Doug Barnard, Reflections on Georgia Politics

BOB SHORT: Hello, I’m Bob Short and this is
Reflections on Georgia Politics, sponsored by Young Harris College and the Russell Library
at the University of Georgia. We’re honored today to have as our guest former Congressman
Douglas Barnard. Welcome, Congressman Barnard. Shall I call you congressman or, since we’re
all friends, can I just call you Doug? DOUG BARNARD: Please do that. SHORT: I will. Before we get into your career
in public service, Doug, we’d like to talk to you a little bit about your early life.
Tell us about growing up in Augusta, Georgia, and especially growing up with your friend,
Carl Sanders. BARNARD: Well, thank you. And I wanted to
thank you for letting me participate in this Reflections on Georgia Politics. It’s been
my pleasure to have been of service to the state and, hopefully, to the nation for many
years, and I’m delighted to be here with you today.
Well, I was born in Augusta, Georgia, and I was educated at the Academy of Richmond
County. I went to junior college, which was associated with the Academy at that time.
And then I went to Mercer University where I got my undergraduate degree. I went back
after the war and got my LL.B. degree, and then, contrary to most graduates from law
school, I went into the banking business. But I was born in Augusta. My parents were
Druie D. Barnard and Lucy Barnard. I never thought I would ever be in politics. I thought
that even after law school that banking would be my destiny, but I guess you can’t overcome
genealogy. My mother was a very active politician in Augusta, and she was the first registrar,
after the law was passed setting up registrars. She was the first registrar in Richmond County,
and she was a real character and established herself as a lady that was independent and
had her own opinions about things and she was going to do things her own way.
I can remember, Bob, that back in my younger days when I was in high school, she was a
registrar and she had to put on the elections. There were times when she didn’t have enough
workers, so I found myself working in the polls even at 17 and 18 years old. I couldn’t
vote, but I was working in the polls. So I guess the genes stayed with me all of those
years and finally emerged that I did get into politics.
I lived on the 2300 block of Wrightsboro Road and, believe it or not, my across-the-street
neighbor was Carl E. Sanders. And we were very good friends as boys. We walked to school
at elementary school. We walked to school at high school. And we stayed very close friends
all of those years and, of course, he grew much bigger than I did and was the all-state
fullback at Richmond Academy. We stayed friends all during those times. He joined the Air
Force during the war, and I enlisted in the Army. All during the war, we stayed in contact
with one another. He would write me and I would write him. And he’d write me and tell
me about all the starlets he was dating, which really I enjoyed. Really. And I would write
him about all the desolate things I was doing in Chard, England. So, we stayed good friends
all of the years. But that’s sort of the beginning of my life.
As I said, I finished law school and went to work in the bank. And my introduction to
politics was very interesting. Again, my friend Carl Sanders had been elected as a young lawyer
to the Georgia General Assembly, Georgia House of Representatives. And he was there one term
and then he decided he’d run for the State Senate. He ran for the State Senate from Richmond
County and won, and then Burke County waived their right to the seat and he ran again and
he won. And then in 1958, he wanted to run again and
the seat belonged to Glascock County and those were the three counties in our Senatorial
district. So, Carl came to me and said, “I want you to do me a favor.” And I said, “What
is that?” He said, “I want you to run for the Democratic Executive Committee.” And I
said, “All right, I’ll do that.” I said, “Why do you want me to do that?” And he said, “Well,
there’s a rumor that down in Glascock County that they’re going to offer me the right to
run from there, but some of the Augusta politicians, primarily the Cracker Party, are going to
object and, therefore, they will not accept Glascock County’s offer.” And I said, “Okay.
I’ll do that.” So I ran for the Democratic Executive Committee. And in the lack of interest,
I guess more than anything else, I won, and even won the chairmanship over a future opponent
of mine, Mike Padgett, who was late for the meeting and I won by one vote.
But as things happened, he announced that he was going to run for a third term in the
senate and we accepted Glascock County’s offer to waive their right to the seat, and so he
was elected for the third term to the Georgia Senate. I did not know that that experience
was going to thrust me into politics eventually the rest of my life, but I was delighted to
do my friend a favor. And so later on, you know, he announced that
he was going to run for lieutenant governor. Well, the entire city of Augusta was very
pleased about that, and they wanted — they got behind strong to run for lieutenant governor.
My wife and I, we agreed as our close friendship was, to participate, and we did. We did a
lot of things preliminary to his running for lieutenant governor only to find out later
on that he had decided to run for governor. And, of course, that’s history now.
But, again, I was in the promotion business at the bank. I was in business development,
very close to Advertising and Public Relations, so he enlisted me to help him in the ’62 race
along with J. B. Fuqua. And so, as volunteers, we got into the race and worked very hard
and, of course, he — he won the race and we were all delighted. So I had the privilege
and, I guess, honor, of putting on the state Democratic meeting — convention, we called
it — in the fall of 1962. And when that was over, I really think, I said, “Well, I’m surely
through now, you know? I can go back to work at the bank.” So I did.
And then one afternoon, Sanders came to Augusta and he was preparing himself, you know. He
had an office in the state senate and he was getting himself prepared for governor. So,
he walked into my office one day and he said to me, he says, “I want you to go to Atlanta
with me.” And I said, “Well, what would I do?” He says, “Well, I would like for you
to be my Executive Secretary.” And I said, “Well, governor, you know I’m not too well
acquainted with what goes on in Atlanta. What does an Executive Secretary do?” And he said,
“Well, it’s just like this.” He said, “You do what I don’t want to do.” And he says,
“You run the governor’s office and you just back up — back me up in all that I do.” And
I said, “Is there a title for it?” And he said, “Yes, it’s a state title. It’s called
Executive Secretary.” And I said, “Well.” He said, “Now don’t come alibiing.” He said,
“I want you to do this. You’ve got to do it.” So I accepted it on the spot. I then had to
go home and tell my wife and children that I had accepted a job in Atlanta, which was
a little difficult to do. But, anyway, I accepted the job, and I must say that I had the most
enjoyable experience in my life in the four years that I worked for Governor Sanders in
the State Capitol. I got to know a lot of people, and it was an enjoyable, enjoyable
experience, and the service that it provided the State, you know, I was very proud about
that. I didn’t know too much about Georgia politics
and I had never — I had never been in any legislative organization, so — and I really
had never been in the governor’s office — so he didn’t give me too many instructions on
how to go about doing my business. So what did I do? Well, I organized the governor’s
office as I would a bank. You know? It was a line of authority, you know, and I felt
like that the way that banks were run, as efficiently as they run, and as well managed
as they were, this was not a bad way to do it. And so it was very successful. We had
a very businesslike organization, and I was glad to say that I learned the name of every
member of the General Assembly and the State Senate and where they were from in a short
period of time. And so, consequently, it was — I felt like it was easy to run the office,
and I got many compliments, which I’m proud to say.
And so I stayed in that office for four years. I left the governor’s office on December the
15, 1966, just 15 days before the end of the term, and went back to the bank as an employee.
