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Interview with Pierre Howard, November 16, 2009

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:01:02 - Father's family history

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Partial Transcript: Let’s talk a minute about the Howards.

Segment Synopsis: Howards speaks at length about his father's family, which included lawyers and religious and legislative leaders. He explains why his great-grandfather, a Huguenot, had to flee France, eventually landing in Texas, where he married and became the mayor of Austin.

Keywords: Jacques Pierre DuVinage; Reconstruction; Thomas Coke Howard; ancestors; grandfathers; grandmothers; heritage; relatives

00:13:37 - "Peer" Howard / Mother's family history

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Partial Transcript: And my father, Pierre, and we pronounce it "Peer” and not "Pierre..."

Segment Synopsis: Howard clarifies the correct pronunciation of his name and talks about one of his campaign slogans: "Pierre is French for Bubba." Howard also discusses the history of his mother's family, including stories about how his parents met, a plantation burned by the Yankees, and Senator Benjamin Harvey Hill, a confederate who was arrested after the war, but who later became a U.S. Senator.

Keywords: Bellevue; Civil War; French; Senate; St. Luke’s Episcopal Church; campaigns; college; confederacy; confederates; family; names

00:22:52 - Intro to politics / Tennis career

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Partial Transcript: So you grew up in Decatur.

Segment Synopsis: Howard explains that his father and grandfather, both legislators, sparked his early interest in politics. He also talks about playing tennis at Decatur High School and the University of Georgia and being inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame.

Keywords: Dan Magill; DeKalb County; Eugene Talmadge; Schley Howard; campaigning

00:29:46 - The Kennedys / Practicing law

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Partial Transcript: Then to law school.

Segment Synopsis: Howard describes how JFK influenced his views on segregation. He talks about working at his father's law firm before establishing his own firm with Tom Gilliland.

Keywords: Bobby Kennedy; John F. Kennedy

00:35:43 - Running for the Georgia Senate

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Partial Transcript: 1972, the age of 29, you ran for the Georgia State Senate.

Segment Synopsis: Howard recalls canvassing neighborhoods before the 1972 election for Georgia's 42nd Senate district. He also offers his views on public office and on Governor Maddox.

Keywords: Governor Maddox; House of Representatives; Jimmy Carter; Lester Maddox; Senate; campaigning; canvassing; demographics; legislature

00:46:49 - Carter-Maddox feud / Senate floor leadership

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Partial Transcript: What can you tell us about the famous or maybe infamous feud between Governor Jimmy Carter and Lieutenant Governor Maddox while you were in the Senate?

Segment Synopsis: Howard speculates as to the origin of the Carter-Maddox feud and describes how Carter attempted to decrease Maddox's power by reorganizing the government and removing the lieutenant governor's ability to appoint committee members. Howard also questions the benefits of having been an assistant floor leader under Governor Busbee.

Keywords: Al Holloway; Carl Sanders; George Busbee; Jimmy Carter; Lester Maddox; competition; kindergarten; reorganization

00:56:11 - Accomplishments in the Georgia Senate

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Partial Transcript: Let’s talk for a minute if you will about some of your accomplishments as a state senator before you became lieutenant governor.

Segment Synopsis: Howard talks about his efforts to improve Senate ethics by requiring increased reporting of campaign contributions. He also discusses the Community Care Act, which reduced the cost of in-home healthcare for the elderly. Additionally, Howard speaks about the death penalty, sentencing, and his support for Zell Miller's "two strikes, you're out" policy for violent offenders.

Keywords: Medicaid; Russ Toll; crime; drugs; ethics; healthcare; human resources; policy

01:07:25 - Healthcare challenges / Gang of Five

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Partial Transcript: Well, let’s talk for a minute about healthcare.

Segment Synopsis: Howard discusses the importance of expanding access to and limiting costs of health insurance. Howard also talks about the Gang of Five, a group of progressive senators including Howard, Roy Barnes, Wayne Garner, Ed Hein, and Paul Trulock.

Keywords: Senate; care; health; leadership; legislation; medicine; reforms

01:14:08 - Running for lieutenant governor / Demands of the office

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Partial Transcript: Well, it’s 1990 and you decide to run for lieutenant governor.

Segment Synopsis: Howard explains why he chose to run for the position of lieutenant governor rather than governor in 1990. He also considers how the office has come to entail more responsibility and a greater time commitment.

Keywords: Zell Miller; elections; salary; statewide

01:22:07 - Thoughts on Zell Miller

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Partial Transcript: You served eight years as lieutenant governor to Governor Zell Miller.

Segment Synopsis: Howard recalls attempting to remove the lieutenant governor's committee appointment powers before Zell Miller took the office. He talks about small disagreements with Governor Miller but emphasizes his overwhelming support for initiatives like the HOPE Scholarship.

Keywords: Democratic Party; HOPE; Max Cleland; Senate rules; committees; education; scholarship

01:30:51 - Lietenant governors and agenda setting

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Partial Transcript: Let me ask you this question.

01:38:43 - Accomplishments as lieutenant governor

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Partial Transcript: Here’s a question you might not want an answer.

Segment Synopsis: Howard says that he decided not to run for governor in 1994 because of Miller's desire to keep the office for another term. Howard discusses the Peach Program, which provides job training, education, and childcare to welfare recipients. He also mentions the seatbelt mandate and the environmental progress he made while lieutenant governor.

Keywords: Chattahoochee River; Preservation 2000; Zell Miller; conservation; elections; governors; nature; public lands; welfare

01:47:56 - Withdrawal from 1998 race

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Partial Transcript: 1998, an open seat in the Governor’s race. We all expected you to win but you withdrew.

Segment Synopsis: Howard recalls pulling out of the 1998 gubernatorial race. He explains that he was not willing to sacrifice his family life to perform the duties of governor.

Keywords: Roy Barnes; campaigning; elections; fundraising

01:55:44 - Life after office

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Partial Transcript: How about life after public service?

Segment Synopsis: Howard reflects on his time in public office, talks about a business venture with Matt Towery, and discusses his work as president of the Georgia Conservancy.

Keywords: Governor Barnes; Natural Resources Committee; University of Georgia; conservation; ecology; environment; nature; preservation

02:00:50 - Regrets and highlights of Howard's political career

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Partial Transcript: If you had your career to do over, would you do anything differently?

Segment Synopsis: Howard states that he should have left politics earlier, but he looks back fondly upon his election to lieutenant governor and his Chattahoochee River project. Howard wishes that he and Speaker Murphy could have worked better together, and he regrets the partisanship of later administrations.

Keywords: Governor Perdue; Tom Murphy; bipartisanship; parties; partisan