Former congressman Doug Barnard of Augusta died Thursday

Former U.S. Congressman Doug Barnard Jr. died Thursday after a period of declining health, a family friend confirmed.

 

Barnard, who was 95, hadn’t attended the Sunday school class they shared for the last couple of years, friend Lowell Barnhart said.

Photos: Doug Barnard Jr.

A successful banker, Barnard became the first U.S. Congressman from Augusta in 72 years when he beat south Augusta politician Mike Padgett for the post in 1977. Barnard served eight terms before stepping down in 1993.

In a 2007 interview, Barnard said rescuing Georgia water projects from cutbacks being made by President Jimmy Carter was one of his crowning achievements. In 1990 he secured $15 million in federal funds to extend St. Sebastian Way, and a banking bill he introduced changed the industry when it finally passed in 1999, he said.

Barnard was recognized by the Financial Services Roundtable in Washington, D.C., in 1999 for his work that began in 1984 to repeal the Glass-Stegall bill of 1932, which limited what banks could do.

“I’ve had a very interesting life. I have been an energetic worker, and I have tried to take advantage of the opportunities that have come my way for my community,” he said in The Chronicle story.

Barnard was a lifelong friend of former Georgia Gov. Carl Sanders, who died in 2014. Doug Barnard Jr. Parkway was named for him in 1994. Another honor was the Doug Barnard Olympic Coin bill that passed in 1996.

Former Augusta Mayor Bob Young said Barnard offered “great wisdom” when he sought the mayor’s office and remembered him fondly.

“He was a great asset to this community, a true statesman,” Young said. “He cared deeply about our city and the people who lived here.”

 

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