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Interview with Ray Holland, October 1, 2014

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:35 - Education and election to Georgia House of Representatives

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Partial Transcript: Ashburn, Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Holland talks about studying political science, and later law, at the University of Georgia. Holland then describes his campaign for the Georgia House of Representatives, and his participation in the Biennial Institute, an event organized by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government to orient newly elected legislators to the legislative process.

Keywords: Albert Saye; Curtis Jenkins; Delmar Dunn; Democratic Party; Doug Teper; Eugene Miller; Francis Wallace; George Busbee; Interstate 75; Ken Poston; Robert Clute; Ron Fennel; Turner County, Georgia; University of Georgia School of Law; Youth Assembly; billboards; brochures; television ads

00:09:20 - Working relationships in the House

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Partial Transcript: The leadership, it's like when you're walking onto campus and you see your professor for the first time.

Segment Synopsis: Holland discusses some of the relationships he made through service in the Georgia House, including friendships with key members such as Denmark Groover and Speaker Tom Murphy. Holland particularly focuses on his alliance with Ken Poston, Ron Fennel, Doug Taper, and Curtis Jenkins, which he dubs "The Group of Four Plus One".

Keywords: Bill Shipp; Dubose Porter; Jimmy Skipper; Larry Walker, Terry Coleman; Savannah, Georgia; Ward Evans

00:14:12 - Career and legislative goals

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Partial Transcript: History tells us that your group set out to change the Georgia General Assembly.

Segment Synopsis: Holland emphasizes his view that legislators should ignore lobbyists and focus on their constituents' wants and needs. Holland then says that being a rural Georgian helped him bring a certain perspective for other legislators to consider, in the same way that urban legislators like Doug Teper and Tom Murphy, gave him a different perspective.

Keywords: Albany, Georgia; Columbus. Georgia; economic development; farming; fixing problems; lobbying; representation; urban Georgia

00:21:43 - Committee assignments

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Partial Transcript: Getting back to being a freshman, normally the Speaker gave freshman legislators an opportunity to choose committees.

Segment Synopsis: Holland explains which committees he hoped to be assigned to, but contrasts his hopes with his actual committee placements. Holland then details his role within those committees.

Keywords: Agriculture Committee; Appropriations Committee; Georgia Speaker of the House of Representatives; House majority leader; Larry Walker; Reapportionment Committee; Rules Committee; Seve Anthony; Terry Coleman; Tom Murphy; leadership

00:26:56 - 1992 Speaker's race and reform caucus

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk a minute about some of your reforms.

Segment Synopsis: Holland elaborates on the race for Speaker of the House in 1992 and the fallout from the heated race. Holland states that while his friends were part of the efforts to reform the House of Representatives, he had no part in such efforts.

Keywords: 1992 session; Denmark Groover; Dubose Porter; Ken Poston; Tom Murphy; assistant whips; budget reform caucus; majority whip

00:34:27 - Economic development and the "Green Door Committee"

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Partial Transcript: You go up to do good for your district- there is a vast difference in opinion about what role state government should play in funding projects in local governments.

Segment Synopsis: Holland remembers his efforts to allocate state funds to help the counties he represented and to fund the university system in Georgia. Holland then admonishes the "Green Door Committee" (an informal budgetary drafting committee), not because of the group's intentions, but because of the private, undisclosed methods in which they appropriated funds outside of the formal legislative process.

Keywords: Bubba McDonald; Dubose Porter; Fiscal Affairs Committee; Joe Frank Harris; Lee County, Georgia; Roy Barnes; Turner County, Georgia; Worth County, Georgia; Zell Miller; Zell Miller Learning Center; emergency fund; floor leader; local government; porkbarrels; recreation; reform caucus; slush fund; subcommittee for the University System

00:44:45 - Disagreement between Zell Miller and Tom Murphy

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Partial Transcript: Lieutenant Governor Miller and Speaker Murphy often had differences that reflected different political views.

