James.qxp Sept Oct 2018 web (2) - Page 55

respected by the other senators. Bobby Rowan from
Enigma is a state senator. There’s Julian Webb from
Donalsonville, Harry Jackson and Floyd Hudgins from
Columbus, and there is a senator who will become
well-known all over Georgia— Roscoe Emory Dean, Jr.
from Jesup. Dean is colorful, but not particularly influential. Culver Kidd from Milledgeville is also a member
of this body. He’s also colorful, and he is influential.
There is another major player in the 1971 state
Senate. He is not a senator. He is an aide to Maddox and
exerts considerable influence: Mike Padgett of Augusta.
Margaret Shannon is called by Jim Minter, former
editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “the best
reporter we ever had, the most sophisticated writer on
our staff.” Her article bears this out. With her article is
a page and a half photograph of the Georgia senate
with the lieutenant governor, in front, and with all the
senators who were present in 1971 at the beginning of
the special session. Maddox stands in front at the
podium. All state senators in the photograph appear to
be white males.
Although Maddox was never a state senator, this is
not the norm after Maddox had the job. For the past 43
years, going back to 1975, this position has been held
by a former Georgia state senator: Zell Miller (19751990); Pierre Howard (1991-1998); Mark Taylor (19992006); and Casey Cagle (2007-2018). All four were, at
one time, a state senator.
Which brings us to today. Our next lieutenant governor— Democrat or Republican, male or female— has
never served in the state Senate. Will this make a difference, inspiring another reporter to write, as
Shannon did, “The Senate: Its Own Worst Enemy?”
I do not think this will happen. Hopefully, not.
We’ll just have to wait and see. The story of the 2019
senators’ legacies will begin to develop on the second Monday in January 2019, probably at 10:00 am,
when the presiding lieutenant governor raps the
gavel. He will loudly command, so that all in that
beautiful chamber can hear, “The Secretary Will
Unlock the Machine.”
What happens after that? Will senators vote to take
some power away from the lieutenant governor or
leave well enough alone?
Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry, a former state
legislator and a former member of the University System of
Georgia Board of Regents.


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