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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.

Mack Francis Mattingly

Mack Francis Mattingly (1931 - ) served one term in the U.S. Senate from 1980-1986. The Republican senator's issues were trade and taxes, and he lost re-election in 1986. Mattingly was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Seychelles by President Bush in 1992. He made another unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2000. He now resides on St. Simons Island, Georgia.; Interviewed by Dr. Mel Steely and Professor Ted Fitzsimmons of the History Department on February 16, 1987 (probably at the UWG-TV studio).; Mattingly begins by speaking about his childhood and youth in Anderson, Indiana, and attending Indiana University. He speaks briefly about his father's career as an entrepreneur, citing it as a model of the 'American Dream,' and his mother, who was a 'housewife'. He discusses his parent's Methodist faith and his conversion to the Episcopal Church, which his wife attended. He reflects on the impact his family had upon him, especially his father's work ethic and speaks about early recollections of the Great Depression and WWII. He recalls his time in school in Indiana and his decision to join the Air Force and complete his schooling at Indiana University and his aspirations to model himself after his father and commenting on passing along a similar work ethic into his own children. Mattingly speaks of his involvement in the U.S. Air Force and notes how the service eventually brought him to Savannah, Georgia. He talks about his twenty years of work at IBM, a subsequent five-year stint running his own business, and his belief in a "strong free enterprise". He talks about his venture into politics and how presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, inspired him to become politically active. Serving as chairperson to the Georgia Republican Party in 1975, he notes that a transition was beginning to occur in which the Republican Party was taken away from the liberals, and conservatism took hold. Mattingly discusses his campaigning and fundraising techniques, compares the campaigns of the 1980s to those of the 1960s; he talks about the time he spent supporting other candidates in the Republican Party and his campaign for Georgia State Chairman. Mattingly speaks about his decision to run for Congress in 1980 against Herman Talmadge and gives details about the campaign. He then discusses the Senate, noting the committee system, its chairmanships, and other details of the time he spent in the Senate, including his relationships with Sam Nunn, Robert Byrd, Ronald Reagan and several other politicians, as well as with the press. Important issues to Mattingly discussed are environmental awareness, limited federal government, limited terms and many others, but notes that he a generalist, rather than focusing on singular issues. Mattingly then discusses his campaign for reelection to Senate in 1986, which was lost to Wyche Fowler, and how the campaign differed from his first, expressing the advantages and disadvantages of both. He discusses his opinion on several issues, noting the qualms he has with the 'liberal agenda' and the hopes he has for the Republican Party in Georgia. Mattingly goes on to about his opinions on the state of the global economy, foreign policy and trade, ending on the note that he will continue to be deeply involved in politics and may one day return to the senate.