Segment Synopsis: Holland recalls the various fights between Zell Miller and Tom Murphy, which he notes spanned both personal and political conflicts. Holland then talks about how this political disagreement spilled over into the 1990 gubernatorial race.

Keywords: Bubba McDonald; Denmark Groover; Dubose Porter; Georgia Lottery; HOPE Scholarship; Steve Anthony; The Bucket Shop; Underground Atlanta

00:52:32 - Ethics reform in the Georgia legislature

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk a moment about one of the reforms that your group began when you were in your second or third term.

Segment Synopsis: Hollands describes his efforts to institute ethics reform within the Georgia House of Representatives during his tenure. Holland then tells of the unexpected resistance he faced from other legislators for any measure of ethics reform, and gives his thoughts as to why this occurred.

Keywords: Ethics Commission; campaign contributions; disclosure of expenditures and contributions; interest groups; lobbying

01:01:04 - Budgeting in the Georgia House of Representatives

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Partial Transcript: Beginning at the very onset of a budget period, the legislature is present a revenue forecast from the governor.

Segment Synopsis: Holland explains the budgeting process as it occurred during his time in the House of Representatives, from the bill's inception to its passage into law. Holland notes the importance of Georgia's requirement of a balanced budget, as it forces the legislators to pass a working budget by the last day of their session.

Keywords: Appropriations Committee; Georgia Constitution; Georgia Senate; Rules Committee; conference committee; legislative process; omnibus bill; tracking sheet

01:11:34 - Reapportionment process

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Partial Transcript: Now let's turn to reapportionment.

Segment Synopsis: Holland outlines the process of redistricting that the Reapportionment Committee undertakes following every federal census. He is reminded of the difficulty the Reapportionment Committee had in drawing districts that pleased everybody but that were not turned down by the court system for unconstitutionality.

Keywords: Johnson v. Miller; Bob Hanner; Cynthia McKinney; Justice Department; Linda Meggers; Steve Anthony; black caucus; computers; joint committee; minority representation; population shifts; racial gerrymandering minority districts; technology; vice-chairman

01:25:16 - Protecting incumbents through reapportionment

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Partial Transcript: But you have hinted earlier that one of the objectives was to protect the incumbents.

Segment Synopsis: Holland discusses how the redistricting process was used to protect the incumbents of the party in power. Hollands makes clear his disdain for partisan gerrymandering, which he views as undemocratic.

Keywords: 2002 reapportionment session; Austin Scott; Hanson Carter; demographic shifts; geographically compact districts

01:39:25 - Aftermath of the Speaker's race / Rural economic development

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Partial Transcript: Ray, you had a very successful legislative career.

Segment Synopsis: Holland touches again upon the 1992 Speaker's race, focusing on why Tom Murphy won and how he later eased the strains in relationships caused by the race. Holland then elaborates on his plans to bring jobs back to rural Georgia, identifying two ways: the Rural Economic Development Act and expansion of the Jobs Tax Credit Program.

Keywords: 1992 general election; Biennial Institute; Billy Randall; Denmark Groover; Doug Teper; Dubose Porter; National Legislative Institute; Special Judiciary Committee; Terry Coleman; Ways and Means Committee; Zell Miller; agribusiness; committee chairmen; growth strategy studies; job attraction; legislative process,lawmaking

01:55:53 - Phone service in rural Georgia / Public service compensation

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Partial Transcript: One of the legislative battles that was in some ways humorous and was not just a bill I introduced, but if you asked me about what things I did in the legislature that might have affected affected people that I represent the most, it had to do with long distance.

Segment Synopsis: Holland talks about his efforts to get calls within rural Georgia on landline phones to be considered local calls by the phone companies instead of long distance. Holland then recalls his ultimately unsuccessful efforts to increase pay for public officials.

