But he also really energized younger voters and younger female voters. If you believe in the polling, they voted for him heavily. And he held his own there. Thats not a record that subsequent Democrats built on. I think its cost us. It cost Democrats. But it was a very different kind of campaign because in some ways we were appealing to very different voters because some of them wed lost. But he won, and he ran against a tough, smart, tenacious opponent who had probably too many flaws ultimately to win. And thats not a personal thing; its just, you know, the nature of someone who makes the kind of transition that Millner tried to make, and it wasnt he made a lot of mistakes. You know, hed say things and you could easily contradict him with the things hed said 01:04:00before and would just sort of say things insulting to people in public. And so its hard to make that kind of transition from being a CEO to being a candidate. And I think Millner got better. He never won a race, but he ran, what, two more times I think? And he got better as a candidate, but, yeah, it was a tough race. When I hear 1994, I flinch still. I mean, it was a long, difficult year
SHORT: Were there any new planks in the Miller platform?
WRIGLEY: Yeah. We had we sort of had a two-part race. We talked about therecord. We spent a lot of time telling people this is what hes accomplished. And then we had we laid out an agenda for 94, which probably wasnt thattheres nothing memorable in that to me, not like the first term. And 01:05:00the other thing thats sort of hovering over all this is the Olympics were coming to Georgia in 96. And the state basically made that work. I mean, the Olympics would not have happened had the state not pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into it. It was indirectI mean, we built dorms and other facilities that the state later got and utilized, spent a lot of money on security and law enforcement support. That was a big part of the states involvement. All that was sort of in the background of the 94 reelect and afterward, and we knew if we won that the second term would be dominated by dealing with the preparation for the 96 Olympics. So that was sort of hovering there in the background. You know, the 94 "sort of" agenda for a second term isnt all that memorable to me. Its just sort of weird to think back on.
SHORT: Right. Lets talk for a minute about the judicial appointment01:06:00situation when Zell Miller was governor. As I recall, he was under court order not to make any appointments until some case was decided.
WRIGLEY: Yeah. And he ultimatelythey managed to work that out through somenegotiations. In his first term Im glad you jogged my memory. There were a number of things he worked out or resolved, just through negotiation. And what used to be the old Presidential Parkway situation, if you remember that, he worked through the DOT, this court case around superior court appointments that they worked out and settled. And he was able then to make a lot of appointments, and he really made a lot of appointments of African-Americans even beyond I think what the courts expected or required at the superior court level. But he loved making judicial appointments. He really was into that. For a guy whos a 01:07:00non-lawyer and who was a policy person, hes not a legal person. And theyre two very kinds of people. Miller is a policy person. Hes not a legal person. And hebut he loved that. He loved the judicial appointments, and he loved doing the interviews and spent a lot of time on those decisions from state court, superior court, supreme courtall of the appointments he made he spent a lot of time on them, took them seriously. And then theres always a political aspect to them because everybodys got to support them. And he really took a measure of these folks in the interview process. And it was a job interview for him. I mean, he really worked people over pretty good I think. I mean, he knows its an incredibly important job and I think he wanted to make sure that the people he put in it not only had the character and the integrity but also that sort of they remembered where they came from. You know, that old 01:08:00thing about getting "robe-itis" is something that I think he always tried to make sure he put somebody on the court that didnt forget that theyre not Zeus sitting up there. You know, theyre dealing with very real-world things. But, yeah, he was very active, I think much to the chagrin of his legal counsel. He was very active in the judicial appointments. There were the water wars when he came into office. Alabama had sued Georgia over water allocation out of the Chattahoochee, and we you know, and Joe Chandler was instrumental in helping on this. But we got them to drop that suit, and we entered into negotiations to try to work out how to do that. And of course, here we are now nearly 20 years later and still working on it. So, you know, there were a lot of non-legislative aspects to governing that he took on in the first term, and the 01:09:00judicial thing was a big one I think.
SHORT: He also replaced the state board of education at one point.
SHORT: That was typical Miller, was it not?