But before I left, I said to the governor, I said, “I’d like to have some position in
the government.” I said, “You know, I’m liking what I’m doing and I’d like to stay associated.”
And he says, “Well, I would put you on the Board of Regents, but there’s no vacancy on
the Board of Regents and so, consequently, I don’t know. But there is a vacancy on the
Highway Board.” And I said, “Well, that will be fine.” And he said, “The seat is the former
seat of Mr. George Sanken, and he is going to get off and that’s the 10th District seat.
And this happens to be the last month that a governor can appoint a person to the highway
board. From this point on, they’re elected by a conference or a caucus of the members
of the general assembly from that district.” So I took a position on the State Highway
Board. I really felt then that I was really getting a little bit more involved in politics,
which I was, but I was still employed at the Georgia Railroad Bank.
So on the highway board, I really enjoyed my experience. Mr. Hugh Gillis — no, Jim
Gillis — was the chairman of the board and he and I got along very well together. And
then the other members of the board, Jack Acree and others, were dear friends of mine.
And I was fortunate to stay on that highway board ten years, from ’67 till ’77 — well,
actually from ’66 to ’76 — and enjoyed it. Got a lot of things done and was delighted
that I could see some projects that were started during the Sanders administration, to see
them in fulfillment. I was reelected by a caucus of the general
assembly in 1968 and this was a five-year term, and then I was reelected in 1973. Both
times, I only had one opponent. One opponent and there were 33 votes, and I got all but
one vote each time. I might say this and I don’t say it except in a friendly manner.
The one person that opposed me in 1973 happened to be supported by Governor Carter. You know,
he had just defeated Governor Sanders in the ’70 election, and so, consequently, I got
reelected anyway. I enjoyed my experience on the highway board because it permitted
me to continue to do some things that Governor Sanders had started. For example, I-20 going
from Atlanta to Augusta was under construction. It had been built to as far as Madison, Georgia,
and it still had some ninety miles to go, and I was able to do that. I also was able
to get the circumferential highway around Augusta built. It’s known as the Bobby Jones
Expressway, but it is actually I-520. And so many other things. This particular position
let me become acquainted with every county chairman of a county commission in my district,
in the 10th district, which was very fortuitous because they became helpful to me in my later
political exploits. SHORT: Before we get too far away from the
Cracker Party, would you mind going back and explaining to us the Cracker Party in Richmond
County, and especially the role that was played by Roy Harris? BARNARD: Well, I’m glad you asked me that,
Bob, because the Cracker Party was a very unique institution. The Cracker Party, of
course, ran Augusta, Georgia, and it was interesting how it was done. It wasn’t done by one person
or two persons; actually a person was selected to head up the Cracker Party. It was called
the Cracker Party because most of the members came from south Augusta, and the Cracker Party
got its name from “Tobacco Road,” because Crackers were the employees of the tobacco
industry back in those days. But, anyway, the Cracker Party ran Augusta.
And I mean they ran it with a tough hand. And, interesting enough, Roy Harris, who was
the Speaker of the House a long time — I think that he holds the record of being Speaker
of the Georgia House the longest — was the strongest person in the Cracker Party. Mr.
Harris was actually from Louisville, Georgia, but he moved to Augusta and began his law
practice there and was quite an institution. He had his own newspaper and he ran things
with a rough hand. Sanders, of course, being from the west side
of Augusta — not the south side, you know — was not one of the favorites of the Cracker
Party, and he always got strong opposition when he ran locally from the Cracker Party.
And then, of course, they were strong in the State Senate and in the Georgia House. I could
tell you many, many stories about Mr. Roy Harris. He finally — later on when I ran
for public office, he, of course, did not favor my election, to put it mildly, but after
I got elected to the Congress, I won his support and he never voted against me after that.
But the Cracker Party was an institution. I mean, it was strong. And the fact is, it
was actually run by the fire chief of Augusta. The fire chief was the leader of the Cracker
Party. He ran the mayor’s office, he ran the fire department, he ran the police department,
and you could not get appointed a teacher in Richmond County if you didn’t have the
approval of John Kennedy, who was the chief of the Cracker Party at that time. I’m sorry,
I omitted that, but it was a very interesting history.
Frankly, the Cracker Party stayed in power all during the ’30s and the ’40s, and it only
met resistance in 1946. The veterans had returned from the war. They were young. They were very
serious about what they had fought for. They had fought against the Nazis and they fought
against people dominating politics and running politics, and so they organized themselves.
And so they were on the Junior Chamber of Commerce and they organized themselves and
they actually threw out the Cracker Party. People like William S. Morris, the publisher
of the newspaper, was elected to the senate. Prominent lawyers like Henry Eave were elected
to the house. And it was an absolute turnover in politics. And they never did regain power.
They always had an influence in politics in Augusta, but they never regained the power
that they had before 1946. And, interesting enough, that was the time
that my mother was appointed the Chief Registrar of Richmond County, because the group that
organized to overcome the Cracker Party, she was a part of that and that’s how she got
the job. And so… SHORT: Roy Harris once said that he could
change the outcome of a Georgia election — this is under the old county unit system — in
at least 39 counties after the votes were counted. Do you think that’s a true statement? BARNARD: Oh, absolutely. I do believe that. SHORT: It was also once said that, “In order
to be governor of Georgia, you needed $50,000 and Roy Harris.” BARNARD: Well, that was absolutely true because
he was a powerful fellow. You know the interesting thing about Carl Sanders and myself? Carl
Sanders was the first governor elected from Augusta in many, many, many years. I can’t
tell you how many years. And that was because of the county unit system, you see. Richmond
County only had three votes in the county unit system. Well, surrounding counties like
Thomson and Warrenton and Glascock, they could over-vote Augusta, you know, in just one election.
So, that’s why we didn’t have any prominent citizens from Augusta elected to the governor’s
office. And the same thing happened to me. As you know, the county unit system was found
unconstitutional in 1960. And then I ran for Congress and I was the first congressman from
Augusta, Georgia, since 1904. So 72 years elapsed before I got elected to the Congress. SHORT: Speaking of the county unit system,
the 1962 election of Governor Sanders over his opponent, Marvin Griffin, was the first
election conducted after the decision to make the county unit system unconstitutional. Do
you think that had a pivotal role in the election of Governor Sanders? BARNARD: Oh, absolutely. I don’t think Governor
Sanders, being from Richmond County, would have had a chance in the world to do that.
And, of course, Ernie Vandiver, the former governor, was elected under the county unit
system, but he was from up in Lavonia in north Georgia and he had been a prominent State
Representative and State Senator and that’s how he was able to be elected governor before
the county unit system. But the county unit system being declared unconstitutional changed
politics tremendously. The fact is it turned over politics because the fact is that rural
Georgia ran the state. Even though Atlanta was a big city, Columbus, Macon, Albany and
Augusta, the rural counties — the kind under the county unit system ruled Georgia.
