He was the only Augustan in the 20th Century to be elected governor of Georgia. His first elected office was as president of his freshman class at the Academy of Richmond County. He earned his law degree from the University of Georgia and began practicing in Augusta. Local voters elected him to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1954 and the Georgia Senate in 1956. He became Georgia's governor in 1962, defeating former Gov. Marvin Griffin. He worked to save Fort Gordon from being closed, worked to get Interstate-20 completed to Augusta, developed Augusta State University into a four year college, developed West Lake subdivision and brought about the state's public broadcasting system. Georgia PBS station WCES in Wrens bears his initials. Today, he heads an Atlanta law firm that has more than 300 attorneys.
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