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Georgia Political Papers and Oral History Program

The Georgia Political Papers and Oral History Program is comprised of over 3,000 linear feet of archival collections, along with an extensive number of oral history interviews, that document the unique political culture of the state of Georgia.

George (Buddy) Darden

George (Buddy) Darden was born in Hancock County, Georgia on November 22, 1943. He earned his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1967, and after a short time in private practice joined the Cobb County District Attorney's Office, where he served from 1968-1976. Darden was elected to represent Cobb County as a Democrat in the state legislature from 1980-1983. He then moved up to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving the 7th District from 1983-1995. His personal popularity as well as seats on powerful committees helped hold back a Republican tide sweeping the county, but he was finally defeated in 1994. Darden ran again in 2002, but lost. Since leaving Congress, he has served on numerous boards and committees including the Board of Trustees of LaGrange College. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1996, 2000, and 2004. Darden currently resides in Marietta, Georgia.; Interviewed by Mel Steely and Ted Fitz-Simons on January 18, 1990 at Darden's office in Marietta.; The interview begins with a discussion of Darden's childhood and family heritage in Hancock County. He talks about growing up on a farm and his father's life during World War II, as well as his experiences growing up in a farming community. They also spend a great deal of time talking about his children and their education, which shifts into a conversation about the history of education in Georgia. The discussion then moves towards Darden's time in the legislature and congress. He says his only criticism of predecessor Russell would be that he wants to be more hands-on in his Congressional term. Darden talks about his growing interest in politics while he was in law school at the University of Georgia, and also his busy time at North Georgia College. Darden goes into detail about his campaigns, both winning and losing. He says that it is never right for a candidate to blame someone else when they lose a race; that they must accept responsibility for themselves. He also states his support for certain politicians (like Nixon and Sanders) and his opposition to others (Kennedy and Carter). The interview then turns to running for office, starting with the 1972 & 1976 campaigns. Darden also answers questions about his law career, and says that he has stronger philosophical convictions than religious convictions. He also states that it was nice to have periods of time where he could enjoy private life as opposed to be in the public eye. Darden concludes the interview by discussing Thomas Murphy as Speaker of the House and Tom Purdue as a member of Joe Frank Harris' staff.