WRIGLEY: It really was. And in 94 we had talked about it. Linda Schrenko,who was elected as a Republican to be the state school superintendent, and the board was appointed by the governor, and of course we had appointed most of the board I think by then. You know, Miller had hes got a respect for what voters decide. And we had board members who just would not get along with her. You know, it was probably one of those situations where the superintendent and the board members went out of their way not to get along and went out of their way to be difficult rather than went out of their way to try to get along. This went on I guess for a year and a half or so. Im trying to remember what year 01:10:00it was that we did it, but we had talked about it. He and I had talked about what could be done, and we had talked to board members about it. We had talked to you know, we worked with Ms. Schrenko, who had actually been pretty good for us to work with and supported things that we wanted to do. She could be very unpredictable, but, you know, we worked pretty well with her. We had sort of kicked that around, and he, you know, kicked around I thinkyou know, I think the only way to do this is to make a clean break. And we waited for an opportunity, and something happened. I dont remembersomething happened that triggered it. One morning early I was having breakfast with Bill Nigut. I was going to have breakfast with Bill Nigut at 7 or 7:15 or 7:30, somewhere in there at the old Murphys Restaurant over there. And I got there and I sat down and ordered my food, and my beeper went off, which is not unusual. Miller said "Come on in, 01:11:00were going to do something. And so we went in to the governors office, and he said "Im going to fire the school board. I said okay. Because we had talked about it for several weeks. We knew something dramatic was going to have to happen. You know, he technically cant really fire them. You know, we had to get resignations. And I think ultimately everybody resigned but one. And of course, then he asked Johnny Isakson to be the board chair. That was great fun. Johnny was a little bit reluctant I think, and Johnny said, you know, can I have some input into who you appoint? Miller said give me a list. He just basically let Johnny say, and he said Ive got to agree to it obviously, but So they went back and forth, and I think Johnny may have only suggested one or two, if that many, that Miller didnt agree to. But it was basically 01:12:00Johnnys list. And to this day, Johnny talks about that. And so one morning Miller and I and Johnny went to the governors mansion, and Id get people on the phone and tell them that Johnny Isakson and Zell Miller wanted to talk to them, and Johnny would talk to them and Miller would talk to them and they wouldnt take no for an answer. And these folks didnt know what they were being asked, you know. So we spent a couple hours one morning out at the governors mansion recruiting a new school board, and it was I think it was a good example. When Miller made up his mind, you know, he struck and sort of struck quickly, and it was somewhat dramatic; but it was the kind of thing to make a statement that, you know, this woman has been elected by the people of Georgia to be the superintendentyou need to let her be the superintendent. He really felt strongly about that. So that wasthat was kind of fun actually. It was a little unusual.
SHORT: In his early career being a senator from the mountains of Georgia, North01:13:00Georgia, Miller had some problem understanding the role of business in politics.
SHORT: He slowly overcame that. How did he do it?
WRIGLEY: I just think its the maturing that most of us go through. And Ithink an understanding and a recognitionI think I mean, you know him. He grew up with that sort of populous anti-business aspect to him. I think he realized over time that business investment, corporate investment creates jobs, its essential to how our country works and how our state works and to the quality of life. And I think for somebody who is as uterly passionate about improving the quality of life in the state as he was, he couldnt very long cling to the notion that being hostile to business is a good thing. I think he 01:14:00just learned over time, dont you? I dont know if there might have been something before I met him where there was an epiphany; but by the time I knew him, a lot of that was basically, you know, gone.
SHORT: I think he just didnt know
WRIGLEY: Yes, I think thats right.
SHORT: The people involved.
SHORT: And once he got to know the people involved, he sort of changed his mindabout the role they could and should play in the Georgia government.
WRIGLEY: Yeah, I think thats right, yeah.
SHORT: So that was a good plus.
WRIGLEY: And I think by the time he was governor he enjoyed a greatrelationship with the business community and the corporate community. I think they looked to him for leadership. They followed his leadership.
SHORT: They liked his leadership.
SHORT: I remember Tom Cousins, who we all know has been a very successfulbusinessman in Atlanta, became a great supporter because he admired the way Miller did things.
WRIGLEY: Yes, very much so.01:15:00
SHORT: That was good.
