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Interview with Dan Ebersole, February 1, 2010

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:58 - Introduction to politics

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Partial Transcript: We know that you were originally from Pennsylvania.

Segment Synopsis: Ebersole remembers the beginning of his political career working as an aide for Charles Helms, an Atlanta city councilman. He then talks about volunteering for Zell Miller's various campaigns and working at the Senate Research Office in between.

Keywords: Decatur Federal Sky Room; Decatur, Georgia; Director of Senate Research; Ed Johnson; Hank Huckaby; Lieutenant Governor of Georgia; Marti Pingree; Mennonite Central Committee; Penthouse Motel; Senate aide; Shirley Franklin; Tom Houck; Walter Gordon; deputy director

00:05:50 - Zell Miller's campaigns / Committee on Committees

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk a little bit about that 1980 race.

Segment Synopsis: Ebersole discusses Zell Miller's campaigns during the 1970s and 1980s, including Miller's reelections as lieutenant governor and his bid against Herman Talmadge for the United States Senate. Ebersole then details Miller's ill-fated attempt to return the power of senatorial committee appointments to the Georgia Senate via the Committee on Committees.

Keywords: 1980 Georgia senatorial race; Al Holloway; Dawson Mathis; Frank Elridge; Jack Riley; Joe Kennedy; Richard Hyatt.; Shirley Franklin; Tom Allgood; Tom Murphy; conference committees; senate majority leader; senate president pro tempore

00:15:14 - Personalities in the Georgia Senate

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Partial Transcript: You worked in the Senate for how many years?

Segment Synopsis: Ebersole describes the way in which he thinks the Georgia Senate has changed over time, emphasizing the a less amicable shift in senators' attitudes towards one another. He then reflects upon prominent senators and their influences and personalities.

Keywords: "Zell-Bell"; Al Holloway; Bill Fincher; Bob Bell; Culver Kidd; Democratic Party; Frank Elridge; Hank Huckaby; Joe Kennedy; Paul Broun, Sr.; Paul Coverdell; Tom Allgood; Zell Miller; budget director; public education

00:22:53 - Campaigning and passing the Georgia Lottery

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Partial Transcript: Well, Miller waited ten years before he ran for governor after his defeat in 1980.

Segment Synopsis: Ebersole tells of James Carville and Paul Begala, two members of Zell Miller's 1990 governor campaign team that helped to sell the idea of the Georgia Lottery to Georgian voters. Ebersole then explains the choices Miller took with the Georgia Lottery, such as keeping it run by a corporation instead of a government entity, to ensure its success.

Keywords: Bill Clinton's campaign; Bill Stephens; Budget Office; Cindy Wright; Florida Lottery; HOPE scholarship; Keith Mason; pre-kindergarten education

00:27:22 - Miller's staff and budgeting

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk for a minute about the Lieutenant Governor's senior staff.

Segment Synopsis: Ebersole names the major figures in Miller's administrative staff and elaborates on each of their roles. Ebersole then explains how Miller was able to handle an impending budget crisis by reducing spending and by cooperating with key leaders in the General Assembly.

Keywords: Betsy Weltner; Cindy Wright; Georgia Rebound; Georgia Research Alliance; Governor's Mansion; Hank Huckaby; Hank Thomason; Howard Mead; Keith Mason; Pierre Howard; Terrell Starr; Tom Murphy; University of Georgia Cooperative Extension; Wayne Garner; Young Harris College; license tag fees; special session of the Georgia General Assembly; tax cuts; teacher pay raises

00:38:27 - Cutting taxes and implementing the HOPE scholarship

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk for a minute about your legislative priorities.

Segment Synopsis: Ebersole discusses some of Miller's other legislative goals, such as tax cuts and criminal justice reform. He then details how Miller implemented the HOPE scholarship system after the Georgia Lottery was passed.

Keywords: "The Georgia That Can Be"; Culver Kidd; Denmark Groover; Dubose Porter; Frank Albert; Georgia constitutional amendment; Guy Milner; Jeanette Jamieson; Rick Dent; Thurbert Baker; budgeting; children; press secretary; senior citizens

00:45:36 - Miller's run for reelection in 1994

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk for a minute about 1994.

Segment Synopsis: Ebersole explains why Miller sought reelection to the governorship in 1994, despite previously saying he would only run for a single term. Ebersole then gives his thoughts on why the race between Miller and Isakson was closer than any other between Democrat and Republican, and why Miller ultimately won reelection.

Keywords: 1994 Georgia gubernatorial race; Bill Lee; Cap Hicks; Cobb County, Georgia; Coverdell Legislative Office Building; Don Johnson; HOPE scholarship; Hank Huckaby; Johnny Isakson; Mike Bowers; Republican Party; Shirley Franklin; Young Harris College; attorney general; budget; food exemption; pre-kindergarten education; property tax; rural Democrats; state flag; suburbanization

00:53:53 - Miller's environmental and privatization efforts

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Partial Transcript: Miller will forever be known for the HOPE scholarship program and the pre-k program.

Segment Synopsis: Ebersole describes Miller's environmental efforts, namely two of of his programs, Preservation 2000 and River Care 2000. Ebersole then reflects on Miller's privatization of government property and initiatives.

Keywords: The Death of Common Sense; Altamaha River; Department of Natural Resources; Georgia Power; Joe Tanner; Lonice Barrett; Ocmulgee River; Philip K. Howard; State Properties Commission; Woodruff Foundation; average teacher's salary.; public-private partnership

00:59:51 - Sarah Ebersole and Bill Burson

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Partial Transcript: Dan, I'd like to talk to you for a minute about another Ebersole who served in the Governor's Office, your wife, Sarah.

Segment Synopsis: Ebersole talks about his wife, Sarah, and her involvement with Miller's campaigns and governorship. Ebersole then expands upon Bill Burson's career, up to and including his work in Miller's administration.

Keywords: Bill Shipp; Carl Sanders; Department of Family and Children's Services; Director of Probation; Georgia Tech; Herman Talmadge; Jimmy Carter; Shirley Franklin; War on Hunger; press secretary; speech writer; state treasurer

01:04:58 - Career after Governor Miller / Hobbies

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Partial Transcript: Dan, when people who know him speak of Zell Miller, they usually use words like "stubborn," "courageous," "tough."

Segment Synopsis: Ebersole details his positions in Georgia government after Miller's governorship, including holding positions as the Merit System Commissioner and Director of the State Office of Treasury and Fiscal Services. Ebersole then ponders some of his interests outside of politics, mentioning country music and baseball as being his biggest interests.

Keywords: Atlanta Braves; Bobby Cox; Don Williams; George Jones; Joe Tanner; Merit System; Privatization Commission; State Depository Board; Williams Commission; bluegrass; leadership

01:13:10 - Achievements in career

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Partial Transcript: Well, we've discussed in length the accomplishments of Zell Miller as governor.

Segment Synopsis: Ebersole lists what he considers his accomplishments during his public service. He particularly favors his setting up preferred provider organizations as Merit System Commissioner and his creating the Georgia Higher Education Savings Plan in the Office of Treasury and Fiscal Services.

Keywords: "Amanda", Rome, Georgia; Don Williams; Merit System; Path to College; bond fund; public school teachers; retirement systems