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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.

Richard Belmont Ray

Richard Belmont Ray (1927-1999) was known as a conservative, pro-life Democrat who advocated for veterans and military bases. He represented Georgia's 3rd Congressional District where he served for ten years 1982-1992. After losing his seat to Republican Mac Collins, Ray started a consulting firm in Alexandria, Virginia. He died of complications from heart surgery.; Interviewed by Dr. Mel Steely and Professor Ted Fitz-Simons on August 16, 1989 at an unknown location.; The conversation begins by talking about Ray's decision to run for the seat that Senator Sam Nunn had previously occupied, rather than continuing his consulting business. Ray speaks at length about his campaign, the minority vote, and the people who had helped to assist and endorse him. He talks about his transition into politics after he won the seat, noting that his work for Nunn had helped to ease him into the position. The discussion turns to his changing relationship with Nunn and about his early experiences as a Congressman. Ray next speaks about the services he and his staff provide to his constituents, providing particular anecdotes. The conversation moves into a discussion of state or federally funded institutions in comparison to private enterprise, especially with regard to the medical industry. Issues such as PACs, lobbying groups, ethics and the like are discussed, and how things may have changed since Ray had first entered office. Topics such as Jimmy Carter, Ray's campaigns, the healthcare delivery system, the defense budget, and voter registration are discussed. [Audio for tapes 3 and 4 are unavailable]