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Interview with Ford Spinks, December 2, 2009

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:56 - Family roots / School days

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Partial Transcript: So let’s get started, if you will, by talking about your early life here in Georgia’s agricultural belt in Tift County.

Segment Synopsis: Spinks talks about his parents and grandparents, all of whom were involved in agriculture in Tift County. He mentions the schools he attended while growing up and tells an anecdote about traveling to work on a broken bicycle.

Keywords: ABAC; Bonaire, Ga; Excelsior, Ga.; Plant City, Fl.; Tifton, Ga.; dairy

00:07:27 - Constabulatory service at the Nuremburg Trials

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Partial Transcript: And then you went into the service, into the Army, I think.

Segment Synopsis: Spinks recalls serving in the U.S. Army's 72nd Constabulary, during which time he escorted prisoners to and from the Nuremburg Trials.

Keywords: Nuremburg; Stuttgart; World War II (WWII); constable; military; war

00:15:05 - Career and family

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Partial Transcript: So you came back to Tifton.

Segment Synopsis: Spinks chronicles past jobs such as running a movie theater, dairy farming, delivering milk for Omega, and being an EMT. Spinks recalls his mother's death and briefly speaks about getting married.

Keywords: ABAC; Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College; business; career; entrepreneurship; family; marriage; wife; work

00:25:44 - Election to the Georgia Senate

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Partial Transcript: When did you first get interested in politics?

Segment Synopsis: Spinks says that he was pushed into running for political offices within the county commission and the Georgia Senate. Spinks and Short explain Georgia's defunct county unit system and the state's new Senate district system.

Keywords: county unit; elections; electoral law; office; politics; reapportionment; redistricting

00:30:40 - 1966 and 1970 gubernatorial races

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Partial Transcript: So you were elected in ‘62.

Segment Synopsis: Spinks talks about Jimmy Carter's failed 1966 gubernatorial bid. He postulates that Carter beat Governor Sanders in 1970 because of Carter's honest reputation. Additionally, Spinks comments on Lester Maddox's governorship (1967-1971).

Keywords: Governor Arnall; Governor Carter; Governor Sanders; Lester Maddox; campaign

00:40:31 - Seeking an endorsement for Carter

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Partial Transcript: In 1970, when Jimmy Carter was elected governor, Lester Maddox was elected lieutenant governor, which was rare in our state.

Segment Synopsis: Spinks further discusses the 1970 gubernatorial election, in which Carter and Sanders competed for the endorsement of Lieutenant Governor Lester Maddox.

Keywords: Carl Sanders; Jimmy Carter; campaigning; governors; support

00:46:30 - Evaluating Governor Carter

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Partial Transcript: Now, going forward there, Maddox, when he became lieutenant governor, accused Governor Carter and his friends in the Senate of trying to take over the Senate.

Segment Synopsis: Short asks about Carter's power in the Georgia Senate and Carter's reorganization of the state government. Spinks rates Carter's governorship favorably and says he believes the public would do the same.

Keywords: Jimmy Carter; influence; legislation; legislature; public opinion

00:52:50 - Public Service Commission

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Partial Transcript: Governor Carter appointed you to the Public Service Commission.

Segment Synopsis: Spinks talks about the roles of public service commissioners, including maintaining cost and quality of utilities. He also comments on the expensive process of campaigning for public office statewide, which he did three times. Spinks explains why he left the Public Service Commission.

Keywords: campaigning; elected office; public goods; public office; public service; utilities

01:01:02 - 1976 presidential election

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Partial Transcript: Ford, getting back to Governor Carter for a minute, when did you first suspect that he was thinking about running for president?

Segment Synopsis: Spinks talks about Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign, which he says was successful due partially to the Nixon Watergate scandal and the help of Hamilton Jordan, Carter's chief campaign strategist.

Keywords: Democratic Party; Gerald Ford; Hamilton Jordan; Peanut Brigade; Republican Party; Richard Nixon; Watergate; campaigning; presidency