|Title:||Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 125 Nan Orrock|
|Dates||2010 December 15|
|Repository||Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies|
|Abstract||Senator Nan Orrock was elected by Atlanta voters to the Georgia Senate in 2006, after serving ten terms in the House of Representatives, where she was the first woman elected as House majority whip. She also served as the Governor’s Floor Leader, a committee chair, and a member of the Speaker’s Policy Committee. Her Senate District 36 encompasses downtown Atlanta, stretching north to Lenox Square, south to the city limits and west to the MARTA north-south line. Orrock discusses her early work in the civil rights movement, her time in the legislature, and the nature of party politics in Georgia.|
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.
Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 125, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.
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.
Senator Nan Orrock was elected by Atlanta voters to the Georgia Senate in 2006, after serving ten terms in the House of Representatives, where she was the first woman elected as House majority Whip. She also served as the Governor’s Floor Leader, a committee chair, and a member of the Speaker’s Policy Committee. Her Senate District 36 encompasses downtown Atlanta, stretching north to Lenox Square, south to the city limits and west to the MARTA north-south line.
Orrock’s Senate committee appointments include Higher Education, Urban Affairs, Health and Human Services, Science and Technology, and Agriculture and Consumer Affairs. Her legislative expertise encompasses health policy, women’s issues, civil rights and civil liberties, workforce issues, and the environment. She is a founder of both the Georgia Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Working Families Caucus, and former chair of the Labor Workforce Standing Committee of the National Caucus of State Legislatures. Her leadership has been recognized by a wide array of organizations.
Orrock’s engagement on public policy issues dates back to her participation in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, an experience that has led to a lifetime of activism and shaped her strong commitment to bringing the voices of women and other disenfranchised groups into the public arena.
Orrock is the president of Women Legislators’ Lobby, a national women legislator network that advocates for federal policies to reduce wasteful military spending and to improve the underfunded services to families, children, the disabled and the elderly. In recognition of her advocacy for the disabled, she received the 2008 Legislative Leadership Award by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities.
Her recent board service includes the Sapelo Foundation, the Center for Policy Alternatives, WAND, the YWCA, and the Institute of Energy and Environmental Research. She is an advisory council member of SCLC/W.O.M.E.N, former executive director of the Fund for Southern Communities and a member of the Bakery Confectionery and Tobacco Workers International Union.
Orrock received the 2010 State Leader Award from the Progressive States Network and was featured in Governing magazine. She was selected by Creative Loafing readers as “most effective local elected official” and received their 2010 ARNIE “loyal opposition” award.
The daughter of a Georgia native son and an East Tennessee mother, Orrock has lived in Atlanta since 1968 and has two grown sons. She received her B.A. in English from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia and is a member of the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Atlanta.
Nan Orrock recalls visiting Washington, D.C. as an adolescent and being inspired to enter politics. She recalls meeting liberals in her office job and her decision to attend Martin Luther King's March on Washington.
Orrock discusses her introduction to the Civil Rights Movement and the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Orrock comments on her additional activism in textile labor strikes, helping both whites and African Americans earn a living wage, and in women's rights. She also discusses the founding of the newspaper the Great Speckled Bird.
Orrock discusses her successful campaign for General Assembly in 1986 and reflects on life as a freshman legislator, interactions with Speaker Murphy, Paul Coverdell, and Denmark Groover, and her influence in the formation of the Women's Caucus. She discusses her work in legislature regarding men and women's health.
Orrock recalls serving as a floor leader for Governor Miller and discusses the legislation regarding the state flag, family leave, and the first bill regarding hate crimes. She discusses gender policy as it relates to child support. Orrock comments on her interactions with Cathy Cox and Ralph David Abernathy. Orrock discusses being elected as the first female majority whip and serving as an associate member in the Black Caucus. Orrock discusses a particularly contentious abortion bill and the South's concern with keeping conservative votes.
Orrock also reflects on running for State Senate and how the senate runs differently from the house. She discusses her experience serving as a rural senator versus as an urban senator. Orrock weighs in on redistricting and apportionment in addition to the Georgia Budget and Policy institute.