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Interview with Stephanie Benfield, December, 18, 2009

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:07 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: I’m Bob Short, and this is Reflections on Georgia Politics sponsored by the Duckworth Library at Young Harris College and the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Short starts the interview by introducing Stephanie Benfield.

00:00:31 - Early life / Political career

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Partial Transcript: Eastman, Georgia, Christmas Day; politician; Vanderbilt University; University of Georgia;

Segment Synopsis: Benfield talks about her early life living in Washington DC. She shares an amusing anecdote about her interaction with President Nixon. Then she talks about how she became interested and involved in legislative politics.

Keywords: Al Gore; Eastman; Richard Nixon; Vanderbilt; Washington DC; campaign; law school; networking

00:07:29 - First campaign

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Partial Transcript: So in 1998 you ran for -- 1998?

Segment Synopsis: Benfield reflects on the thrill of her first campaign for a seat in the State House of Representatives. She also shares some advice that was given to her from her father.

Keywords: activism; campaign; democrat; district; opponent; parades; politician; speech

00:11:19 - First impressions of the State House of Representatives / Relationship with Speaker Murphy

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Partial Transcript: So in 1999 you went to the State House of Representatives.

Segment Synopsis: Benfield talks about the exciting experience to be in the House of Representatives when big names such as Tom Murphy, Larry Walker, and Terry Coleman. She explains how she had a pretty good idea of what to expect by working for Mary Margaret Oliver as a legislative aid. She also talks about Speaker Murphy and all of his good qualities.

Keywords: General Assembly; Grady Hospital; Larry Walker; Mary Margaret Oliver; Terry Coleman; Tom Murphy; World Congress Center; freshman legislator; knick-knacks; legislative aid; legislature

00:15:37 - Political goals

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Partial Transcript: Let’s talk for a minute about your early career.

Segment Synopsis: Benfield talks about some of the goals she had when she first joined the House. She talks about some of the issues she became interested in such as women's issues, Georgia's Pre-K program, and judicial issues.

Keywords: Mary Margaret Oliver; Speaker Murphy; coalitions; football; high school sports; juvenile justice; kathy ashe; pre-K

00:20:25 - Current political climate

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Partial Transcript: Let’s move ahead to 2002 when, for the first time since John F. Conley (Benjamin F. Conley) 131 years ago, Georgians elected a Republican governor. Were you surprised?

Segment Synopsis: Benfield talks about the shift in politics from Democratic to Republican. She talks about the difficulty in being the minority party in a partisan legislature.

Keywords: David Ralston; Democrats; Republicans; bills; bipartisan; legislature; partisan; party switchers; political agenda; reorganization; rule

00:29:08 - Future political goals

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Partial Transcript: Let’s get back to Stephanie Stuckey Benfield.

Segment Synopsis: Benfield talks about the possibilities of running state wide for the position of Secretary of State. She explains what the political and personal circumstances would have to be for her to run a state wide campaign. She also shares her opinions on voter ID and electronic voting.

Keywords: Cathy Cox; Secretary of State; back up; ballot; data; electronic voting; state wide campaign; voter ID

00:32:46 - Closing reflections

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Partial Transcript: As you look back over your very enviable record as a public servant, what do you consider your greatest accomplishments?

Segment Synopsis: Benefield closes the interview by talking about her accomplishments and disappointments in her political career. She talks about her family both on her side and her husband's side. And she answers a question about constituent relations and gender equality in sports.

Keywords: North Carolina; Parental Leave Act; Stuckey business; Stuckeys; Washington DC; advocacy; banks; judges; juvenile justice; minimum wage; pre-K program; timber; title IX