SHORT: You were very active in that campaign in 1962. Governor Sanders who, of course,
won, took a new approach to politicking in Georgia. Instead of the old stump speeches
out in the country, he campaigned in urban areas, and his vote — don’t you think — from
urban areas is what put him over? BARNARD: Well, yes, I guess that’s where most
of his votes came from, but he was strongly supported also in the rural area because he
had the support of the General Assembly and the State. But he was a newcomer on the block.
I have to say that he had to travel the state and he had his own airplane and he campaigned
in every county, but the municipalities — Atlanta, particularly — is what brought him — won
the election for him. SHORT: Speaking of your job as Executive Secretary,
you put together one of the finest teams that any governor of Georgia has ever had. Let’s
talk for a minute about some of them. BARNARD: Well, I was very fortunate. First,
I inherited some and then I appointed some. And then some came from the private sector
where Sanders had been before. His secretary, which was a wonderful woman, very efficient,
businesslike, was his secretary in his law firm down in Augusta. The staff that we worked
with, of course, was Henry Neal. Henry Neal was an Assistant District Attorney with the
Law Department, and he came to the governor’s office with all the knowledge of how the legal
aspects of the governor’s office should be run. He had excellent help in that office.
And then, of course, the press situation was handled by a former reporter from the Augusta
Herald and Augusta Chronicle, and he did an outstanding job as well.
But what we tried to do, Bob — as I said before — we were organized around a business-type
organization, and that was really one of the first times that that had been done. Mostly,
it was good ol’ boy politics, and the governor was called upon to do a lot of favors. Well,
as he told me, you know, that job sort of was passed over to me and so he escaped some
of that. SHORT: You had excellent relationships with
the House and Senate. The Speaker was George T. Smith, who was a friend of yours and a
friend of the governor’s. Tell us about Speaker Smith. BARNARD: Well, George T. Smith and the governor
had a close relationship. Mr. Smith was from Cairo, Georgia, I believe it was, and he had
been a very good associate of Sanders during the time that he was a member of the General
Assembly and also the state Senate. So at that time, the system actually permitted the
governor to name the Speaker of the House. Now, it was an elected position, but whoever
the governor wanted, that’s who got the job. George T. did a wonderful job as Speaker.
He had a very close association with Sanders. What is not known but is now known and is
also today, there’s a telephone connected from the governor’s desk to the Speaker’s
desk. And so many times, I have heard Sanders call up George T. and says, “George T., you’ve
got to vote. Call the vote. Call the question.” I mean, “You’ve got the vote. Call the question.”
And that, to me, I thought was right amusing, but that shows you how close the governor
is and how — at that time — how much authority he had in running the legislative body. SHORT:
Your floor leaders in the House were, as I recall, Arthur Bolton… BARNARD: Arthur Bolton.
SHORT: …Who later became Attorney General… BARNARD: Right. George Busbee. SHORT: …And
George Busbee, who later became governor. Now that, to me, is an outstanding team. And
you had in the Senate, Milton Carlton. BARNARD: That’s exactly right. Then we also had — what
I want to emphasize — Carl assembled probably the best people that he and the state government
— to run the various divisions. Hiram Undercofler, for example, was appointed the Tax Commissioner,
and I tell you he did a wonderful job. And then, of course, we turned the parks — the
Parks Department had a great leader. The Welfare Department had a great leader, but Carl was
very fortunate to be able to assemble some of the best, best staff that was possible.
And we all worked together. I mean, there was no enmity with one another. I mean, it
was a very cooperative effort, and I tell you what, we had outstanding people and they
were all friends to one another. Ernest Davis was the Budget Director. And these people
were true to their jobs. What I mean by that, if Hiram disagreed with the governor, you
know, he did it in a very polite, but positive way, and they discussed things together and
got things done, as well as the Budget Director. And so, consequently, it was a very cooperative
administration. I don’t see how it could have been better. And, of course, you know, it’s
been recognized. Recently, there have been articles published, and one publication took
the initiative to say that Sanders was the best governor of Georgia in 50 years, which
I thought was a real compliment. And it was true, I think. SHORT: He had a very successful administration.
Tell us, if you will, some of the highlights that you feel were accomplished during Sanders’
years. BARNARD: Governor Sanders took office with an agenda. He knew where the needs were
and he went after those needs. The first needs he had were in education. He was, indeed,
an education governor. And Jack Acree, which ran the Georgia Teachers Association or the
Georgia Board of Education but worked very closely, and Sanders followed their agenda
in supporting the schools. And he supported it from his support of the education financially,
as well as the caliber. I remember that we had a statewide convention of educators and
discussed the future of education in Georgia. That is elementary education. And then, of
course, in higher education, he was very close to the University of Georgia, as an alumnus.
But, at one time, Bob, there was $80 million worth of new buildings being constructed at
the University of Georgia campus. And this was in 1963. That was a lot of money at that
particular time. But he was determined to make the University of Georgia one of the
finest schools in America. And then, of course, during that period of time, a new chancellor
came in who had been with NASA, and then the University of Georgia was — President was
Fred Davison who came into the power. And in fact, also
Dooley became the coach at the University of Georgia and it was a great time.
But the other thing that, as I said, on Governor Sanders’ program, he established 26 junior
colleges during his term. All over the state, there were junior colleges. And this had to
improve education. It made education more available to rural areas. And then, of course,
many of those schools later on have become four-year schools, all of them are a part
of the university system. And that had to lay the groundwork for higher education in
Georgia. Another thing he did, which was a business
development program — he built 26 airports in rural areas during his administration,
which complemented the economy and industrial development and business development. It was
a very successful program. But those were exciting times to be associated with state
government and to be in the position that I held.
SHORT: Of course, at the time, Governor Sanders was not allowed to succeed himself, so he
left office, as you did, and he went into the practice of law and I suppose you went
back to banking? BARNARD: Right. And, of course, what was interesting
is that, of course, Lester Maddox — Governor Maddox — succeeded Sanders, and then I think
it was a compliment to Sanders because, in my opinion, he changed very few things as
far as the government was concerned. And, of course, he had a great foundation on which
to run the state, and he did a good job. I know that the man he appointed as the business
development man was Lou Truman, who had been a four-star general in the Army, but a lot
of the people that he worked with had been held over from the Sanders administration. SHORT: Now, moving forward to 1970 when Governor
Sanders decided that he would seek another term. You were his campaign manager. BARNARD: Well, I was one of the campaign managers.
My responsibility was to organize every county that we could with a chairman and a committee
to do the legwork. We did not build a campaign in Sumpter County, that was the home of Governor
Jimmy Carter. But every other county — Sanders ran on his record that he ran the
state efficiently and effectively, honestly, no scandal, and that he was running on that,
on his record, which was an excellent record. Nobody could refute that. Of course, it was
claimed though that he was too liberal, you know. And, of course, being liberal in those
days and times was far different than being a liberal now. But he wasn’t liberal. I mean,
I know he was not liberal as in the term that a liberal is identified. He was a business
governor. I mean, he had run the state effectively and had run the state honestly, and there
was no scandal in the state. And, of course, he had a lot of support.