WRIGLEY: And the thing thats interesting is in the 94 reelection Millerrunning against Miller, a career politician running against a successful CEO, Miller had 100 percent support from the Atlanta business communityopenly and publicly supported him and raised money for him because they liked his leadership and stewardship of the state. They felt he had done a good job as a manager and was investing in the right policies and was taking the state in the right direction. We had very strong support from the business community in the 94 reelection.
SHORT: Looking back over those years, besides HOPE, what do you think wereMillers biggest accomplishments?
WRIGLEY: I do think pre-kindergarten gets overlooked, particularly for itspotential for getting kids ready for school and what that means in particular in 01:16:00our state. In fact, when Roy Barnes was elected in 98, I was with him somewhere and he said that to me. He said everybody talks about HOPE; he said I think pre-kindergarten long-term will be the legacy piece. I think that was a big deal. And it was also the thing thatHOPE is easy to like. HOPE is easy to explain. HOPE is easy for everybody to say, "yeah, I really like that," even if you dont like the lottery. Everybody gravitates to it. But, you knowand thats why Miller wanted pre-kindergarten to be voluntary, because theres still in our state a notion that we shouldnt the state doesnt need to be interfering with two and three and four-year-olds and we shouldnt mandate, you know, what parents do with them. So thats why its voluntary. There was a lot of religious opposition because of the business competition that it would 01:17:00create to their own dayschools and preschools, and that was probably some of the source of their opposition to the lottery, I guess to be cynical about it. But that was probably tougher from a political sense than HOPE ever was. Like I said, HOPE is easy. I mean, youre not going to find anybody who doesnt like HOPE. Its hard not to like it. But pre-kindergarten politically could be threatening to some people and unnerving to some people. So I think that was a big deal. He loved it. He cared about it a lot, spent a lot of time on it, would visit pre-kindergarten sites. Really paid a lot of attention to it. You know, he spent you know, he made sure that he paid attention to the curriculum, you know, and he wanted to make sure that every pre-kindergarten kid read The Little Engine that Could. You remember that? He had all these bookshe had them all printed and distributed because of the theme in there of persistence, of being 01:18:00tenacious. Then he later did that music for babys brainsyou remember that? I mean, he cared about a lot of that stuff. He got with Sony Music, and they did a CD because there were studies that showed that listening to certain kinds of music, classical music, on the part of six-month, eight-month, and one-year-olds developed their brains. So he worked with the Georgia Hospital Association. I mean, he had this whole scheme of working with Sony and the hospital so that when a mother left with her baby she had a CD with these classical music songs on it. So those are the kinds of things that dont get a lot of attention, but I think in terms of helping again to improve the quality of life in the state by developing the human capacity in the state, which is always what he focused on, I think was a big deal. I think the other thing thats overlooked is, I do think the extent to which his leadership transformed higher education in 01:19:00Georgia. We talk about it some, but we dont always wrap it up that neatly. But for this university, the University of Georgia, its a much better place because of Millers determination to invest in it, invest in Georgia Tech, and assist them in general. But all that asidebut to say to people it really matters if you get a college degree, it really matters if you get an advanced degree, you should go do that, it makes a differenceit will make a difference in your life, and it will make a difference in our state. And, you know, the reality is governors dontthey didnt talk like that and maybe dont now. I mean, I think its a shame because it really doesit is what separates a state thats going to be competitive with you know, lets face itit could be Indiana and India. I mean, thats what separates us and 01:20:00it will separate you if you dont produce those kindsyou know, an educated population. It will separate you in the wrong way. He understood that and was passionate about it. And I think that was a monumental achievement of his, to move the higher education system in our state from a really nice average system in the Deep South to a very good one. I think he created that momentum, and its hopefully still continuing. I think thats a huge achievement. I think thats one. You know, I just think the establishment of the lottery was really sort of a departure politically, or culturally if you will, because everybody said you cant pass that; were a Deep South state dominated by the Baptists. I think what that told everybody was no, thats not the case, that even if you talk to people about education they really dothey care about that. So I think that political culture change or a recognition of the change 01:21:00was a big deal. And then, you know, again politically, I think remaining as a Democratic governor and keeping a Democratic legislature in the course of the 1990s was a pretty remarkable achievement in a Deep South state when every state around us changed. Either one house or both houses or the governors office wentRepublicans took over. It didnt happen here while he was governor. And I think a lot of it was, he wasnt self-conscious about it. What he was self-conscious about was issues and policies and messaging around those that everybody cared about, regardless ofyou know, he looked for that broad group in the middle and didnt try to consciously do party building. I think thats why it happened the way that it did. I think his fiscal management of the state, sometimes gets overlooked. He did a terrific job with that, and he 01:22:00entered at a time when there was nothing in the RSR and had to cut the budget. He cut taxes several times in the course of his term; and when he left, he left a very nice surplus. Eight years later, there was a very nice surplus, while enhancing a lot of state policy, whether it was on the environmental side, you know, all the things weve talked about and a number of areas in education. So I think that strong management, while also investing in things that make a difference, I think thats a really strong record. It would be hard to duplicate because he was able to advance the proactive agenda while at the same time, you know, managing the funds withinwithin that agenda and its probably harder to do now because of the states revenue situation being what it is. 01:23:00
SHORT: Is there nything you think he would want to change in his career?
