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Old 03-01-2017, 05:32 PM
 
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Figures from across the political spectrum came together on Tuesday night at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta to honor one of the state's most notable governors in former Georgia governor Zell Miller.

Miller, who served as Lt. governor from 1975-1991, governor from 1991-1999 and represented the state in Congress as a U.S. Senator from 2000-2005, was being honored in observance of his 85th birthday along with the Zell Miller Institute for Public Policy, a bipartisan advocacy group.

Miller (who was known to be a little feisty and even somewhat cranky at times, particularly during his stint as a U.S. Senator) is recognized as one of Georgia's most-effective and most-beloved governors.

Though he struggled at times during his first term as governor as he dealt with such then highly-controversial issues as creating a state lottery (gambling) and attempting to remove the Confederate battle emblem form the Georgia State Flag, Zell Miller was overwhelmingly popular with the Georgia public with his approval ratings hovering at about 85% when he left office at the end of his second term in 1999.

During his time as governor, Zell Miller led the way in creating such popular long-lasting initiatives as the Georgia Lottery, the HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K education. Miller also significantly increased funding for public education in general (from Pre-K through college) and set the groundwork for the Confederate battle emblem to eventually be removed by Miller's gubernatorial successor, Roy Barnes, all while serving as governor during the very-prosperous lead-up to Atlanta's berth as host of the 1996 Summer Olympic games.

Miller could not be present at the dinner because he is recovering from shingles. But many other notable political figures were there to honor Miller and his bipartisan organization, including such figures as Republican former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, current Republican Georgia U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (whom Miller beat in the 1990 Governor's race), Republican current Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Democratic former Atlanta mayor and U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young (whom Miller also beat in the 1990 Governor's race).

Also on hand was Democratic political strategist and operative Paul Begala who (along with Democratic strategist James Carville) successfully ran Miller's winning campaign for governor in 1990, and whom (also along with Carville) successfully ran Bill Clinton's winning campaign for President in 1992 after Miller recommended that Clinton hire Begala and Carville.

Former Presidents George W. Bush (Republican) and Bill Clinton (Democrats) sent pre-taped messages to the crowd via video.

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution's "Political Insider" column/blog:
Quote:
Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, two former presidents on opposite sides of the political spectrum: They all united Tuesday to celebrate former Gov. Zell Miller in a bipartisan lovefest in honor of his 85th birthday.

The dinner honored the Zell Miller Institute for Public Policy, a new player in Georgia politics dedicated to bipartisan policies and public service. The ex-governor couldn’t make it to the event – he’s recovering from shingles and couldn’t travel – though his grandson Bryan Miller read a letter in his honor.

A string of politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, sent their best wishes in person or through video messages. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called him a “model for so many of us.” Sen. Johnny Isakson, his one-time rival, also praised his legacy.

And former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton both addressed the crowd via videotape, with Clinton saying he’ll always remember that Miller was “one of the very few people – besides my mother and Hillary – who actually thought I had a chance to be elected president in 1992.”

Zell Miller served in a mind-boggling range of elected offices in Georgia, from mayor to state senator to lieutenant governor before defeating Isakson to win the governor’s office in 1990.

The Democrat staked his campaign on a promise to establish a state lottery to fund higher education and pre-kindergarten programs – pioneering the popular HOPE scholarship – and tried, unsuccessfully, to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the Georgia state flag.

His successor, Roy Barnes, tapped him to serve as U.S. Senator in 2000 after Republican Paul Coverdell’s death, and Miller showcased his maverick streak in Washington when he famously delivered a keynote speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

House Speaker David Ralston credited Miller’s “fierce mountain independence” and his disdain for the “sugar-laced intrigues of the special interests” for his success in politics. But the Blue Ridge Republican had a confession to make.

“I never voted for him,” he said to laughter. “That’s just the way mountain Republicans and mountain Democrats are.”
"A bipartisan celebration of a maverick Georgian: ‘Zell Miller changed my*life’" (Political Insider/AJC)
A bipartisan celebration of a maverick: ‘Zell Miller changed my life’ | Political Insider blog
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Old 03-01-2017, 09:41 PM
 
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Wow! It seems as if Georgia has cut back so much on education since then. HOPE isn't as accessible as it once was and higher education institutions are taking in more out-of-state/international students in order to offset some of the burden that came with dramatic cuts to higher education. Really sad to see Georgia regress towards education.
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Old 03-01-2017, 10:05 PM
 
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Ah, back in the day when people voted based on personality and getting stuff done rather than treating their "side" like a sports team and cheering them on even when clearly wrong or even against their own self interests. Would be nice.
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Old 03-01-2017, 10:42 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
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I consider Miller to be the last great governor Georgia has had. He got things done.
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Old 03-02-2017, 06:08 AM
 
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I loved it when Zell challenged Chris Matthews to a duel.
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Old 03-02-2017, 07:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Carolina Knight View Post
I consider Miller to be the last great governor Georgia has had. He got things done.
Zell Miller is obviously considered to be one of Georgia's greatest, most-effective and most-beloved governors.