Now, of course, those were the days where segregation had not really left. I mean, segregation
was very strong at that particular time. And Sanders had on his record that he kept the
University of Georgia open. You know, that was a problem. They were not going to let
any blacks in the University of Georgia, and Sanders said that was wrong. And so he fought
that and, of course, because of that, he was somewhat thought that he he was against segregation,
of course, which he was! And so, consequently, when his opponent ran as a — you know, from
south Georgia with the support of the governor of Alabama and with the support of Lester
Maddox and so many of the south Georgia politicians, Sanders was not successful. But he took his
defeat as a real statesman. I mean, he understood it, and we were all very sorry about it and
disappointed because we thought he should have been elected. SHORT: I’d like to read you a quote from political
columnist, Bill Shipp, who wrote at that time, and I’m quoting, “Mr. Sanders’ opponent ran
a campaign that was groundless and vicious.” Is that an unfair description?
BARNARD: In my opinion — and this is my opinion — I think that Shipp was right on target.
I mean, Sanders was misidentified as being a rich, rich Atlanta lawyer not interested
in the little man, and that was wrong. And then, too, there were a lot of misrepresentations.
I didn’t think that Governor — that President Carter — later President Carter — was fair
in identifying Sanders — that Sanders was not interested in the average citizen. He
was as interested in the average citizen as anybody. And, of course, he ran as a businessman
and with the experience. But he was misidentified, I think, by President Carter. And then, of
course, as the history is now — as history has now identified, President Carter was far
more liberal than Sanders ever was thought to be. SHORT: Governor Sanders was ahead in the polls,
if I remember, by a sizable margin before the campaign really got off to a good start
and, yet, he refused to refute any of the charges made by Senator Carter. Do you think
that was a mistake? BARNARD: Yes, I do. I think that, you know,
unfortunately, sometimes when you are successful in politics, as Carl was, you don’t have the
fire in the belly the second time that you run, and that’s a mistake, because you cannot
take anything for granted in politics. I mean, if you do, then you’re making a big mistake.
And I think that Carl, who is my best friend right to date, made a mistake in thinking
that the people would consider logically that he had done a good job and he should be elected
governor. But nothing, nothing stays open. I mean, you’ve got to have the fire in the
belly and you’ve got to fight every inch of the way. It’s hard work. SHORT: In 1976, your genes from your mother
came out, your friendship with Governor Sanders came out, and you ran for Congress. BARNARD: Yes, that was a focal day in my life
and, of course, it was the day that changed my whole life. I was 54 years old. Bob Stephens
had been in that office for 16 years, and he announced that he was not going to run.
I never gave it a thought about running. Even though I had served four years in the governor’s
office and ten years on the highway board and was considered somewhat prominent in the
10th District of Georgia, it never occurred to me to think about Congress. But, believe
it or not, on the day that Bob Stephens announced that he was not going to seek reelection,
I started getting calls from all over the district, principally from bankers who I knew
and who thought that I ought to run for Congress. And so, interesting enough, I called my wife
that morning and I said, “I’m getting some calls about running for Congress.” She said,
“Well, I think you ought to do it.” I got some encouragement. So then I called my best
friend, Sanders, and I said, “I’m thinking about running for Congress.” He said, “What
in the world do you want to do that for?” So, I didn’t get too much encouragement from
him, but it was a weekend on January 31st, and I got on the telephone that weekend. And,
Bob, believe it or not, I had a chairman — of people agreeing to work in my campaign and
be the chairman — in all 21 counties by Monday. And so, that gave me more encouragement. And,
of course, I did have the basis that I had ten years on the highway board, I knew every
chairman of the county commission in the 21 counties and they were all friendly counties,
and also I had been a banker and was known to them as a banker. And so I had a lot of
friends supporting me, and that afternoon’s newspaper, they called me and asked me was
I interested in running for Congress. I said, “Yes.” And that afternoon, there were 13 candidates
in the race. It finally dwindled down to seven. But it was a very interesting race and, of
course, the interesting thing about it was it came down to two individuals in the runoff:
me and my arch opponent, Mike Padgett. SHORT: The Cracker Party. BARNARD: The Cracker Party. And, of course,
it was interesting. But that was an interesting race. There were seven of us in the race and
we all fought — it was a hard-fought race — and Mike and I were in the runoff, and
then I won. I got the most votes in the primary. I got over 10,000 votes. And then, of course,
in the runoff, I won by — oh, something like 55 percent which was, you know, that’s a great
figure this day and time. SHORT: It sure is. BARNARD: But now let me say this. That really
changed my life, because for the next 16 years, I served in the Congress, I would have to
say it was the second best experience in my life. Working in the governor’s office was
certainly one, but this was a great experience. And you know? The reason I ran and I felt
comfortable about running is because I had been in the business world twenty five years.
I had been in state government for five years. I had been on the highway board ten years.
And I had all of this background that I felt that I could go to Congress and really make
a contribution, and I was fortunate that I did.
As I said, I was in Congress sixteen years, and I enjoyed every minute of it. And the
first committee that I was appointed to was the Banking Committee, and, of course, everybody
said, “Well, he’s the banking member of Congress.” I was on the Banking Committee. And, you know,
it takes a long time to be effective in Congress. You’ve got to stay there and you’ve got to
work hard and you’re considered a back-seater. Well, the first term — my second term — I
had the opportunity of changing a banking law which surprised everybody. But the American
Bankers Association came to me and asked me would I amend the Banking Bill. Well, you
know, being a second-year member of Congress and not even on a principal committee, that
was a pretty heavy request. But that was my first experience in Congress. I went to the
Banking Committee meeting for a markup of a banking bill, and I was sitting on the second
row because I hadn’t acquired a top row seat. And so, the banking people had come to me
and asked me if I would do this. And, you know, I said yes before I could say no. But
anyway, they called the meeting to order and the chairman of the Banking Committee was
from Michigan — a nice fellow, very nice — and I held up my hand and I said to him,
“Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment to Title I of the Banking Bill.” And when he did, Fernand
St. Germaine, who was Chairman of the Banking — of the Financial Institutions Committee,
chairman of that committee that controlled the bill says, “I object.” No, I asked him
could I amend the bill at the end of the markup rather than now. And, of course, St. Germaine
— the chairman of this bill — said he objected. So, then I said, “Well, I have an amendment
to Title I.” And the bill was named The Safe Banking Act. Now the connotation to that is
that banks are not safe. Right? I mean, that the majority of banks are not safe. And that
just appalled banks and certainly the American Bankers Association. And so when I asked permission
to amend the bill later and it was objected to, then I said, “I call for my amendment.”
So the Clerk said, “Amendment offered by Mr. Barnard to Title I of the Banking Bill that
this bill shall be known as the Financial Institutions Regulatory Act.” And the Chairman
of the committee called and he says, “He’s changing the title of the bill.” And it was
obvious that that’s what I was doing, you know. And he said, “I’d like to ask the gentleman,
would he please offer this amendment at the end of the day?” And I said, “I just offered
the gentleman from Rhode Island that opportunity and he turned it down, so I call for the — I
ask for time.” So I explained the purpose of the amendment.