WRIGLEY: Well, you've talked to him, too. You know, I think he he and Ihave talked several times. He sometimes looks back, and this I think from a personal style standpoint, wishes maybe he had not been as tough maybe. Ive told him "You wouldnt have been as successful." I dont know that theres anything as governor he would have looking back, he would change. I wonder now if he could do it over again, if he would have I think he might have tried to change the flag. I think he might have tried to change it differently. I think he might have tried to go slower and maybe would have tried to, you know, get out sort of a statewide effort behind it rather than just push it almost single-handedly. I think that with respect to HOPE, he probably would 01:24:00have visited more about, well, lets set up a need-based component to that and not just have it completely merit-based. It wouldnt take much money. I mean, it would be a small amount of money. Other than that, I dont know. I mean, when I talk to him, we dont really you may talk to him about that sort of thing. We dont really look back and say, well, I wish we had done this or done that. I mean, its sort of you get your chance and you do your best and you move on from it. And some things work and some things dont, and you just know. Its a hard job; its a tough situation and you do the best you can. I mean, there are unfortunately some administrations which are failures, administrations which have a lot of really negative aspects to them and not many successes. I dont think Millers was that way at all, and you still look back and probably wish things were different and such but ultimately it sort of is what it is and to let other people decide those things I think. 01:25:00
SHORT: Were you surprised when Governor Roy Barnes appointed him to the UnitedStates Senate?
WRIGLEY: You know, not really. We talked a lot about that, as he wasconsidering accepting the appointment. I think it was a logical smart choice for Governor Barnes to make. It says a lot about Governor Barnes; its says a lot about his own self-confidence and constraint and ability to be analytical about a decision because theyd been rivals, I mean, theyd really never been a lot of animosity between them. But theyd been political rivals and run against one another. It says a lot about Barness ability just set all that aside and say, "You know, I want to put up somebody who can win." So I wasnt reallyI wasnt sure Miller was going to take it. I mean, I guess in the end 01:26:00I knew he would, but he really went back and forth on it, as you know. I mean, he really struggled with whether or not to take it. You know, Barnes is great. Hes a terrific salesman. I dont think Barnes isI told him that, Im not going to take no for an answer. Barnes is just bright and articulate and persuasive and funny, and I think he wasnt going to let him think about any other thing than saying yes.
SHORT: What is your opinion of Millers conduct in the Senate?
