Interview with Roy Barnes and Bob Irvin, February 28, 2018

Collection: Two-Party Georgia Oral History Project

Dublin Core


Barnes and Irvin begin by talking about their early involvement in politics and why they chose to seek elected office. They then discuss their time in the legislature, the focus on national politics during that time, and the history of the Republican Party’s stance on racial issues. They then discuss governance in Georgia, including what makes a governor effective and the budgeting process. Irvin and Barnes comment on the diminishing power of rural Georgia in the state’s political process. They next talk about what issues may have bipartisan support in Georgia and how the parties may return to debating political issues civilly. They conclude the interview by discussing transportation issues in Georgia and their potential solutions.

Bob Irvin grew up in rural North Fulton County in the 1960s and was elected as a Republican to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1972. He left the legislature to attend Harvard Business School. Irvin returned to Georgia politics and was reelected to the Georgia Assembly in 1994 where he served as House Minority Leader until 2002, when he left the House to run unsuccessfully for the United States Senate.

Roy Barnes grew up in rural Cobb County, Georgia in the 1950s and 1960s. He graduated from the University of Georgia Law School in 1972, after which he moved back to Cobb County to work as an assistant district attorney. In 1974, Barnes was elected to the Georgia Senate. In 1990, Barnes ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor of Georgia. From 1992 to 1998, Barnes served in the Georgia House of Representatives, and then ran for governor again, this time successfully. He served one term as governor from 1999-2003, during which time, he oversaw the push for changing the Confederate symbolism on the Georgia state flag.






Oral History Item Type Metadata


103 minutes


Roy Barnes, Bob Irvin, and Ashton Ellett, “Interview with Roy Barnes and Bob Irvin, February 28, 2018,” UGA Special Collections Libraries Oral Histories, accessed December 7, 2022,