Of course, it was so common sense that everybody joined in, to make a long story short. That
was my first achievement in 1977 was to get a major banking bill amended. So, I guess
from that point on, I was considered someone to deal with on the Banking Committee and
that grew over the 16 years that I was there. I was able to put together some coalitions
of Republicans and Democrats, and we got a lot of things done. Of course, we had to face
the debacle of the savings and loan associations in the 1980s.
But let me go back and tell an experience which is very interesting. In 1982, Bo Ginn,
a very prominent member of Congress, ran for governor of Georgia. And so, therefore, he
left the Congress and he left a seat on the Appropriations Committee. And the Georgia
delegation got together and they voted and they voted that they would like for me to
succeed Bo Ginn as Georgia’s member on the Appropriations Committee. So we thought it
was all said and done and so members of the delegation went to see Speaker O’Neill and
tell him that that’s what we wanted to do is that I would replace Bo Ginn. Well, the
Organization Committee always takes place the third or fourth day after Congress convenes,
and so this was in January of 1982 — no, ’83. ’83. And so, I came and they voted. I
came in second on the first ballot. There were four of us running. I came in second
on the second ballot. I came in second on the third ballot. And on the fourth ballot,
the Speaker changed his mind, and so some fellow from New York named Debouillet was
elected to the Appropriations Committee! Well, you know, I was a little bit, you know, dismayed,
you know, that I hadn’t been successful in that effort. But as it would happen, that
same month, the Chairman of the Consumer Finance and Monetary
Bill Committee of Government Ops. I was also on Government Ops — he died. So, that left
me the ranking member of the Commerce, Consumer and Monetary Affairs Subcommittee of Government
Ops. And so, by seniority, of course, I was automatically elected to this chairmanship
and so, therefore, I inherited four lawyers, two economists and four secretaries. I had
my own committee. And so, it was an interesting experience because
this was a very liberal committee. They handled most of the consumer affairs. They saw to
it that children’s beds were fireproof and so forth, and they were more of a consumerist
type thing. And I went to the committee and had a meeting with them and I said, “You know,
this committee has been run on a more liberal posture.” I said, “I’m a banker.” And I said,
“From this standpoint on, we’re going to be a management type thing.” And we did. We were.
So, we were the first committee to identify the savings and loan problem. And we identified
it and we had hearings on it and, of course, the hearings were participated by the Federal
Reserve and all of those. That was the jurisdiction of our committee. SHORT: Weren’t you also involved in implementing
some changes or reforms to the Internal Revenue Service? BARNARD: Our committee, which was an oversight
committee, had jurisdiction of the Treasury, the IRS, the Federal Reserve, the Consumer
Products Safety Commission and all of those type of commissions — anything involved in
commerce, consumer and monetary affairs. And so we did; we had hearings about misdeeds
going on in the IRS. And, unfortunately, it caused the resignation of the Director of
the IRS, which I thought was a real nice fellow. But he had lost control of the organization,
and we had some terrible things going on that we found out about and did research on out
in California. It was the Guess Jeans thing — and I won’t go into detail about that — but
it was revolutionary to be investigating the IRS.
We also found out that in most instances, the advice that you got from IRS telephone
operators was wrong. Absolutely wrong. They were giving out wrong information. It was
very poorly managed. And they had also spent something like 600 million bucks in trying
to reorganize the IRS and it wasn’t successful at all. So the IRS was one of our targets,
and I’m surprised that I wasn’t audited! BARNARD: But I escaped being audited. But,
yeah, we stayed on the IRS’s back very bad. A lot of things that came out of that particular
committee, as I said, was the savings and loan debacle, and then, also, we were able
to introduce changes in the Banking Regulatory Rule. All of this is very technical and, you
know, I won’t go into detail about it, but I was fortunate that, being a banker, I was
thrust into all of this — all of these details — very detailed — legislation. And so, consequently,
rightly or wrongly, I felt that I had really made a contribution as a congressman.
In 1986, I did something that everybody told me I was crazy. In 1932, a bill had been put
on — had been passed — called the Glass-Stiegel Bill. It was during the Depression and it
regulated banks very rigidly — would not let banks invest in stocks or bonds, and they
could only invest in government-backed bonds. And that particular law had been on the books
all of these years. And so, I sort of announced that, you know, I was going to initiate the
repeal of the Glass-Stiegel Bill. Well, everybody thought I was crazy. John Dingell from Michigan,
he told me, he said, “Doug, my daddy was in Congress in 1932 and,” he said, “he voted
for the Glass-Stiegel Bill, and I guarantee you it’ll never, never be changed.” And I
said, “Well, John, you know, a lot of things have changed since 1932, and it’s about time
that the competition for banks needs to be considered.”
So, I put together a coalition on the Banking Committee of Republicans and Democrats, and
we had meetings and we had all these institutions come before us and tell us about how uncompetitive
banks were in the country. So, I introduced a bill to repeal the Glass-Stiegel Bill, and
I reintroduced it in ’88 and I reintroduced it 1990. And then we had a hard-fought battle
about it, and Dingell, you know, fought me very hard on that bill. But this, to me, was
the most vital thing that needed to be done in the competition among financial institutions
and I was earnest that I was going to get something done if I could.
And so, consequently — and I won’t go into detail — but the bill finally passed in 1995.
And so I was asked to come to Washington at that time to be recognized. Well, I thought
there would be a whole bunch of congressmen who had been responsible for that passage
— to be there. Well, surprisingly enough, I was the only one to be recognized, and so
they gave me a little honor and a statue and so forth and I was named The Father of Modern
Day Banking. And that was a very exciting time for me.
In about 1992, when Billy Payne became Chairman of the Olympic Committee, they came to me
and, of course, in every Olympics there is a coin bill — several coin bills — and they
become collectors’ items. And it’s amazing the amount of money that the Olympics earn
because of the sale of these coin bills. So, Billy asked me if I would initiate the Coin
Bill, which I did, and we must’ve raised, oh, 32 million bucks from the sale of coin
bills. But the interesting thing about it was that, in 1992 — in the fall of 1992 — I
had bypass surgery, and I had already announced that I was leaving Congress at that time,
at the end of the session. But I had a bypass operation, and I was sitting at home recuperating,
of course, listening to CNN and watching all the activities, and they brought up the 1996
Olympic Coin Bill to be passed. And so, as I was sitting there, the ranking Republican
on my committee that passed the bill asked for time on the floor and he got up and he
offered an amendment. And he changed — and he offered the amendment — and, of course,
as the clerk read the amendment, it said that, “The title of this bill will be known as The
Doug Barnard Olympic Coin Bill.” And, of course, you know, now that’s really an honor to have
a bill named after you, you know? And I was so shocked, I liked to have had another heart
attack. SHORT: Oh, my goodness. BARNARD: Well, that’s generally some of the
things, but some of the things, Bob, I’m sure I’ve left out that you would be interested
in. SHORT: I’m interested in this. Were you a
Boll Weevil? BARNARD: A Boll Weevil? Well, actually, I
won’t say that I was a Boll Weevil. I’ll say that I was a member of a group of eight of
us. I was a member of a group of eight who came together as southern Democrats — all
southern Democrats — and said, “We just cannot continue to support, you know, the leadership.”
