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Interview with Peter Banks, January 29, 2010

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:44 - Early childhood and schooling

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Partial Transcript: Barnesville, Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Banks talks about his life growing up in Barnesville, Georgia and describes his childhood as an "idyllic time". He talks about going to Gordon Military High School and College and participating in the ROTC program. He discusses his brief military career that ended when he decided to go to law school.

Keywords: Fort Benning; Fort Jackson; Franklin Roosevelt; Reserves; University of Georgia

00:15:51 - Starting law school / Interning for Jack Flint

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Partial Transcript: So I came on back to law school and started my first year in law school.

Segment Synopsis: Banks discusses starting law school at the University of Georgia. He talks about his family friend and member of the U.S House of Representatives, Jack Flint, asking him to be his intern. Banks describes his duties working in Flint's office while also going to George Washington Law School as a part time student.

Keywords: Athens, Georgia; Bobby Kennedy; John Kennedy; Richard Nixon; social security

00:29:57 - Marriage

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Partial Transcript: In the meantime the next spring my wife had finished college and we had told our parents that we would wait to get married until after she graduated from college, and we did.

Segment Synopsis: Banks talks about getting married and having his wife move to Washington D.C with him. He says that when they found out that his wife was pregnant with twins, they decided to move back to Georgia to be closer to their families. Banks discusses returning to the University of Georgia to finish law school.

Keywords: Bob Stephens; Jack Flint; Key to America Motel; Myrna Court Apartments; Sea Island

00:36:44 - After graduating law school

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Partial Transcript: After that you opened your practice didn’t you in Barnesville?

Segment Synopsis: Banks discusses working for Walter Cates at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce after graduating from law school. He talks about later working for the Atlanta Gas Light Company for seven years.

Keywords: Atlanta, Georgia; North Georgia; South Georgia; governmental affairs; industrial affairs

00:44:23 - Running for the Georgia Senate

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Partial Transcript: Some time in the early ‘60s I guess somewhere around -- well I guess it was in the late ‘60s that I began to think about my hometown.

Segment Synopsis: Banks discusses moving back to Barnesville, Georgia and becoming involved in local politics. He talks about his first race and winning the seat in the Georgia Senate for the 17th district in 1974.

Keywords: George Busbee; Lester Maddox; Love Mallory; Watergate; Zell Miller; reapportionment

00:51:27 - Reflections on Congressman Flint

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Partial Transcript: So Peter, let’s go back for a minute to the Georgia delegation while you were working with Congressman Flint in Washington.

Segment Synopsis: Banks reflects again on his time working with Congressman Jack Flint and the lessons he learned from him. He talks about the relationships he made with Senator Talmadge and Senator Russell during that time.

Keywords: House Appropriations Committee; Lyndon Johnson; President Kennedy; Rules Committee; Speaker Rayburn

01:00:26 - Getting started in the Georgia Senate

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Partial Transcript: So now it’s 1975. You’re a member of the Georgia Senate.

Segment Synopsis: Banks discusses starting his career as a member of the Georgia Senate. He talks about getting appointed to the Judiciary Committee and the Higher Education Committee. He also talks about his placement on a new committee created by Zell Miller to restructure the Senate. Banks discusses some of the "battles" he witnessed between Speaker Tom Murphy and Zell Miller.

Keywords: Al Holloway; Appropriations Commitee; Bill Lee; Ed Barker; George Busbee; Gordon College; Hamilton McWhorter; Hugh Carter; J.R Smith; Marcus Collins; Marvin Adams; Norwood Pearce; Paul Coverdell; consumer affairs

01:13:25 - Colleagues in the Georgia Senate

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Partial Transcript: What were some of the main issues when you were in the Senate?

Segment Synopsis: Banks talks about working on the budget in 1975 and having to make cuts to state employee pensions. He discusses his relationships with several of his colleagues: Paul Coverdell, Bob Bell, Jim Tysinger, Hugh Gillis, Roy Barnes, Pierre Howard, Tom Allgood, Frank Eldridge, Hamilton McWhorter, and Joe Kennedy.

Keywords: Board of Regents; Bobby Kahn; Joe Frank Harris; President Pro Tem; Secretary of the Senate; Sonny Perdue; military

01:27:18 - Running for Jack Flint's seat

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Partial Transcript: Okay. Let’s move now to 1978 when you decided that you would run for Congress for the seat of your mentor Congressman Jack Flint.

Segment Synopsis: Banks discusses running for the seat of his mentor Jack Flint after Flint's retirement. He talks about his opponents in the race: Newt Gingrich, Virginia Shapard, and Betty Talmadge. He also reflects on what he could have done differently to win the campaign.

Keywords: Barnesville, Georgia; Bill Evans; Equal Rights Amendment Bill; Sam Nunn

01:45:41 - Career as a Lobbyist / Media portrayal of lobbyists

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Partial Transcript: Peter, we’ve mentioned government affairs work. Some people call it lobbyists.

Segment Synopsis: Banks discusses his career as a lobbyist. He says that the media does not portray lobbyists accurately, and that he defines a lobbyist as an advocate for their cause and also an educator. He also talks about his opinion on ethics laws.

Keywords: Bill Bryant; Bob Simonette; Georiga Power Company; John Booth; John Lastinger; Parker McCray; private lobbyists

01:57:06 - Party politics in Georgia

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Partial Transcript: Well now, Peter, I’d like to talk to you about party politics in Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Banks discusses the transition from a Democratic to a Republican majority in Georgia. He says that he believes the downfall of the Democrats was their arrogance and their use of gerrymandering. He also says that he believes Georgia will become a Democratic state again in the future.

Keywords: Al Holloway; Glen Richardson; Jack Flint; Terrell Star; Tom Murphy; Zell Miller; liberal; minorities; urban

02:06:06 - Mayor of Barnesville

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Partial Transcript: You came out of retirement and got elected Mayor of Barnesville. How do you like your job?

Segment Synopsis: Banks talks about coming out of retirement to run for the mayor of Barnesville, Georgia. He says that it is a good way for him to stay involved in politics in his old age.

Keywords: Columbia, South Carolina; Duckworth Library; Dwayne Bell; Orlando, Florida; Russell Library; St. Simmons