WRIGLEY: He and I have talked about this. You know, the one thing there Iregret that he may not regret, that whole episode of going around the Republican convention in 04 I think was unfortunate and unnecessary and showing that much angersomebody somewhere shouldnt have let him do that. But, you know, outside of that, which is not sort of part of the Senate, but it was part of President Bushs reelectionI dont have any, you know, negative judgment 01:27:00about it. I mean, he was appointed. He then ran immediately, and he got elected by the people in the state. I think, he and Ive talked about this and talked about it while he was doing it sometimes. I think hes an executive. You know, hes an executive branch guy. He is not a legislative guy, particularly with respect to what you have to do in the U.S. Senate, which is work four years to pass a bill. Hes not a patient guy, as you know. You know, he likes to do things and if youre a senator, you get to make speeches about doing things. You dont get to do things; you get to make speeches about doing things. And thats two very different things. Thats what members of congress get to do. They get to make speeches about doing things. That wasnt for him. I think the really gross partisan nature on Washington turned him off badly, by people in the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party. But it wasnt his cup of 01:28:00tea. All of the stuff you have to do, you know, to be a good senatorits a very important role in our country, but its not what hes cut out to do. I mean, Id talked to him about, you know, about what his philosophy waswell, the President ought to have his own team; whoever he wants to appoint he ought to get to appoint. I said, well, the constitution says youre supposed to advise and consent. Its not its different. You know, its not the state of Georgia. You know, hes not the governor of Georgia; hes the President of the United States, and the constitution says youre supposed to do this. He didnt buy into that, you know. I think just the role of a senator, which is very important in our country and our state has produced some great senators youve got to have the makeup for it, both emotional and otherwise, and he just doesnt. You roll all that into the fact it was in Washington, a place he, as a governor, didnt like it. Wed go up there, and all these governors would try to do everything they could to get in the Washington Post or get their photo at the White House. You know, he didnt 01:29:00want to do any of that. He had no interest in that. Its unfortunate because I think when he left office as governor he was very happy and content and, you know, being a U.S. Senator, way too appealing to turn down that appointment, but I think when he got up there he was sort of disappointed in a lot of aspects of it. Probably showed it more than he should have. I mean, in the end hes a big boy and youre a United States Senator and, you know, if youre unhappy about being there you dont necessarily have to tell the whole countryjust suck it up. I know there are other issues he had to deal with and such that youre aware of, but Im not judging him about it. I mean, the guy is a great public servant in our states history. I mean, youre going to carve out 18 or 24 months of it and say, 'Well, I wish he hadnt done that'Id never do that to him. I think for somebody whos been so good to me like he 01:30:00has and so important to me, I wouldnt do that. Even if I didnt know him as well, I think its sort of grossly not fair to measure somebody that way.
SHORT: Tell us about the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
WRIGLEY: Okay. Its a public service unit here at the University of Georgia.The University of Georgia has a three-part mission: teaching, research, and service. Were part of the public service arm. Our mission basically is to try to transfer some of the knowledge thats in the University out in the state and to improve the quality of life in the state. So theres a small business development unit which helps people start and run small businesses. Theres the Fanning Leadership Institute which works with communities on helping them to develop their community leaders, and the Georgia Center For Continuing 01:31:00Education, is a public service institute. Were the Institute of Government, so our focus is to work with government officials, elected and appointed on helping them run their governments better. We work a lot with cities and counties, do some work with state agencies. The biggest part of our portfolio is the training courses that we offer and provide to state and local and elected and appointed officials. All newly-elected county and city officials are required by law actually to participate in a minimum amount of training through some of our training classes. Its very basic, teaching them about public accounting, ethics, open records, how you deal with your staff, how you run a meeting; but the whole purpose of it is to help someone whos never held any 01:32:00kind of elective office before to adjust to that. s you know, you get elected in November, and in January you take over. Theyre wonderful people. Theyre dedicated to their communities, but you might have somebody whos in their 50s or 60s and has been very successful in their different walks of life, either running a business or an accounting firm or a law firm or a ministry or whateverthen suddenly, boom, theyre a public official. You know, if you run your own company or your own law firm, you dont have to ask anybody what to do. You dont really have to work with maybe three or five or seven other people to reach a consensus about what you ought to do on the trash pick-up or the sheriffs budget or whatever. You know, for me and you, its second nature because weve been in public affairs most of our lives. So weve seen 01:33:00it