Joe Frank Harris
|Joe Frank Harris|
|78th Governor of Georgia|
January 11, 1983 – January 13, 1991
|Preceded by||George Busbee|
|Succeeded by||Zell Miller|
February 16, 1936 |
|Alma mater||University of Georgia|
Early life and career
Harris was born in the Atco Mill Village of Cartersville, Georgia to Frank and Frances Harris. Harris was the second of three children that also included brother, Fred Harris and sister, Glenda Harris Gambill. Harris went on to graduate from the University of Georgia in 1958 with a degree in business administration. While attending Georgia, he also became a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. Upon graduation Harris returned to his native Cartersville, Georgia to join his father Frank and brother Fred in the family run cement business. Harris Cement Products, Inc. operated from 1940–1980, and was a successful Northwest Georgia business that during the late 1970s furnished all the cement for the bridges and overpasses constructed on Interstate 75 from Cobb County to Gordon County. Harris was persuaded to run for the Georgia House of Representatives in 1964 and served nine terms. Harris became the chairman of the Appropriations Committee in 1974.
When he ran for Governor in 1982, Harris was seen as a long shot candidate, but with the support of the Speaker of the Georgia House Tom Murphy, he was able to win the primary over U.S. Representative Bo Ginn. Memphis, Tenn.-based consultant Deloss Walker played a key role in Harris' successful 1982 campaign.
As Governor, Harris created and implemented the Quality Basic Education Act (QBE), built the Georgia Dome, created the Technical College System of Georgia formerly known as the Department of Adult & Technical Education, and lured the 1996 Summer Olympics to Atlanta. Harris is also credited with building more libraries during his term than any other governor in Georgia's history. Also during his term, Harris created the Growth Strategies Commission chaired by Cartersville native and prominent developer Joel Cowan.
Board of regents
Georgia State University
From 1995 through 2009 Harris served at Georgia State University as a distinguished executive fellow and lecturer in the School of Policy Studies. He is chairman of the board of Harris Georgia Corporation, an industrial development firm that was established in 1980 in Cartersville, Georgia. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors for Aflac.
The portion of U.S. Route 41 through Bartow County is named in his honor (Joe Frank Harris Parkway), as well as the Joe Frank Harris Commons that houses The Village Summit Dining Commons (operated by UGA FOOD SERVICES) at the University of Georgia, the main entrance to the Georgia Ports Authority in Brunswick, Georgia (Joe Frank Harris Blvd.), and the main entrance to the Georgia State Fairgrounds in Perry (Governor Joe Frank and Mrs. Elizabeth Harris Blvd.).
|Governor of Georgia