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Interview with Dick Yarbrough, June 12, 2013

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:24 - 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 at the University of Georgia and Young Harris College.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer Bob Short introduces interviewee Dick Yarbrough.

00:01:11 - Early career in public relations

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Partial Transcript: We're interested in knowing all about you; please tell us about Dick Yarbrough.

Segment Synopsis: Yarbrough describes his entry into corporate PR despite his journalism background, and his entry into journalism much later in his career.

Keywords: Bell South Corporation; Clack Tucker; Communication; East Point, Georgia; IOC; International Olympic Committee; Jasper Dorsey; Journalism; News column; Olympic Park bombing; Public Relations; Radio; Syndicated columnist; University of Georgia:UGA:John Drewry

00:03:44 - Politics in Yarbrough's column

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk a minute about your column.

Segment Synopsis: Yarbrough describes himself and his column as politically moderate, skewing extremists on both sides of the aisle.

Keywords: Atlanta, Georgia; Carl Sanders; Civil Rights Movement; Conservative; David Scott; Democrat; Economic issues; Electorate; Humor; Ivan Allen Jr.; Joe Frank Harris; Johnny Isakson; Liberal; Moderate; Newspaper; Non-partisan; Political philosophy; Politicians; Potomac Fever; Readership; Republican; Sam Nunn; Social issues; Washington, D.C.

00:10:00 - Dominance of Republican party / The Tea Party

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Partial Transcript: While we're on the subject of party politics, give us your thoughts on how and why the Republican party has established such a stronghold in Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Yarbrough opines on the reasons for Georgia's movement from a Democratic stronghold to a Republican state, and suggests that the Tea Party has moved further to the political right since its formation.

Keywords: Election; Far right; Georgia legislature; Grassroots movement; Political party; Robert Remini; Tea Party; U.S. Congress; U.S. House historian

00:12:52 - Ethics reform in Georgia

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Partial Transcript: You've written extensively about Georgia issues: ethics, education, and others.

Segment Synopsis: Yarbrough describes his work on Georgia's ethics commission, which indicates did not hold much power, and speaks about his distaste for political lobbyists.

Keywords: Abortion; Atlanta Falcons; Campaign contributions; Committee chair; David Ralston; Election returns; Ethical issues; Ethics legislation; Golf; Immigration; Industry; Kia Motors; Lobbying; Lobbyist; Media; Nathan Deal; Paperwork; Payday loans; Political favors; Sea Island, Georgia; Sonny Purdue; Special interests; State Ethics Commission; Taxpayer funds; Unadilla, Georgia; Zell Miller

00:20:05 - Advocacy for public education

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Partial Transcript: I am a religious reader of your columns, and the one thing that I admire you most for is your outspoken stand on education.

Segment Synopsis: Yarbrough explains that his advocacy for public education partly stems from the number of schoolteachers in his family, and suggests that public opinion on teachers has faltered due to the lack of a unified national voice for public education.

Keywords: AYP; Academic achievement; Adequate Yearly Progress; Bartow County, Georgia; Bureaucracy; Charles Knapp; Charter schools; Common Core; Curriculum development; Department of Education; Educational organizations; Government; HOPE Scholarship; Private schools; Public education; Race to the Top; Referendum; School boards; Schoolteachers; Special interest groups; Superintendent; Think-tanks

00:27:37 - Involvement in the Olympics

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Partial Transcript: The Olympics; you were very much involved in the Olympics.

Segment Synopsis: Yarbrough details some of the trials and tribulations that came from planning the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, and briefly discusses the Olympic park bombing.

Keywords: Billy Payne; City administration; Crisis communications; Event planning; Fortune 500; Fundraising; IOC; International Olympic Committee; Local media; Maynard Jackson; Olympic park bombing; Private investment; Sidewalk vendors; Southern hospitality; Sponsors; Sporting events; Tokyo, Japan; Traffic; Volunteers; White House

00:33:13 - The Olympic planning committee / Atlanta's international profile

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Partial Transcript: Who was involved in that?

Segment Synopsis: Yarbrough describes the roles of some of the Atlanta Olympic committee members and suggests that despite some controversy, the games helped boost Atlanta's profile and stimulate its economy; however, we advises against making a second bid for the games.

Keywords: A.D. Frazier; Africa; Airport; Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games; Baseball stadium; CEO; COO; Chief operating officer; China; City infrastructure; Closing ceremonies; Commercialism; Conyers, Georgia; Economic development; France; Freeways; Istanbul; Johannesburg, South Africa; Montreal; Opening ceremonies; Peter Ueberroth; Retrofitting; Rio de Janeiro; Telecommunications; Track and Field; Type A personality

00:42:27 - The C. Richard Yarbrough chair in Crisis Communications Leadership at UGA

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Partial Transcript: Tell us about your chair at the University of Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Yarbrough describes his intention to train future leaders in crisis communications via his chair position at UGA.

Keywords: Attorneys; Bell Telephone; Court of law; Court of public opinion; Crises; Democratic society; Grady College; John John Clendenin; Martha Page; Public approval; Stockholders

00:47:04 - Painting as a hobby

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Partial Transcript: When do you find time to paint?

Segment Synopsis: Yarbrough speaks about his passion for painting, which he took up only six years before.

Keywords: Art shows; Cartooning; Commission; Dick Pettys; Drawing; Fine art; Illustration; Landscape; Painting; Plein air; Portraits; Seascape; Sketching; Still life

00:49:44 - Accomplishments and disappointments

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Partial Transcript: Well, Dick, as you look back over your career, what do you think is your greatest accomplishment?

Segment Synopsis: Yarbrough discusses some of his career and professional highlights and disappointments, mentioning specifically the sudden death of a grandson as among the hardest events of his life.

Keywords: Athletics; Cheating; Family; Inspiration; Integrity; Jasper Dorsey; Marathon

00:51:57 - Engagement in civic life

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Partial Transcript: Well, before we leave, I'd like to give you the opportunity to talk about anything we might have left out or anything you would like to talk about.

Segment Synopsis: Yarbrough advises young people to become engaged in civic life, and mentions the type of work that's available on his website.

Keywords: Apathy; Charity; Engagement; Internet; Legislature; Newspaper; Online newsletter; Picketing; Public service; Social media; Voting; Website; World Wide Web

00:54:49 - Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Dick, it's been a real pleasure.

Segment Synopsis: Short and Yarbrough conclude the interview.