and weve watched great people do it and weve participated in it. But for a lot of people, when you come to it for the first time, its very new. Then there are all these things like, well, what do you you know, what do you mean weve got to bid these contracts and what do you mean the newspaper gets to sit in on our meetings? So what we try to do is get them ready for that, that, look, youre starting something very new, its in the public arena; everything you say and do and write is open to scrutiny and theres going to be you know, unless youre a sole county commissioner and we dont have but a few of those nowadays theres three to five to seven or nine or whatever the number is other people youve got to work with. Then theres a staff. You know, youre probably going to not have enough resources to run your police department and your fire department, and then youve got to interact with this sheriffs department, and hes elected independently of 01:34:00you that you handle his budget. Youve got a school board and a school system thats separate from you as well, but you fish out of the same property tax pool. So all these relationships that people come to and they go, wow, you knowtheyre again under the scrutiny of the public. So we try to get them ready for that. Then we have advanced courses that focus on that are voluntary that focus on leadership development and to really get, once theyre sort of settled in and have a knack for what it means now to be a public official, we will want to try to help them take their public service to another level in terms of their own leadership, leadership style, leadership development. Thats a big part of what we do, is our training focus. We also have faculty who do technical assistance work. By that, we may weve got a 01:35:00group that does a lot of human resources work where we work with a city, a county, a sheriffs office, the GBI, on their just their paying class systems to help them get that right so that its merit-based. Weve got a group that does a lot of technical assistance work with local governments just on if they want to change their structure, on their ordinances. Weve got an environmental policy group. Weve got a new group that we just started, an applied demography group which is doing population estimates and projections for the state of Georgia and are working with state EPD. As they put together a statewide water plan, were feeding to them labor and population projections and estimates. So weve got a group that does a lot of technical assistance and policy-related work with state and local government agencies, again just to were not advocates; were there to provide them good information and to help them make better decisions. You know, whatever decision they want to make 01:36:00is their business. Theyre elected. Thats their job. But were there to help themyou know, be a resource to them. Weve got a small international program where we do training programs for countries that are transitioning to democracy. Weve got an information technology section which does a lot of interesting things with GIS, GIS mapping and technology for state agencies and for, again, local governments. We do a lot of work with the state DOT; the state highway map, we produce that. Its all GIS-based, and its fascinating stuff. I dont understand any of it, but the products are terrific; theyre really interesting. You can use that as an analytical tool. You can actually G-O code certain kinds of education information and look at geographic patterns to some of that and so we try to blend that in to some of our work. So its a lot 01:37:00of fun. Its a great place. I mean, I like government; I like politicians; I like what governments do. I think its great fun working with folks particularly at the city and county level who have tough jobs. We ask them to do really difficult things, and we dont pay them and they dont have any resources and everybodys always mad at them. But its a lot of fun, a lot of really great people that we get to work with. Were part of the University of Georgia, and we utilize faculty members from, you know, maybe the public administration department sometimes or family and consumer sciences, social work; you know, some of our projects we try to involve them, and we hire students. We hire Masters and Ph.D. students, and also weve started to hire some undergraduate students to be involved in that. And particularly with the undergraduates, you know, you can go through college and really not learn much about state and local government, which is really a shame. So one of the things 01:38:00we want to do is to begin to reach out to some of those undergraduates, and then there are places just full of these really smart kids. We want some of them to be aware, you know, look, heres a career path or, if its not a career path when youre outyou know, you ought to at least have some understanding of how these very important entities in your life function. So its fun. Its a mix of policy and training and technical assistance and politicking, and its a really good, strong organization. Its been around since 1927 in one form or another. It was named in the early 80s for Congressman Carl Vinson, who of course wasI think still holds the record for the longest-serving member of the U.S. House.
SHORT: Mr. Navy.
WRIGLEY: Yes, thats exactly right, built the Two Ocean Navy in the 1930s and 40s.
SHORT: Well, it sounds like its a very necessary thing.
WRIGLEY: Its a good group. I think we make a difference, a positivedifference; and we want to keep doing that. Its fun. 01:39:00
SHORT: Steve, I want to thank you for being our guest.
WRIGLEY: Happy to do it.
SHORT: Its been fun going over some of the years I remember.
WRIGLEY: Yes, I appreciate being asked. Im honored to be ask. Its good tochat with you about it, too. Thank you. Appreciate it.