But the current governor, Nathan Deal, while he obviously may not be considered to be as great or as beloved as Zell Miller, appears to also be one of the most-effective governors that Georgia has ever had.

Though his poll numbers and approval ratings have sometimes been adversely affected by the allegations of ethics improprieties that have swirled around him during his first gubernatorial campaign and during his first term as governor, Nathan Deal has been quite effective in helping to foster the massive growth of the state's television and film production industry (an industry which has exploded during Deal's tenure as governor as Deal himself has often flown to California to personally recruit TV and film production projects and companies to Georgia).

Deal has also done a great job of helping to keep the Georgia state legislature from going completely off the rails like it did during former governor Sonny Perdue's second term and into the first couple of years of Deal's first term.

(...Deal pushed out some of the worst troublemakers (namely former Georgia Senate majority leader Chip Rogers) in his first term who were the cause of much of the organizational dysfunction and disarray in the state legislature in the late-2000's and early-2010's.)

Deal also vetoed the toxic 'Religious Liberty' legislation last April, helping to save the state's reputation, business climate and multibillion-dollar television and film production industry from the type of public relations ruin that has accompanied the passage of such damaging legislation in states like Indiana and North Carolina.

Overall (with the likely exception of Sonny Perdue, who could have been much worse than he was), Georgia has generally been blessed with pragmatic, forward-looking and progressive leadership.

Seven of the last eight governors that Georgia has had during the modern era (from Nathan Deal to Roy Barnes to Zell Miller to Joe Frank Harris to George Busbee to Jimmy Carter to Lester Maddox to Carl Sanders) have been considered to be effective governors.

Even governors such as Roy Barnes (who was defeated in his bid for re-election by Sonny Perdue) and Lester Maddox (who frequently and openly espoused highly-racist views and propaganda before being elected governor) were considered to be highly-effective governors who moved the state forward in a major way.

Even though he lost his bid for re-election, Roy Barnes (Zell Miller's successor) is considered by many to be one of Georgia's most-effective governors ever because he removed the Confederate battle emblem from the Georgia State Flag, a then highly-controversial move which has paid dividends for the state's image, reputation and business climate moving forward.

Even the previously openly race-baiting segregationist Lester Maddox was considered to be one of the state's most highly-effective governors because he generally and mostly governed like a progressive during an administration that pushed the growth of economic development to a level that had never been seen before in the state, dramatically increased funding for public education and (ironically) appointed more African-Americans to state government positions than ever before in the history of the state up until that time.

Maddox also during his time as governor (again, ironically) made reforms to make state government functions less-racist and less-discriminatory.

In most cases, Georgia has generally had good gubernatorial leadership during a modern era in governance that many perceive to have began with the election of Carl Sanders to the governor's office in 1962.

Last edited by Born 2 Roll; 03-02-2017 at 08:01 AM..
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Old 03-02-2017, 07:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Born 2 Roll View Post
Zell Miller is obviously considered to be one of Georgia's greatest, most-effective and most-beloved governors.

But the current governor, Nathan Deal, while he obviously may not be considered to be as great or as beloved as Zell Miller, appears to also be one of the most-effective governors that Georgia has ever had.

Though his poll numbers and approval ratings have sometimes been adversely affected by the allegations of ethics improprieties that have swirled around him during his first gubernatorial campaign and during his first term as governor, Nathan Deal has been quite effective in helping to foster the massive growth of the state's television and film production industry (an industry which has exploded during Deal's tenure as governor as Deal himself has often flown to California to personally recruit TV and film production projects and companies to Georgia).

Deal has also done a great job of helping to keep the Georgia state legislative from going completely off the rails like it did during former governor Sonny Perdue's second term and into the first couple of years of Deal's first term.

(...Deal pushed out some of the worst troublemakers (namely former Georgia Senate majority leader Chip Rogers) in his first term who were the cause of much of the organizational dysfunction and disarray in the state legislature in the late-2000's and early-2010's.)

Deal also vetoed the toxic 'Religious Liberty' legislation last April, helping to save the state's reputation, business climate and multibillion-dollar television and film production industry from the type of public relations ruin that has accompanied the passage of such damaging legislation in states like Indiana and North Carolina.

Overall (with the likely exception of Sonny Perdue, who could have been much worse than he was), Georgia has generally been blessed with pragmatic, forward-looking and progressive leadership.

Seven of the last eight governors that Georgia has had during the modern era (from Nathan Deal to Roy Barnes to Zell Miller to Joe Frank Harris to George Busbee to Jimmy Carter to Lester Maddox to Carl Sanders) have been considered to be effective governors.

Even governors such as Roy Barnes (who was defeated in his bid for re-election by Sonny Perdue) and Lester Maddox (who frequently and openly espoused highly-racist views and propaganda before being elected governor) were considered to be highly-effective governors who moved the state forward in a major way.

