UGA Libraries Logo

Interview with Kathy Ashe, July 14, 2010

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:18 - Introduction

Play segment

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

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer Bob Short introduces interviewee Kathy Ashe.

00:00:49 - Early life and education

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Before we get into your legislative career, let's talk a little about Kathy Ashe.

Segment Synopsis: Ashe discusses her upbringing in Tallahassee, where she was friends with the governor's daughter and often spent the night at the governor's mansion, and her move to the Atlanta area to attend college.

00:06:24 - Elementary teaching career

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And then you taught.

Segment Synopsis: Ashe speaks about her career as an educator, a position she held until the birth of her second child.

00:09:50 - Transition into political work

Play segment

Partial Transcript: At some point you became a legislative assistant to a great, great state representative, Kil Townsend.

Segment Synopsis: Ashe describes becoming active in various volunteer leagues while raising her children, which led to a job offer from State Senator Kil Townsend; she also recalls spending the summer as a legislative aid to Sam Gibbons in Washington, D.C.

Keywords: Atlanta-Fulton League of Women Voters; Car restraints; Community activism; Constituent service; Junior League; Paul Coverdell; Sales tax; Sam Gibbons; Seatbelts; Stay-at-home mother; Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida; Urban League; Volunteer; Washington, D.C.

00:14:31 - First run for office / Reapportionment

Play segment

Partial Transcript: At what point did you decide to run for office?

Segment Synopsis: Ashe speaks about her decision to run for office after several years of behind-the-scenes work, and describes how reapportionment has changed her district.

Keywords: 1996 Olympic games; Advocacy; Ansley Park; DeKalb County, Georgia; Democratic party; First district of Atlanta; Fundraiser; John Lupton; Lenox Square; Multi-member districts; Peachtree Road; Reapportionment; Republican district; Yard sign

00:17:49 - Switching from Republican to Democratic party

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Let's talk about your decision to change parties.

Segment Synopsis: Ashe describes switching parties after new Republican leadership pressured her to give up her moderate political philosophy.

Keywords: Bob Irvin; Confederate flag; Conservative; Education reform; George W. Bush; Georgia State Flag; Moderate Republican; Political philosophy; Pro-choice; Reproductive choice; Republican party; Roy Barnes

00:20:48 - Republican party's growing conservatism

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What do you think caused that shift in the Republican party?

Segment Synopsis: Ashe opines that the Republican party's swing to the right has been detrimental to the state and country, and suggests that her mentor Townsend resisted the change, while Coverdell succumbed to it.

Keywords: Bi-partisanship; Conservative democrats; Far right; Fiscally conservative; Georgia legislature; Public policy; Rural Georgia; Social liberal; Southern democrats; Tom Murphy; Urban Georgia

00:22:32 - Relationship with Tom Murphy

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Tom Murphy is a Georgia legend; how did you get along with him?

Segment Synopsis: Ashe speaks about her generally good working relationship with Speaker Murphy.

Keywords: Athens, Georgia; Banks and banking committee; Little Red Book; Louise McBee; Natural resources; Speaker of the House

00:25:10 - Georgia's economy and educational system

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You've been through some very historical times.

Segment Synopsis: Ashe offers her views on Georgia's economic problems and educational system, emphasizing her belief in improving public education over offering educational vouchers.

Keywords: Accountability; Appropriations committee; Art and music education; Classroom size; Community resources; Constitution; Early childhood education; Economic recession; Educational budget cuts; Energy efficiency; Federal government; Job growth; Layoffs; Local government; Scholastic achievement; Tax breaks; Tax exemptions; Teacher furloughs

00:31:29 - Educational vouchers and charter schools

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So you believe in vouchers?

Segment Synopsis: Ashe voices her opposition to educational vouchers and support for charter schools.

Keywords: Charter schools; Educational vouchers; Growth model; KIPP Atlanta; Merit pay; Private schools; Remediation; Teacher evaluation system; Test scores; Tuition equalization grants

00:35:46 - Home schooling and early learning

Play segment

Partial Transcript: How do you feel about home schooling?

Segment Synopsis: Ashe states that she supports the right of parents to home school provided state educational standards are upheld, and stresses the importance of early learning for children's intellectual development.

Keywords: Accountability; B.J. Walker; Home schoolers; Reading specialist; School superintendents; United Way of Georgia

00:38:30 - Future of the HOPE Scholarship

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, let's turn now to other historical events during your career.

Segment Synopsis: Ashe discusses the economic threats to Georgia's HOPE program and the state's reassessment of its educational priorities, stating that there is frequent discussion of whether Georgia should prioritize secondary or higher education.

Keywords: Education lottery; Emergency stopgaps; Emmet Bondurant; Georgia state flag; Higher education; House Budget Office; K-12 education; Need-based scholarships

00:40:47 - Changes to Georgia's state flag / Defeat of Governor Roy Barnes

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Back to the flag.

Segment Synopsis: Ashe discusses co-signing the original bill to remove the Confederate symbol from Georgia's state flag and suggests that it was only one of several issues that contributed to Barnes' defeat.

Keywords: Business interest; Civil rights; Confederate emblem; Controversy; GRTA; Georgia Regional Transportation Authority; Leadership; Property tax; Roy Barnes; Transportation; Tyrone Brooks

00:42:51 - Current legislative work

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You did a lot of work on gender legislation.

Segment Synopsis: Ashe discusses some of the legislative efforts in which she is currently involved, including funding for girls' athletics, services for newly released prisoners, water conservation, and ethics.

00:49:42 - Loss of faith in politicians

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Why do you think Americans have lost confidence in government?

Segment Synopsis: Ashe opines that many Americans have become disenfranchised by extreme voices on the right and left.

Keywords: Caucus; Central Presbyterian Church; Congressional race; Contested race; Frustration; Ideology; Minister; Primary; Reapportionment; Redistricting; Sensible center; Tea Party

00:54:33 - Traffic issues / Bipartisan collaboration

Play segment

Partial Transcript: In addition to water, Atlanta has some severe traffic problems.

Segment Synopsis: Ashe speaks about the implementation of a special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST) for road works projects and indicates that she takes pride in working with members of both political parties.

Keywords: Civility; Community; Funding source; Henry Grady Hotel; Interdependency; Pavement; Paving; Personal issues; Political jurisdictions; Rapid transit; Regional transit; Sales tax; Transportation; Urban Georgia

01:00:59 - Greatest accomplishment and disappointment

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Looking back over your--excuse me--distinguished career, what do you think was your greatest accomplishment?

Segment Synopsis: Ashe speaks about enfranchising members of her community and her frustration that the legislature is working on the same issues she encountered at the beginning of her political career, and states that she is uninterested in running for higher office.

Keywords: Budget; City government; Constituent; Empowerment; Higher office; Line item

01:03:18 - Conclusion

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Kathy Ashe, thank you so much for being with us.

Segment Synopsis: Short and Ashe conclude the interview.