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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.

John James "Jack" Flynt Jr.

John James "Jack" Flynt Jr. (1914-2007) was elected the 4th District Congressman in 1954 and didn't retire from politics until 1979. He twice beat newcomer Newt Gingrich in the 1970s for his congressional seat. Flynt chaired the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct while a congressman.; Flynt makes a public appearance, along with a panel of academics led by Dr. Donald R. Wagner, at an event hosted by the Georgia Political Heritage Program and titled "Congress Then and Congress Now," on May 5, 1987 at West Georgia College.; Dr. Townsend, president of West Georgia College, introduces the Georgia Political Heritage Program and the host of the event, Dr. Donald R. Wagner. Wagner then introduces Flynt, providing biographical information for the event's audience. Flynt begins his talk by expressing his affection for the Carrollton community and for the time he spent in Congress. He discusses the trade balance and the need for trade legislation, reflecting on struggles over the Reciprocal Trade Act and the Natural Gas Act that had arisen in 1955, Flynt's first year in Congress. Next, he speaks about a Public Works Appropriations Bill addressed under the Eisenhower administration in 1958 and the proposed increase of the number of people in the Rules Committee. In all of these instances, Flynt had opposed the Speaker of the House due to his loyalty for his constituents. In summation, Flynt comments on the U.S. budget and the role he believes that Congress must take, emphasizing the need to reduce deficit spending and briefly discusses the Iran-Contra Crisis. After a brief pause in the video, the next segment includes a discussion with Flynt and a panel of West Georgia College professors. The panel begins by asking Flynt about his relationships with the six presidents that he had served under; Flynt responds by commenting on the presidents' administrations, their personalities, and reflecting on his relationship with each. In summation he noted that he had been closest to President Kennedy, he thought Eisenhower to be the most presidential, he perceived Johnson to be most effective and he considered Nixon a tragedy. The next inquiry directed at Flynt questions whether it would be more advantageous for a president to come in after already having worked in Washington D.C. or to be an 'outsider'. Flynt replies "A mixture of both," reflecting on a number of presidents and their inclusion in the Washington political community. Flynt is next asked what he believes has happened, with regard to the Democratic Party and with Congress, to cause a perceived shift from consensus politics to 'single-issue' politics. Flynt was then asked to reflect on the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 (which included Equal Opportunity Employment, the Fair Housing Act, etc.), which he believes to be the harshest legislation imposed on a region of the U.S. since the reconstruction acts following the Civil War. Flynt is asked to rate the current delegation in comparison to earlier delegations, then about Peter Banks and what might have happened had he won the election years prior. Both Flynt and Dr. Wagner make closing acknowledgements and thank the participants and the audience.