Keywords: Compensation Commission; Constitutional Compensation Commission; David Bundry; Dick Pettis; Georgia Senate; James Beck; Mack Barber; Terry Coleman; communication; nonpartisan; referendum; seniority; term limits

02:09:00 - Anecdotes from House service

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Partial Transcript: I thought a funny bill- I mentioned earlier the old saying that no good deed goes unpunished- one time, it was well known that I had some computer knowledge.

Segment Synopsis: Holland shares several stories from his time in the House of Representatives, including holding a special session in the old state capital in Milledgeville. Holland also explains how his service in the House shaped his political and legislative philosophy.

Keywords: 9/11 terror attacks; Denmark Groover; Doug Teper; Larry Walker; Milledgeville, Georgia; Mitch Kay; Operation Desert Storm; Roy Barnes; Tom Murphy; computers; democracy; elections; majority leader; role calls; state seal; technology; voting machines

02:20:09 - Changing the Georgia state flag.

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Partial Transcript: Well, you were involved with those battles

Segment Synopsis: Holland describes the fights to change the Georgia state flag away from one that included the Confederate Battle Flag. He states that the battle started before Roy Barnes became governor, but it was not politically possible to do so until near the end of Barnes's term in office.

Keywords: Atlanta business community; Ben Fortson; Denmark Groover; House floor access; Senate Rules Committee; Youth In Government; Zell Miller; boycotts; referendum

02:32:04 - Personal view on the flag / Groover and Coleman's roles

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Partial Transcript: You know, from a personal political standpoint, some people think that his timing was wrong.

Segment Synopsis: Holland relates his own personal experience in wanting to change the state flag, sharing a story where he hesitated to give a state flag to a black constituent because of the Confederate symbols on the flag. Holland then notes the importance of key figures like Denmark Groover and Terry Coleman in getting the flag to be changed.

Keywords: 2002 gubernatorial race; Cathy Cox; Ed Lovejoy; George Hooks; House Rules Committee; Max Cleland; Saxby Chambliss; Sonny Purdue; backlash; historical significance; judicial position

02:51:14 - Experience as a House member

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Partial Transcript: We mentioned the House floor earlier- I think people ought to be somewhat interested as to what it's like to serve in that chamber.

Segment Synopsis: Holland describes the typical experience of a House member, particularly outside of the high-stakes, controversial bills usually reserved for the end of a session. Holland also lambastes the campaign strategy of negative campaigning as being unfair and bad for democracy.

Keywords: "housekeeping" legislation; Appropriations Committee; Democratic National Convention; GPTV; Georgia State Capitol; House floor; Jimmy Carter; Judiciary Committee; Policy Committee; Roy Barnes; debate; democracy; fair campaign practices; renovations

02:58:39 - Speaker Tom Murphy / Reform in the House

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Partial Transcript: You talked about earlier, and we talked about during a break, one of the things you first talked about was reforms in the Georgia House.

Segment Synopsis: Holland gives his thoughts on Tom Murphy, evaluating his role as leader of the House of Representatives and his impact upon Georgia. Holland then lists the reform measures he hoped to implement in the House, but which he was unable to do before leaving office.

Keywords: 2002 reapportionment session; Larry Walker; Reforms; Rules Committee; Speaker's race; Terry Coleman; budgetary process; closed meetings; computers; length of service; schedule of subcommittees; seniority system; technology; voting records; word processors

03:11:41 - Higher Education Subcommittee

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Partial Transcript: The very best thing, and let's save the best thing for last, during my latter years of service on the Appropriations Committee, I was a member of the Higher Education Subcommittee which handled the funding for the University System.

Segment Synopsis: Holland mentions his time on the Higher Education Subcommittee within the Appropriations Committee, which allowed him to manage the funding for Georgia's public colleges. Holland specifically relates how through this subcommittee he was able to benefit his Alma mater, the University of Georgia.

Keywords: Board of Regents; Georgia University System; Louise McBee