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Interview with Wesley Dunn, May 25, 2016

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:41 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: Before we get into your legislative career, let's talk about your early life.

Segment Synopsis: Dunn talks about growing up in a small town in Virginia called Bakersville. His family had a tobacco farm and his dad also had an independent insurance company. He talks about moving to Georgia to attend the University of Georgia, and later transferring to Georgia State because it was easier to get a job in Atlanta. Dunn also talks about attending Emory Law School and becoming a lawyer. Dunn later moved to Mcdonough, Georgia with his wife.

Keywords: Georgia House of Representatives; Richmond, Virginia; St. Christopher's; real estate

00:05:14 - Running for the Georgia House of Representatives

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Partial Transcript: When did you become interested in politics?

Segment Synopsis: Dunn discusses his decision to run for the Georgia House of Representatives, saying that the incumbent representative from McDonough, Richard Chamberlin, was primarily concerned with putting the ten commandments in all public buildings. Dunn believed that there were more pressing issues to be dealt with, so he decided to run for his seat. Dunn also talks about meeting Herman Talmadge while he was knocking on doors during his campaign.

Keywords: Jack Gilchrist; Tommy Irvin; economic development; education; property taxes

00:13:18 - Getting started in the House / Meeting Tom Murphy

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Partial Transcript: So you were elected and you go off to the capitol. What was it like being a freshman legislator?

Segment Synopsis: Dunn discusses his experience being a freshman in the Georgia House of Representatives. He talks about meeting Tom Murphy and developing a close friendship with him. He says that Murphy made him the chairman of the Insurance Committee after only eight years. Dunn describes Tom Murphy's relationship with Zell Miller, and says that their feud usually benefited the quality of legislation in the House.

Keywords: Bill Jones; Frank Horne; Joe Frank Harris; Johnny Isakson; Newt Gingrich; Rudolph Johnson; Terrell Star; rules committee

00:23:31 - The Murphy Team

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk about the Murphy team.

Segment Synopsis: Dunn discusses his relationship with Tom Murphy in more detail. He recalls a time when they disagreed on a bill to repeal no-fault insurance. Dunn also talks about a Representative named Denmark Groover, who had a reputation for amending bills and picking out flaws in legislation.

Keywords: Bill Lee; Green door; Jerry Jackson; Larry Walker; Terry Coleman; Tom Buck; Tom Ramsey; Zell Miller; budget; flag; special rules change committee

00:35:02 - Relationship with the governor

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Partial Transcript: Well, you served with two governors, Joe Frank and Zell, tell us about them.

Segment Synopsis: Dunn discusses his relationships with the two governors he served under: Joe Frank Harris and Zell Miller. Dunn recalls getting into a dispute with Governor Harris after he elected to put a new Agricenter in Perry, Georgia even though Henry County (Dunn's district) was rated the number one place to put it. Dunn also recalls a time when his bill to legalize parimutual betting for horse racing interfered with Zell Miller's lottery bill, so Dunn had to withdraw his bill.

Keywords: Carl Sanders; Denmark Grover; Larry Walker; blue ribbon commission; medical marijuana; reapportionment; veterans

00:47:01 - State Attorney General race / Party Politics

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Partial Transcript: But anyway, let's get back a minute to you. You decided to run for state Attorney General. What prompted that decision?

Segment Synopsis: Dunn discusses his decision to run for the state Attorney General's position. He says that after he lost the race he went back to his law practice. Dunn believes that he lost the race because of changing party politics in Georgia which he attributes as being a result of racial issues and reapportionment politics.

Keywords: Civil Rights Bill; Jake Cullins; Richard Nixon; Ronald Reagan; Roy Barnes; Tom Murphy

00:57:37 - Public perception of government / Reflections on career

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Partial Transcript: What do you think that the average American today thinks about his or her country or his or her government?

Segment Synopsis: Dunn talks about what the average American today thinks of their government. He says that "everyone hates the government but loves their representative." Dunn also reflects on what his proudest moments and his regrets were during his career. He says that he is most proud of repealing no-fault insurance, and that he regrets not staying in the legislature longer. Dunn also talks about what he is doing today with his lobbying business.

Keywords: David Ralston; Lake Powell; Roy Barnes; Terrell Star; Tom Allgood; aquifers; auto insurance; biomass; coal; renewable energy