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Professor Spotlight: Meet Mr. Golden

There is a former state congressman teaching currently at VSU. Timothy Golden is a professor who teaches the “Georgia Purple Politics” class, which is a perspectives course. He is very enthusiastic about getting his students to think about politics and he would rather his students learn and think on their own, rather than just teaching them to follow whatever he says.

His political career began almost 50 years ago in 1976 with being a congressional intern.

“I was an intern in the Georgia General Assembly Legislative Intern Program in 1976 in Atlanta as a student from VSU. That was for the session from January to March. I then interned in the Senator Sam Nunn Academic Intern Program from September to December 1976 in Washington, D.C.,” said Golden.

“Both programs were awesome and helped propel my life in politics and made many long-time friendships and contacts. It is where I met then State Representative Charles Hatcher who would become a U.S. Congressmen with my help and work for him. I spent ten years in D.C. and Valdosta as his aide.”

Golden was able to become an elected member of the Georgia congress for over 20 years.

“I was in the House from 1991 to 1998 and Senate from 1998 to 2014. I enjoyed serving in both bodies and it was a dream of mine to serve in the House, and then later the Senate. Eight years in the House and 16 years in the Senate,” said Golden.

Golden says he was interested in in bipartisanship and did not want to focus on left or right, but instead what best benefit his constituents and the state of Georgia as a whole.

“I served on the Higher Education Committee in each chamber. I am proud of having passed many bills affecting business, health care, and our area as well as securing funds for many projects of importance to our area,” said Golden.

Golden is also embedded in state history as he was a part of Congress in 2001 when Georgia voted to remove the Confederate flag from the state flag. Which also shifted the Democratic stronghold to a Republican for the next two decades, before becoming more purple as of recently.

“The flag vote in 2001 was a tough one as it was quite contentious. The flaggers (those wanting to keep the confederate battle flag as part of the state flag) were very vocal and engaged. The vote was close in both chambers,” said Golden.

“Boot Tim Golden signs were all over my district. It was a difficult time in the Senate, but I voted to change the flag as I thought it was the right thing to do and I have never regretted that vote as I feel I was on the right side of history. Roy Barnes lost his Governorship; the Senate went Republican in 2002 elections. The House and Terry Coleman were the Speakership, and the House went Republican after the election in 2004.”

Even with all the fallout from many outraged Georgians, Golden stands proud in his vote till this day.

“The flag beat a lot of people; I was a survivor. I would vote the same way today,” said Golden.

Written by Serena Hambrick, Student Reporter. Photo courtesy of Valdosta State University. 

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