And you ran for the Legislature, the Georgia House of Representatives in June and were elected in June of 1991. It was a three-way race as I recall. You won without a run-off ?
And then ran unopposed for the next five terms as a state representative for the Athens Clarke County House District, and while you were there you served as Chair of the Higher Education committee. You were on the Appropriations committee, Vice Chair of the Retirement committee, Vice Chair of the World Congress Center Overview committee, and involved in the Women's Legislative caucus. When did you have time to eat?
Well, it was a really wonderful experience. I really enjoyed it. I had worked…after I left the university, we had just voted in to put Athens and Clarke County together and I was on a three or four member team that worked on that and somebody…several asked me why didn't I run for…they called it CEO then instead of mayor, and but I just didn't want to do that, and then Lawton Stephens was made a judge. I knew he was in the running, but he was a brand new lawyer and I didn't think he would get it, but his sister called me that afternoon about something else, and she said, "Oh, by the way, Lawton just made Superior Court Judge.” I turned right around and went to the phone and called the paper, and told them that I was going to run for his seat. And so the next morning his picture was on one side of the paper, had been made judge, and mine was on the other side that I was running for his seat, and people wondered how I found out about it. It was just…you know Mary, his sister, had called me because she worked for me, had worked for me, and called me about something and told me. So that was exciting.
What would you say in your heart, what do you feel your greatest accomplishments were during that time?
In the legislature? Well, one thing…the teachers in this state had never had credit for unused sick leave, which means a day a month for every…all the time you work. And so that was one of the first things I began to work on. It was very expensive to do, but I finally got it done. And now people get credit for unused sick leave, which makes…if you haven't had a major illness and missed a lot of work, $200 or $300 difference a month in your retirement pay.
We are glad you did — all of us in this room.
It was not retroactive, I must say. I was out four days the whole time I was at the University, and so teachers were losing a lot, and it was not fair, because other state employees were having it, but that was one of the bills that I was the proudest of.