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Interview with Casey Cagle, July 31, 2013

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:21 - 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 for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia and Young Harris College.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer Bob Short introduces interviewee Casey Cagle.

00:00:58 - Early life / College football career

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Partial Transcript: So governor, let's start talking about your early life in Gainesville, Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Cagle recalls being raised by a single mother and describes being recruited to play football at Georgia Southern University, where he remained until a football injury ended his athletic career.

Keywords: Agriculture; Athlete; Athletics; Baseball; Basketball; Cornerback; Erk Russell; Farmers; Football; Georgia Southern University; Hall County, Georgia; Injury; Personal sacrifice; Poultry; Public assistance; Public service; Single parent; Sports; UGA; University of Georgia

00:05:38 - Professional ventures after college

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Partial Transcript: Then you went back to Gainesville.

Segment Synopsis: Cagle discusses some of his business ventures after leaving college, including taking over a tuxedo rental shop and opening a bank, and also mentions being recruited to serve as a campaign manager for a friend.

Keywords: Banking; Campaign manager; Formal wear; Gainesville Bank & Trust; Gainesville College; Georgia House of Representatives; Georgia State Senate; Holding company; James Mills; Nautilis equipment; Northeast Georgia Racquetball Club; Politics; Real estate; Rental properties; Southern Heritage Bank; Suntrust Bank; Tuxedo rental

00:09:27 - Early experience in the state senate

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Partial Transcript: Well, there were several developments in your political career that we would like to talk to you about.

Segment Synopsis: Cagle describes running for state senate seat as a Republican in a traditionally Democratic county and mentions some political mentors from both sides of the aisle.

Keywords: Augusta, Georgia; Banking committee; Bipartisanship; Conservative; Constituency; County Commissioner; Democrat; Don Cheeks; ESPLOST; Educational special purpose local option sales tax; Hugh Gillis; Incumbent; Integrity; Jim Tysinger; Lieutenant governor; Mentor; Party politics; Paul Broun Sr.; Pierre Howard; Politics; Republican ticket; Senate bill

00:16:50 - Educational policy as Lieutenant Governor

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Partial Transcript: Besides education, you had another main agenda item and that was transportation.

Segment Synopsis: Cagle describes some of the policies and programs Georgia has initiated to address its high school dropout rate.

Keywords: Accountability; Albany, Georgia; Augusta, Georgia; Charter school system; College and Career Academy Network; Community college; Drop-out rate; Dual enrollment; Educational curriculum; Educational issues; Gainesville, Georgia; Lieutenant governor; Public education; Public policy; Savannah, Georgia; Tax policy

00:21:27 - Transportation initiatives

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk about transportation.

Segment Synopsis: Cagle discusses some of his ideas for addressing the gridlock in Atlanta and the importance of efficient transit for the state.

Keywords: Achilles heel; Alternative funding; Devaluation; Freight; Fuel efficient vehicles; Gridlock; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; Heavy rail; Infrastructure; Interstate system; Light rail; Metropolitan Atlanta; Motor fuel tax; Port of Savannah; Public transit; ROI; Railroads; Real estate; Return on investment; Revenue; Reversible lanes; TSPLOST; Toll roads; Traffic; Transportation special-purpose local-option sales tax

00:27:17 - Run for Lieutenant Governor

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Partial Transcript: Well, after five terms in the State Senate you decide to run for lieutenant governor.

Segment Synopsis: Cagle speaks about his run for Lieutenant Governor against high-profile opponent Ralph Reed and describes how the role is different in Georgia than in many other states.

Keywords: Bipartisan; Christian Coalition; Consensus; Executive branch; Executive power; Fundraising; General election; Georgia Constitution; Georgia Senate; Judicial branch; Lagrange, Georgia; Leadership; Legislative branch; Minority party; Name recognition; Power struggle; Ralph Reed; Rolling Stone magazine; Speaker of the House; Time magazine; Tom Murphy

00:36:45 - Election of Republican governor and legislative majority

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Partial Transcript: You were in the Senate in 2003.

Segment Synopsis: Cagle opines that many of Georgia's Democrats were conservative and that Georgia's transition to a Republican state was not tumultuous.

Keywords: Don Cheeks:Jack Hill; Hinesville, Georgia; Hugh Gillis; Mandate; Minority party; Party-switchers; Reconstruction; Republican majority; Sonny Purdue; Statesboro, Georgia

00:40:07 - Dropping out of the governor's race

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Partial Transcript: Well, some lieutenant governors use the office as a stepping stone to the governor's office.

Segment Synopsis: Cagle recalls making the difficult decision to withdraw from the governor's race due to a health problem.

Keywords: Ambition; Ernest Vandiver; Frontrunner; Injury; Marvin Griffin; Political poll; Public service; Zell Miller

00:42:30 - Highlights of political career / Ethics in politics

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Partial Transcript: Looking back over your career as lieutenant governor, what have you enjoyed most?

Segment Synopsis: Cable suggests that he's most proud of his initiatives concerning children, and indicates that while ethics laws are important for those in office, most politicians are more honest than the media coverage suggests.

Keywords: Accountability; Barbeque; Blogs; Childhood cancer; Childhood obesity; Competition; Constituents; Corruption; Direct mail; Ethics laws; Freshman legislator; Healthy Kids Challenge; Indictment; Internet; Lobbying; Lobbyists; Media; Poultry industry; Roy Barnes; Tabloid; Unethical conduct

00:50:01 - Future political plans

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Partial Transcript: Let's get back for a minute to Casey Cagle.

Segment Synopsis: Cagle explains why he's not interested in running for U.S. Senate and suggests he doesn't have a specific plan for future political runs.

Keywords: Commuting; Faith; Gridlock; National politics; Religion; Saxby Chambliss; U.S. Senate; Washington, D.C.

00:53:05 - Greatest accomplishments and disappointments

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Partial Transcript: Going back to your first year in public office, which was 1995, what do you consider your biggest accomplishment?

Segment Synopsis: Cagle states that his great accomplishment was learning the political process through great Georgia politicians and his greatest disappointment was not always listening carefully enough.

Keywords: Domestic cat; Overcommitment; Pesticide; Pets; Political process; Public servant; Public service; Value system

00:57:08 - Cagle's family

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Partial Transcript: Before we go, uh, please introduce us to your family.

Segment Synopsis: Cagle speaks about his high school sweetheart, who became his wife, and their three sons.

00:58:43 - Georgia as the Capital of the South

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Partial Transcript: Well, as always, I want to give you, our guest, the opportunity to add or subtract to anything we've said or haven't said before we close out.

Segment Synopsis: Cagle discusses some of the attributes that he believe distinguishes Georgia from other Southern states.

Keywords: Big box retailers; Birmingham, Alabama; Distribution center; Diversity; Economic engine; Idioms; Investment; Population; Shipping

01:02:05 - Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: On behalf of the Russell Library and Young Harris College, I'd like to thank you very much.

Segment Synopsis: Short and Cagle conclude the interview.