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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.

Ed Jenkins

Ed Jenkins was born on January 4, 1933 in Young Harris, Georgia, attended local schools, and earned his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1959. He was a member of the United States Coast Guard from 1952-1955, and worked as an administrative assistant to Congressman Phillip M. Landrum from 1959-1962. Jenkins was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia in 1962 and served two years after which he went into private practice. In 1976 he was elected as a Democrat to represent the 9th district as U.S. Representative, where he remained until 1993. In 1989 Jenkins challenged Richard Gephardt for the position of majority leader, but lost. After leaving Congress, he returned to private practice and currently resides in Jasper, Georgia.; Interviewed by Mel Steely on July 27, 1998 at the Board of Regents office in Atlanta.; This interview begins with a discussion on Jenkins' varied relationships with all three presidents he worked with: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. He mentions fellow staff members as well as committees he sat on and the issues he dealt with. Jenkins also answers questions regarding his opinions on Speakers of the House. Jenkins answers questions about the many American milestone events that occurred during his tenure as a U.S. Representative, which included conflict in the Soviet Union and the congressional focus on Central America. He calls some of the issues and their corresponding votes "volatile," especially the Panama Canal and the 1991 "Tax Fight." The majority of the issues brought up are discussed in light of whether Jenkins voted with or against the president. Jenkins also talks about how representing the mountains helped him feel more strongly for the 1986 Preservation Bill. The conversation switches over to Newt Gingrich for awhile, as well as his relationship with Phil Landrum. The second disc of the interview begins with questions about Jenkins' interactions with Bill Clinton and Dick Gephardt. Jenkins closes the interview by talking about his vision for the future of the two parties in Georgia.