The leadership being — “And that unless the leadership changes its position and becomes
more middle of the road or more conservative, you know, we’re not gonna be able to vote
with them.” And so we organized what was called the Conservative Democratic Forum, and the
reason we called it the forum was because nobody was going to be required to vote. But
we were going to get together as a Conservative Democratic Forum to discuss bills and then
leave it up to the members how you want to vote.
Well, it went from eight to about thirty two. And then — that was in about 1980. Well,
Reagan then becomes elected and so, consequently, there was only a 50-member difference between
Democrats and Republicans. 26 votes could change everything. Well, we were about a 32-member
group, up from 32 to 40, and so the press got hold of that. And so, they named us — because
we were from the South, you know, and we were conservative — they named us the Boll Weevils.
But after, we were so successful, that I was proud to be one of the organizers of the Boll
Weevil group in Congress. And we had a significant role to play.
Reagan, as you know, was elected in 1980 and took office in ’81. And, of course, the first
bill he introduced was a Tax Incentive Bill, which was to reduce taxes in order to be an
incentive to the economy. The economy was floundering. Carter had just gotten out of
office, you know, and inflation was 20 percent and interest rates were about 15-16 percent,
and we really needed a stimulus. So, consequently, two bills were introduced in Congress: a Reagan
bill of tax relief and a Democratic one introduced by Speaker O’Neill. And, of course, the Boll
Weevils were highly courted by Reagan and also by O’Neill. And most of the Georgia delegation
were members of the Boll Weevil. I mean, they were all — all nine members — there were
nine Democrats on the Georgia delegation at that time, one Republican, and that was Gingrich.
But all of us, we were called to the Speaker’s office one day — the whole delegation — and
the Speaker said to us — says, “The rumor is that most of you, if not all of you, are
going to vote for the Reagan bill.” And he says, “That would be bad for the leadership
if y’all did that, and we would like very much that if you would, you know, change your
mind.” Well, one, the meeting was actually organized by Wyche Fowler, who’s a friend
— a very close friend of the Speaker, and Rostenkowski, who was chairman of the Ways
and Means Committee. And so, they were going to get us to change our vote and so one after
the other spoke up. Normally, we did it by seniority. Bo Ginn spoke up and said that
his mail was 90 to 1 to vote with Reagan. He was just going to have to vote his constituency.
And it went on around the room and everybody spoke. And I was the last one to speak and
so I said, “Well, Mr. Speaker, I think everybody has pretty well explained how they’re going
to vote and why they’re going to vote. But I’m going to tell you, you couldn’t get elected
to Congress from my district in a hundred years.” And I said, “Mr. Speaker, I couldn’t
get elected to Congress from your district in a thousand years.” He laughed and he said,
“Well, that’s what I’ve always said. You have to vote your constituency.” And I says — so
that was really interesting, but that shows you the power of the Boll Weevils. As I said,
it only took 26 votes — 26 Democratic votes — to change, and Reagan was very successful
during his first term because he was able to get these 26 or 30 or 32 votes, which was
the Boll Weevil vote. So I think history’s going to show that Boll Weevils contributed
much to the success of Reagan’s election — or Reagan’s administration. SHORT: During the eight terms you were in
Congress, you served with three Speakers. You mentioned Tip O’Neill. There was also
Jim Wright of Texas and then Tom Foley, who I believe was from Washington. BARNARD: Right. SHORT: Tell us a little bit about those gentlemen. BARNARD: Well, Tip O’Neill, of course, had
been in Congress many, many years. And my first year, in 1977, he was a candidate for
the Speaker’s. Albert Joy was the Speaker at that time from Oklahoma — Carl Albert. SHORT: Oh, yeah. BARNARD: And he left Congress and so the seat
was open, and there was a lot of politicking going on for the Speaker’s and Tip O’Neill
was elected. He was the most popular and he was elected Speaker in 1977 and he was a good
Speaker. I had an unusual experience with that. In 1977, I was sworn in on January 3rd,
and when we finally came together at the first session of ’77, we were all on the floor,
you know, mixing and mingling. Most of us — a lot of us — were new members and we
were introducing ourselves and becoming familiar with the other group, and I was in the well
of the House and I was one of — there were 60 new members elected in 1976, including
Democrats and Republicans. But on the occasion of my first session in Congress, I was in
the well of the House and, all of a sudden, I felt somebody tapping me on the shoulder.
And I looked around and it was the Parliamentarian, and he says, “Mr. Barnard, the Speaker would
like for you to preside.” It scared me to death. BARNARD: I had never been in a legislative
group. I’d never, you know, been in the General Assembly or anything like that. I had watched
the presiding officer; I watched him all through December when we were organizing, you know,
and I sort of caught the hint of how it was done. But I was in a dilemma. I couldn’t say
no, and so I said, “Sure.” And I knew I was going to be helped by parliamentarians on
each side of the podium. So, I went up and I presided the first day that I was in Congress.
And I presided for about two hours and, of course, I got help from both parliamentarians
telling me, you know, to hit the gavel and this, that and the other, you know, and to
look at the camera and all this kind of stuff. Well, I was — you’re talking, I was absolutely
fatigued after that two hours was over. And I went back to my office, you know, I couldn’t
just really — just couldn’t — I tell you, can you imagine this happening to me on my
first day of Congress? And I get back to my office and guess what? There was the Athens,
Georgia Chamber of Commerce in my office and they said, “You know? This is amazing. You
are the Speaker Pro Tem the first day of Congress!” So, that was a real interesting experience.
But, for some reason, the Parliamentarian took to me and, after 16 years, I probably
presided the second most times of any member of Congress. That’s something that most people
don’t know about, but it was a lot of fun and and it was a great experience. And, as
a result, you know, as presiding as much as I did, I became well-known throughout the
House and I even get comments on it today. SHORT: Jim Wright?
BARNARD: Jim Wright. Jim Wright was a great fellow. He was elected majority leader the
first session I was there, and we became great friends. And Bo Ginn was the one that was
pushing his election and, of course, I voted with Bo. And so, Jim Wright and I became very,
very close friends, and I was very sad when he resigned from — he appointed me to the
Air Force Board of Visitors in 19 — I guess it was 1986. And he was my friend. I really
considered him my friend. And then, of course, he became the target of Newt Gingrich on an
ethics situation and finally had to resign from Congress. But I felt like he was the
— well, he had been in Congress 35 years. He was the most knowledgeable man I knew.
A great Speaker. He came to my district several times to speak on my behalf during election
times. And he, as I said, was a good friend of mine. I thought he was an excellent Speaker.
His violation of the Ethics Code was the fact that he would not accept honorariums, but
he had written a book and what he did was he would sell these books wherever he spoke.
And, of course, they — the Ethics Committee — thought that that was unethical and violated
the Rules of the House and so forth, and it probably did, so he had to resign.
