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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.

Bill Heath

Bill Heath was born in 1959 in Columbus, Georgia. The Republican unseated the legendary House Speaker Tom Murphy in 2002. In 2005, Heath was elected to represent the 31st Senate District where he serves on the Agriculture and Appropriations Committee. Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed Heath floor leader in 2006.

Interviewed by Dr. Mel Steely on December 8, 2004 at an unknown location.
Heath begins talking about is early life growing up in west Georgia. He talks about his involvement in school and extracurricular activities. After high school, Heath decided to pursue school at Southern Polytech in engineering, began his own business and married. As he became active in politics, through his support of other politicians, he concluded that he wanted a politician that he felt better represented west Georgia than he believed Speaker Murphy had been. After trying to find a politician who could usurp Murphy, he decided to run for the House seat himself on the Republican ticket. Heath goes into depth about the two different campaigns he ran against Murphy, the second of which was successful. He talks about their differing ideologies, his own conservatism and his Christian faith. He speaks of some of the issues that arose while he was in office, including tax increases, water rights and a particular instance in which he debated an agriculture bill with Representative Ann Purcell. Heath then speaks about his decision to run for Congress after having served his term in the House of Representatives. He speaks of his campaign, the primary race, and the run-off between he and several other Republicans. Heath ends by discussing his time serving as Congressman and discussing such issues as Georgia's struggle for water with Alabama.