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Interview with Carol Jackson, June 3, 2010

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:17 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: I'm Bob Short, and this is Reflections on Georgia Politics, sponsored by the Richard B. Russell Library here at the University of Georgia and Young Harris College.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer Bob Short introduces interviewee Carol Jackson.

00:00:43 - Early life / Family history

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Partial Transcript: You were elected to the Georgia Senate in 1998, but before we talk about your senate career, let's find out a little bit about you.

Segment Synopsis: Jackson discusses her family's long history of holding political office in White County, Georgia.

Keywords: Civil War; Clerk of Court; Cleveland, Georgia; District office; Flag bearer; Habersham County, Georgia; Hairdresser; Hairdressing; Justice of the Peace; Non-traditional college student; North Georgia; Selective Service Board; Small business; Tax collector; Tax commissioner; University of North Georgia; White County School Board; White County Sheriff; White County, Georgia; World War I

00:04:14 - Entry into politics

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Partial Transcript: Actually, before I started to college, I ran my first time for Clerk of Court in White County--that was in 1980.

Segment Synopsis: Jackson tells of her unsuccessful first run for Clerk of Court, which she believes was due to her gender, and her later successful run for the position and, eventually, a state senate seat.

Keywords: 50th District; Adding machines; Automation; Clerk's Association; Computers; County Officer's Association; General election; Guy Middleton; Legislative committee; Mildred J. "Micky" McDonald; Policy committee; Primary; Republican primary; Runoff; State senate seat; State senator; Training Council; Typewriter; White County Commissioner; Women in politics

00:10:43 - Early Senate career

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Partial Transcript: Got some wonderful committee appointments.

Segment Synopsis: Jackson suggests that her earlier county-level political career helped her build contacts and led to her appointment to major committees as a new senator, and describes some of the bills on which she worked, including some pertaining to water rights and criminal probation.

Keywords: Alabama; Appropriations committee; Banking committee; Chattahoochee River Basin; Corrections committee; Dawson County; Department of Correction; Florida; Freshman senator; Interbasin transfer; Military veterans; Misdemeanors; Natural resources; Natural resources committee; Ophthalmologist; Ophthalmology; Optometry bill; Pete Wheeler; Prescription drugs; Private probation; Probation office; Savannah River Basin; Tri-state Water Wars; Water conservation; Water rights; Water supply

00:18:52 - Reapportionment and gerrymandering in Georgia

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Partial Transcript: First of all, let's talk about the process of reapportionment.

Segment Synopsis: Jackson opines that the reapportionment of 2000 contributed to the rise of the Republican party in Georgia, despite its attempt to keep Democrats in office.

Keywords: 2000 Census; Cherokee County, Georgia; Civil Rights Act; Constituents; Education reform; Georgia state flag; Gerrymandering; Governor's office; Integration; Marvin Griffin; Party-switching; Rabun County, Georgia; Roy Barnes; Segregation; Sonny Purdue; State politics; Teachers; Voting Rights Act of 1965

00:27:01 - Remaining a Democrat in a Republican-controlled legislature

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Partial Transcript: You served in the senate with Governor Purdue.

Segment Synopsis: Jackson describes sticking with the Democratic party despite the party-switching of Purdue and other former democrats, and indicates that she was consequently re-assigned to committees of lesser importance.

Keywords: Banking committee; Charles Walker; Ethics committee; George Hooks; Judiciary committee; Lieutenant governor; President pro tempore; Subcommittee

00:30:13 - Theft of a methamphetamine bill

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Partial Transcript: We've all heard about so-and-so's bills getting stolen.

Segment Synopsis: Jackson describes passing on a bill concerning methamphetamine abuse to the governor for review only to have it claimed by the now-majority Republican party.

Keywords: Drug enforcement; Drug epidemic; GBI; Georgia Bureau of Investigation; Illegal drugs; Judicial calendar; Methamphetamine bill; Senate majority leader

00:35:11 - Defeat of Tom Murphy / Viability of third political party

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Partial Transcript: Let's go back to 2002 for a minute; that was the election year when Speaker Tom Murphy, who had been Speaker for some almost 30 years, was defeated.

Segment Synopsis: Jackson recalls Murphy's hurt after his defeat in 2002, and suggests that most Georgia Democratics are centrist, though she doubts the viability of a third political party.

Keywords: Centrist politics; County manager; Economic crisis; Ethics; Far left; Far right; Higher education; Independent party; Interstate; Labor unions; Liberal; Minority vote; Moderates; Political philosophy; Road projects; Road work; State capitol; Tea Party; Third party; Urban; Whigs; White County Commissioner

00:44:25 - Future of the Democratic party / 2006 Governor's race

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Partial Transcript: Do you think the Democratic party can regain its majority in Georgia?

Segment Synopsis: Jackson opines that the majority of Georgians prefer to vote for a candidate rather than party and describes how the bitter Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2006 disenfranchised some once-active Democrats.

Keywords: Cathy Cox; Leadership; Mark Taylor; Mudslinging; Political candidate; Political donation; Political donors; Secretary of State; Sonny Purdue; Yellow Dog Democrat

00:49:09 - 2006 campaign and loss

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Partial Transcript: You thought about running for Secretary of State.

Segment Synopsis: Jackson speculates that health problems, which prevented her from actively campaigning during a pivotal period, as well as a shrewd campaign by her opponent Nancy Schaefer, led to her defeat in 2006.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Constitutional officers; Consulting; Economy; Exit poll; Jim Butterworth; Litigation; Negative campaigning; Political poll; Radiation therapy; Real estate; Residency; Robocalls; Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever; Senate seat; Statewide campaign; Surgery; Televangelist; Television preacher

00:56:08 - Current position as White County Manager / Future political plans

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Partial Transcript: You work with a, with a, uh, county commission that's almost totally Republican.

Segment Synopsis: Jackson indicates that she doesn't encounter any political issues in her position as county manager, despite being the only Democrat in local government, and states that she doesn't have any specific futures plans to run for office, though she doesn't entirely rule out the possibility.

Keywords: Bipartisanship; Budget cuts; County commissioners; Judiciary system; Private sector

00:58:09 - Georgia's criminal justice system

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Partial Transcript: Let's go back for a minute, if you will, to Corrections.

Segment Synopsis: Jackson suggests that fear of political fallout makes judges and politicians reluctant to find alternative penal sentences for non-violent offenders.

Keywords: Addiction; Alternative rehabilitation; Correctional facilities; Court appointed attorney; Criminal sentencing; Department of Corrections; Domestic abuse; Drug and alcohol abuse; Drug manufacturing; Drug possession; Drug trafficking; Executive decision; Georgia Constitution; Incarceration; Indigent Defense Law; Parole; Penal system; Prisons; Probation; Right to representation; Two Strikes law; U.S. Constitution

01:07:20 - Career accomplishments and disappointment

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Partial Transcript: As you look back over your career, is there anything you'd have done differently?

Segment Synopsis: Jackson speaks about some of the highs and lows of her political career and advises young people to become involved as early as possible in their chosen field.

Keywords: Career advancement; Chamber of Commerce; Church; Dairy Queen; Education; PTA; Parent Teacher Association; Political involvement; Public sector; Public servant; Sunday school; Underprivileged people

01:12:49 - Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Senator Carol Jackson, I want to thank you on behalf of the Russell Library at the University of Georgia and Young Harris College for being our guest.

Segment Synopsis: Short and Jackson conclude the interview.