Interesting enough, he also had a problem during the savings and loan failures. The
savings and loan in California thought that the administrator or the chairman of the Home
Loan Bank Board was being too hard on them, although he wasn’t, and he invited me to come
out and speak to the savings and loan industry about — really wanted me to speak to the
regulator about his treatment of savings and loans in Texas. And it was in November and
so close to an election that I just told him that I couldn’t do it. But he didn’t hold
that against me, and, after he left office — well, after he resigned — I got a call
one day from his office and I was speaking to a group of realtors in Los Angeles, and
he called me up and said, “Would you like to ride?” — no, it’s Las Vegas. He said,
“Would you like to ride with me to Las Vegas rather than go commercial?” And I said, “Oh,
I sure would.” So, somebody had furnished him a plane to go to Las Vegas and so I rode
with him out there, and he took me to the Leonard-Hines fight that night. He was a boxer,
by the way, and we were great friends. Now, Foley – Speaker Foley and I, we were
— I know this is being repetitive — but we were also good friends, and he relied on
me because — to handle a lot of legislation because the chairman of the Banking Committee
was Henry Gonzalez. Henry had been in Congress a long time. Housing was his forte. He knew
nothing about banking. And we had some very sensitive banking legislation that came before
the House at that time, the re-authorization of the FDIC and other things like that, and
so Foley would get me to handle the bills on the floor. And so he had — I had great
respect for him and he had great respect for me and asked me to do a lot of things that
normally a member of my standing, which was still while I was high in seniority — I was
not, you know, chairman of the Banking Committee or anything like that — but I carried a lot
his business on the floor. SHORT: Well, over the years of your being
in Congress, the growth of the Republican Party and the redistricting in the state legislature
got for you some pretty serious Republican opposition. How do you account for the growth
of the Republican Party in Georgia? BARNARD: I think it was simply because the
national party — the national Democratic Party — would never move to the middle. I
had an opportunity to tell the Speaker one time, I said, “Mr. Speaker,” I said, “If we,
the leadership — the Democratic leadership — don’t start moving fiscally — especially
fiscally, spending and taxing — if we don’t move more to the center,” I said, “We’re going
to be the minority party one of these days.” I told the Speaker that. And, in 1990, we
were sitting around the table one day — the Georgia delegation — and Ed Jenkins looked
up and he says, “Fellows, I’m going to tell you something.” He said, “In a very, very
few years, we’re going to have eight Republicans and three Democrats from the State of Georgia.”
And we said, “Ed, you’re exactly right.” He predicted it. But what happened is Democrats
did not catch the wind of change. The change was coming about because people
were becoming more conservative, especially the South. And so, consequently, the Republicans
took the helm. And so, consequently, they convinced the people that the Democratic Party
was heading in the wrong direction and that reforms should be done. And, of course, Newt
Gingrich was one of the leaders of the Republican Party in doing that. Not only in the state
of Georgia but nationwide. And so, consequently, I’ll be honest, the way — I left Congress
because of the 1990 campaign. The 1990 campaign, I spent nearly $700,000.
I had never spent that much money in any campaign before that. But I could see the winds of
change coming, and I could see also my opponent in 1990 was not some outstanding lawyer or
outstanding Republican; he was a former minister who was a family counselor, but saw the opportunity
to run and get the support of the Republican Party and their money and so he ran a very
— he ran a good race. And the fact is I did get 62 or 3 percent of the vote, but he really
— he really campaigned hard against me. And he had a lot of help. A lot of the Republican
— the national Republicans sent a team of people in here to manage his campaign and
to run his campaign. So it was logical for me to see, you know? I was 70 years old and
I was not going to fight this — fight the establishment anymore as far as this was concerned,
because most candidates — most Congressmen, they actually raise their — they raise their
own money from lobbyists and there, and very little was raised locally. And so, consequently,
I could just see that, you know, I was beating a horse that was just about to die. And so,
consequently, I chose not to run in 1992. But the experience that I had in 1990 was
terrible. But it was all because the Democrats — the Democrats dug their own burial ground,
because what they did is they did not change! The country was changing. The country was
becoming more conservative and they were expecting more results from Congress and Congress wasn’t
giving it to them. So, as you saw in 1994, in spite of having a Democratic President,
Congress changed and they took over the control of Congress.
SHORT: Many disenchanted Democrats in Georgia feel that the state party is too urban and
too dependent on minority and labor support. Do you think that’s true? BARNARD: Yes. And I think, of course, until
the Democratic Party — until the Democratic Party tries to broaden their base and become
more diversified and become more representative of rural — rural Georgia as well as the other
conservatives, I think that the future is not — is still very dim. SHORT: Did you ever consider switching parties? BARNARD: Well, do you remember Lee Atwater? SHORT: Very well. BARNARD: Okay. He was a guru of the Republican
Party and he visited me many, many, many times before he died — to change parties, and I
just didn’t feel like — I was with the Republicans in spirit and in support, but I just didn’t
feel that that was the thing to do, and so I didn’t. But the thing that also disencouraged
me from changing parties was I was 70 years old and, consequently, you know, I wasn’t
going to be there the rest of my life and so I just didn’t think it was the thing to
do. I don’t criticize those who did change parties. I mean, I think they needed to do
what they did. But it was easy to see that the Democrats were going to have a hard time
getting elected from that point on. Now I had Don Johnson, a fine young man, from — succeeded
me, but he was defeated in ’94 by Dr. Norwood. And it was an easy race for Norwood. SHORT: Well, since the Republicans took control
of the Georgia government — that was, I think in what? — 2004 — their majority has steadily
increased. What do you think of the Democrats’ chances of regaining power in the state House? BARNARD: Well, you know, it’s unfortunate,
but I think the national Democratic Party has a lot of influence on Georgia voters.
They see local Democrats as part of the national party and as long as they do that, it’s going
to be very hard for a Democrat to get elected to public office. I’ve seen some great Democrats
run and they have been soundly defeated, and they were the best candidate, much better
— much the best candidate. But they have not been able to create that old base that
they had many years ago, and, you know, the sad part about it is it’s not Georgia Democrats
that have done that; it’s just the reputation of the Democratic Party, because it has become
the party of labor and African-Americans, and that’s where the leadership is coming
from, and so, consequently, the Republicans have really taken control.
Now what’s happened on the national scene though, Bob, is that in 1994, Gingrich came
up with Contract for America. That was a great idea. And they all adopted it, America adopted
it and so forth. Of course, they’ve left that base — the Republicans have — and the Republicans
are going to have a more difficult time than they’ve had since 1994. I predict! And, of
course, they have a lot of arguments among one another. Like the last, this governor’s
— the last governor — and the House of Representatives is concerned. It’s a very unusual thing that
there is that much argument within the party. That might hurt the party to some degree,
but they’re going to still be able to carry the vote. SHORT: Getting back to Doug Barnard. If you
had your career to do over, what would you do differently? BARNARD: Well, you know, Bob, if I had my
career to go over again and the results that I have had, I don’t think I would change a
thing. Now, I’ve had some regrets in the past. I have often wondered after I left law school,
would I have made a good lawyer? And, rather than going into the banking business, would
I have made a good lawyer? And a lot of my friends say, “Yeah, you would’ve made a good
lawyer, because, you know, you have the attributes — the attributes of speaking and things like
that.” That’s one — that’s one regret. I wonder about it, but it doesn’t prey on my
mind. But, other than that, I have been one of the most fortunate people that I know.
