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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.

Mitch Seabaugh

Mitch Seabaugh was born in Missouri in 1960. He came to Georgia as a CPA for International Paper Co. and entered politics with the Coweta County Republican Party. He was the county chair for Bob Dole's presidential bid in 1996. In 2000, Seabaugh won the state senate seat for the 28th District, and in 2002 was elected Senate whip. He currently serves on the Senate Finance committee.; Interviewed by Dr. Mel Steely on January 17, 2007 at Seabaugh's office at the state capitol.; Seabaugh briefly discusses his childhood in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, noting how active he had been in sports until an injury rendered him unable to play football. He then talks about the various jobs that led him to live in a number of different states, such as Texas and Arkansas, and eventually led him to Sharpsburg, Georgia with his wife in 1993. He worked for some time as a plant controller for International Paper. In 1996, he unsuccessfully ran for an open senate seat in Georgia. Seabaugh eventually became a certified public accountant, but eventually left, as the job was not compatible with the schedule of the legislation. He discusses for a moment the matter of healthcare and his involvement with the care provided by the International Paper Company, then moving onto discuss the state Republican Party structure. He discusses the influence his father and his faith had on his decision to run for public office and his want to encourage public service in younger generations. Seabaugh digresses into a story of an influential friend of his father's who had instilled a sense of optimism into Seabaugh's own philosophy on life. He had resisted the thought of running for office again, but after much deliberation and advice from friends, he decided to do so - ultimately winning the race. Seabaugh describes his first term in the legislation, speaking of some of the issues that arose such as the Georgia state flag, reapportionment and the teen driving age, noting that a consistency in principles was essential. Seabaugh describes becoming the first Republican Majority Whip in Georgia in his second term and describes his interactions with politicians Eric Johnson and Governor Roy Barnes. He describes other issues that arose in the legislation that he was involved in, such as the "Call Before You Dig" bill, the Alan Jackson Highway, insurance premiums, and access to cable and internet service. Seabaugh ends by emphasizing the importance of service to the community and state with an anecdote of Alexander the Great and "not knowing how to retreat."