Even though he lost his bid for re-election, Roy Barnes (Zell Miller's successor) is considered by many to be one of Georgia's most-effective governors ever because he removed the Confederate battle emblem from the Georgia State Flag, a then highly-controversial move which has paid dividends for the state's image, reputation and business climate moving forward.

Even the previously openly race-baiting segregationist Lester Maddox was considered to be one of the state's most highly-effective governors because he generally and mostly governed like a progressive during an administration that pushed the growth of economic development to a level that had never been seen before in the state, dramatically increased funding for public education and (ironically) appointed more African-Americans to state government positions than ever before in the history of the state up until that time.

Maddox also during his time as governor (again, ironically) made reforms to make state government functions less-racist and less-discriminatory.

In most cases, Georgia has generally had good gubernatorial leadership during a modern era in governance that many perceive to have began with the election of Carl Sanders to the governor's office in 1962.
I generally hate Republicans and their backwards ways, but unlike many people I'm willing to give credit to the other side when it's due. Senators like Susan Collins are a good example. Nathan Deal is another. With Georgia the kind of state that it is, it would be VERY easy for us to end of with a Jeff Sessions type bigot as a governor. It wouldn't be inconceivable for our Republican governor to be out there stripping away education scholarships, trying to block gay marriage, signing bizarre transgender bathroom bills, etc. We could easily have some zealot at the state capitol pushing his religion on the entire state while attacking the existence of other religions. Yes, we have a Republican...And knowing Georgia we will have another Republican after him. But I have felt comfortable with Deal, knowing he won't do anything insane to destroy our economy. He at least tries to stay out of the fray when it comes to religious matters. I can't imagine how badly Atlanta's development would be affected if we had a far right governor.

I won't hope for a Democrat in 2018, but if we end of with a psycho like Kemp or Kingston I will be worried for our future development. Much of metro Atlantas growth is thanks to open minded northerners and west coasters, and the open minded business they work for. We elect an idiot who tries to find a new minority group to scapegoat and attack, and we will end up like NC after the bathroom bill.
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Old 03-02-2017, 07:53 AM
 
6,174 posts, read 5,488,419 times
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Originally Posted by DreamerD View Post
Wow! It seems as if Georgia has cut back so much on education since then. HOPE isn't as accessible as it once was and higher education institutions are taking in more out-of-state/international students in order to offset some of the burden that came with dramatic cuts to higher education. Really sad to see Georgia regress towards education.
That's an excellent point that education funding has been cut back significantly since the Zell Miller administration.

Sonny Perdue notably (to some, notoriously) instituted significant "austerity cuts" to state education funding during his the first term of his administration.

The cuts to state education funding also deepened even more severely in the last two years of the Perdue administration and the first two years of the Deal administration as the Great Recession economic downturn of the late-2000's and early 2010's ravaged the state budget (along with most other states in the union).

Though to his credit, it should be noted that state education funding appears to have been increased to previously-unseen-before levels during Nathan Deal's current gubernatorial administration.

From what I understand, state education funding is the highest that it has even been both in terms of raw numbers and in terms as a percentage of the state budget.

It should also be noted that state government appears to have made an effort to save the HOPE scholarship from going extinct a few years back when the state was coming out of the near-depressionary downturn that was the Great Recession.

It is just that, even with the increases in both the raw amount and the percentage of the state budget that is being spent on education, education funding does not go as far as it used to because there are many, many more people living in the state than in the past.

Just in the last 26-27 years since Zell Miller was elected governor of Georgia back in 1990, there are about 4 million more people living in the state than there were when Miller was elected governor in 1990. The state's population has increased by more than 60% since Miller was elected governor in 1990.

With that significant population growth has come massive growth in the amount of students living in the state. So even though there may be more state education funding now than there was two-plus decades ago, that education has to be split between many, many more students than it did back during the Miller administration when there were far fewer people and students living in the state.
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Old 03-02-2017, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Vinings
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Georgia's enough of a purple/battleground state at this point and going forward, that we need our government to be composed of sensible moderates, from either party. Who basically just seek middle ground and general compromise type of policy.

I can admit we're demographically maybe not quite ready yet for liberal progressive values at the state leadership level. But at the same time, we should be ready to move well on from anything that's to the right of a mild conservatism.

Georgia is not a deep red state at all at this point. We're right in the middle of the pack in the 50 states. Trump won only 50.77% of the vote in Georgia. Ohio, Iowa, and one of Maine's electoral districts were all redder than that, and a bunch of states in the north and south were 10-15 percentage points redder than that. He won 49.02% of the vote in Florida, and 48.58% in PA, both states widely considered more liberal than Georgia. But that's only a couple percentage points.

And he won both of those states. So, if Georgia is considered a red state, then so too is Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa. And I'm betting the future trend will be that GA will get bluer, while some of those states will get redder, especially up in the rust belt.

Point being, politics in this state should be rather centrist and sensible, and any new governor we elect should reflect that.
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Old 03-02-2017, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
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I wasn't paying attention at that time, but I definitely have love for the guy. May have something to do with my former days at YHC
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