I have had friends in high places who have encouraged me: Carl Sanders, of course, my
best friend, and J. B. Fuqua and so forth, and a lot of the people in the banking business
who, when I left banking, were very supportive of me in my public — public life. So, you
know, I’ll tell you it’s hard for me to say that I have any regrets. No, I’ve had no regrets,
but I don’t — you know, there’s not a thing that I would change.
I enjoyed banking for 24 years. And I left out the fact that I worked for the Federal
Reserve Bank for a couple of years, and it gave me a lot of foundation in banking, which
I enjoyed. But the four years I experienced in the governor’s office, absolutely one of
the most enjoyable and educational experiences of my life. And on the Highway Board to see
— to get things done, to watch things done on the Highway Board. And then, of course,
to be fortunate to have been a Representative in the United States House of Representatives.
Who could ask for anything more? SHORT: Since you’ve retired, you’ve devoted
yourself to serving the community here in Augusta. Tell us about some of the work you’ve
done, including your Wounded Warrior efforts. BARNARD: Well, Bob, when I came back to Augusta
in ’93, I felt good, my health was good, and I just said to myself, “I’m going to — I’m
going to try to return something to the community that gave me this great opportunity of the
last 16 years.” And so I started to become — I got on — I became a member of the University
Health Care Foundation, which runs the University Hospital. Through the Board of Regents, I
was appointed to the MCG Health, Inc. Board of Directors, the originating board where
we started the 501(c)(3) corporation at the Talmadge Hospital and turned a deficit of
$26 million to an earnings of $23 million in one year.
And then a couple of friends of mine — well, we had lunch one day and we got to talking
about a community foundation. I did not know what a community foundation was, but we didn’t
have one in Augusta. We had a United Fund, of course, but we didn’t have a community
foundation. So we got to talking about it and we decided that we would seek a community
foundation charter, and we did. I was elected Chairman of the group and my duty was to build
a Board of Directors. And the other member was Charles Bellarmine. He had been head of
the United Fund, so he knew how to handle fund-raising. And then the third member of
our group was a fellow named Randy Cole, who now lives in Elberton, Georgia, and he was
the Fund-Raising Chairman of the University Health Care Foundation. It was his vision
that said, “We need a community foundation.” So I got involved with that and I was very
fortunate. Everybody I went to see and explained the function of a community foundation, what
the benefits were to a community as well as to an individual who gave to that money, accepted
membership on the board. And I had a — and I’m so proud that I — that board was considered
the finest board in Augusta, Georgia. We started off with $126,000 and grew small. Next thing
we know, we got a $50,000 contribution from the Georgia Power Company because of one of
our directors. And because of this same director, we gained an entree to the Augusta National
Golf Course, which run, as you know, the Masters Tournament.
In 1997, we did a little work and we convinced them that we could be their — we could be
their arm of distributing funds as they needed in the community. They did not have — there
were not strong givers in our community — and so they gave us an opportunity to see what
we could do, and, secretly, they gave us a million and a half dollars and we managed
that fund. We managed it by, you know, giving it away in a very businesslike way. We required
audits. We required the fact that all of the money did not go to administration and things
like that. So they were so pleased with how we had done that, they have given us $1,250,000
every year since 1997. And some of them — and we have also had some people in Augusta who
have sold their businesses and saw the need to put the money in the community foundation.
So, what started in 1995 at $126,000 is now over $35 million. Now that’s — I’ve stayed
on that Board until just recently, and then I became Chairman Emeritus. But that’s one
of the things I’ve done. I got involved in this Wounded Warrior thing
and because of the fact that we have in Augusta the best facilities that are not being used
to help wounded warriors. We have Eisenhower Hospital. We have the VA. And we have the
Medical College. We have those three institutions which cooperate with one another. Those are
the best assets in the world that most communities wish they had. But we have facilities in Augusta
that are not being used by the Army or the VA, and that’s what we are trying to pursue
is to get Augusta identified, you know, as a resource for the wounded warriors. We can
do more for them — and I’m not — I’m not elaborating too much — we can do more in
Augusta than they can at Walter Reed, and that’s why I’m so interested in that. SHORT: Finally, Mr. Congressman, what has
been your proudest moment in politics? BARNARD: My proudest moment in politics? Well,
you know, I guess the proudest moment would be — there is in Washington an organization
called the Financial Roundtable. It’s composed of all of the big banks in the country. It’s
composed of all the big banking associations in Augusta. And, in 1999, they recommend — they
recognized me — and just me — as the Founder of Modern Day Banking in America. And that,
to me, was a tremendous honor and, at that particular meeting, Jim Blanchard of Columbus,
Georgia was who introduced me at the meeting and George Will was a principal speaker and
it was attended by Alan Greenspan and all of that crowd. But that was a proud moment.
I guess one of the most humbling experiences I had, though, was during the ’80s when I
was promoting this particular bill, repeal of Glass-Steagall, that I had the support
of all of the Federal Reserve, all of the big banks of America, and they were looking
for me to get this job done. And to be recognized by that group was probably the most significant
thing that’s ever happened in my life. It’s a legacy, you know, that will remain forever
and ever and ever, and, of course, there’s been some significant changes because of that
— some good, some bad — but the good way outweigh the bad. And now for the first time
— up until now — there’s fair competition among all financial institutions. In other
words, banks can compete in the marketplace along with stockbrokers and investment houses.
We have fair competition and fair regulation and, to me, that was a tremendous accomplishment
to get all of that working together. SHORT: What’s been your biggest disappointment? BARNARD: Well, my biggest disappointment was
in 1990 when I ran for Congress. The fact that I had been a good congressman, the fact
that I had been a conservative congressman, the fact that there was no complaints in my
voting record, that everything pointed to, you know, that I had been a success in Congress.
And then to come so close to getting beat, that was a very, very definite disappointment. SHORT: Finally, how would you like to be remembered? BARNARD: Well, I would like to be remembered
as someone who had a public responsibility, who did a good job, was honest, fair, and
did the best he could in the job that he was elected to. SHORT: I want to thank you personally, Congressman
Barnard, on behalf of not only Young Harris College, but also the Russell Library at the
University of Georgia for being our guest today.
BARNARD: Well, I want to thank you for honoring me to do this. I am just so honored that you
selected me. I certainly don’t consider myself in the category of my friend, Governor Sanders,
or Zell Miller or Sam Nunn, but they are all close friends of mine I’ll say. But it’s been
a real honor to have been interviewed today, and I have so much respect for the Russell
Library. They have all of my papers in their archives. And I think this is a wonderful
thing that you’re doing. It will give not only students, but it will give — it will
be able to give people the advantage of history and what were some of the personal evaluations
of people in their role in government. So thank you very much. SHORT: Thank you. [END]

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