Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 122 Ron FennelReflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 122 Ron Fennel

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 122 Ron Fennel

Descriptive Summary

Title: Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 122 Ron Fennel
Creator: Fennel, Ron.
Dates: 2010 November 17
Extent: 1.0 interview
Collection Number: RBRL/220/ROGP
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: Ron Fennel has served in various political positions over his 33-year career, including two terms as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, representing his hometown of Brunswick (1988-1992). While a member of the Legislature, he co-authored the Ethics in Government Act, River & Mountain Protection Act and Solid Waste Management Act. He discusses his time in the General Assembly, his friendship with Zell Miller, and his activities outside of politics.

Collection Description

Biographical note

Ron Fennel has served in various political positions over his 33-year career, including two terms as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, representing his hometown of Brunswick (1988-1992). While a member of the legislature, he co-authored the Ethics in Government Act, River & Mountain Protection Act and Solid Waste Management Act.

Fennel worked for nearly four years as Executive Assistant to then Lt. Governor Zell Miller (1979-1982), prior to starting his career, later working to help him win the governorship. Three Georgia Governors appointed him to key leadership positions: Zell Miller (1990-91); Joe Frank Harris (1984), George Busbee (1982).

Fennel has served as a Board member and volunteer leader for several organizations, including: the Atlanta Convention & Visitors’ Bureau (1999 - present); Atlanta’s Table of the Atlanta Community Food Bank (1995-present, Chairman in 1999-2000); TEAM Georgia, a statewide safe driving and safe boating program (1995-present, 2008 - currently Chairman); Atlanta’s Inn for Children (1995-2002); the Atlanta Fire Foundation (founding Board member, 2009-present as Chairman), Hills Park Neighborhood Association (2000- 2008, 2005-8 as President), Vinings Estates Community Association (President, 2008 - present), and many others.

Fennel has been active in many industry and business groups, including the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Economic Developers Association, Regional Leadership Foundation, Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association, Cobb Chamber of Commerce, Cobb Honorary Commanders Program, Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce, and Committee for A Better Atlanta, among others.

Ron is an alumnus of Georgia Southern University, with a B.S. in Chemistry.

Scope and Content

Ron Fennel recalls growing up in Odum, Georgia, before attending Georgia Southern. He recalls meeting Zell Miller as a college student before serving as his aide for four years. Fennell discusses Miller's 1980 campaign for U.S. Senate and the disappointment upon Miller's loss.

Fennel discusses working as the first executive director of the Young Democrats of Georgia and as a field director of the Democratic party in 1984. He discusses Georgia's transition to a two-party state after 137 years of Democratic rule and about the party's reliance on labor unions and minority votes. Fennel comments on the Democrats that switched parties to hold their seats.

Fennel recalls unsuccessfully running for legislature in 1986 and subsequently being elected in 1988. He discusses his friendships with Doug Teper, Ray Holland, and McCracken Poston, who were part of the "Four Horsemen." Fennell discusses the Four Horsemen's ideas for streamlining the State House.

Fennel recalls the ethics and environmental legislation he worked on during his time in legislature and recalls the committees he served on including Defense and Transportation. He recalls becoming the go-between for Speaker Tom Murphy and Zell Miller. Fennel compares Republicans' actions to strip the lieutenant governor of the power to appoint committees to Miller's voluntary concession of those powers.

Fennel discusses perceptions of disrespect from the Four Horsemen. He discusses his decision to run for Congress and explains the reason he lost. Fennel also mentions Zell Miller's reluctance to support his congressional race. He reflects on his decade away from politics and on Georgia's tourism. Fennel comments on the revenue potential of gambling and horse racing in Georgia.


Administrative Information and Restrictions

Custodial History note

Reflections on Georgia Politics began in the fall of 2006 at Young Harris College, as a lecture and discussion program hosted by Georgia political veteran Bob Short. In late 2007, the Richard B. Russell Library began producing the program as an oral history video series to further illuminate and personalize the tectonic shifts that occurred in Georgia politics in the late twentieth century.

Preferred citation

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 122, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

Copyright Information

Resources may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared by Russell staff, 2013.


Related Materials

Access Points

Agriculture--Georgia.
Coverdell, Paul Douglas, 1939-2000.
Democratic Party (Ga.)
Economic development--Georgia.
Environmental policy--Georgia.
Georgia--General Assembly--House of Representatives.
Georgia. Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
Miller, Zell Bryan, 1932-
Murphy, Thomas Bailey, 1924-2007
Oral histories.
Political campaigns--Georgia.
Politicians--Georgia.
Poston, McCracken King, 1959-

Related Collections in this Repository

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

ROGP 122 Ron Fennel video and interview index in OHMS Access Online
ROGP 122 Ron Fennel video on YouTube (Extent: 114.0 minutes ) Access Online
ROGP 122 Ron Fennel PDF transcript Access Online