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Lee Ague Miller oral history interview, May 31, 2014

 Item
Identifier: MillerL_20140531

Scope and Contents

Interviewed by Robin Morris.

Dates

  • May 31, 2014

Creator

Restrictions on Access

Access to some interviews restricted. See notes in Contents List for access details.

Biographical Note

In April 1964, Lee Ague Miller opened her Smyrna home to 19 other young mothers to form the Cobb County Federation of Republican Women (what today is called the Cobb County Republican Women’s Club. The group’s first goal was to stop the Cobb County Commission from turning their quiet street into a four-lane highway. Before moving to Cobb County with her two young children in 1964, she served as the first female trial attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., for six years. During her six years in Washington, she also wrote an opinion that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court while working for the General Counsel’s Office of the Civil Aeronautics Board. In 1965, the Georgia Federation of Republican Women (GFRW) was reorganized and Miller was elected president at the convention in Columbus. When she took office, GFRW had 260 members in clubs in 11 counties in Georgia. Miller restructured the organization, dividing the state into four regions, with each having its own vice president. Then she began successful grassroots effort to increase membership, educate members, and promote the Republican Party. This effort resulted in clubs in 42 counties, including 100 percent of the state’s congressional districts and 90 percent of the state’s senatorial districts. By 1966, the GFRW had a net gain of 69 new clubs and 1,642 members, for which the organization received two NFRW national awards: the largest increase in new clubs in the nation and the largest membership increase in its group. The GFRW became an integral partner in Georgia GOP campaigns, including playing a major role in the 1966 (Bo) Callaway for Governor campaign. During this period, Miller served as director of women’s activities and developed a crew of approximately 3,000 volunteers who conducted 40,000 interviews (for Callaway’s campaign, as well as congressional candidates) in 13 weekly surveys. At the end of Miller’s term in 1967 and despite Callaway’s heart-breaking gubernatorial loss, GFRW had 79 active clubs and 2,650 members (an increase of almost 2,000). When the GFRW also opened a new category of auxiliary membership that allowed men to participate in a non-voting status, it literally doubled the number of volunteers. In 1970, Miller was appointed chair of the NFRW education committee and was assigned the task of developing and conducting a national survey to identify problems in education. She built a volunteer group of state education survey chairs in states where the NFRW was active and produced a white paper that was presented, not only to NFRW, but also to the White House. To stimulate national support for the project, she also managed to receive an invitation to appear on television’s “Today Show” where she discussed the survey’s importance. In 1984, Miller was one of two women who bid for and received the Republican National Committee assignment of co-chairing and organizing the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Atlanta. The GFRW was again called on to provide the many volunteers necessary to produce a successful conference. With 14,000 gathering to hear President Ronald Reagan at the Omni, the 1984 Reagan presidential campaign was kicked off. The leadership conference attracted a sell-out crowd of 1,400 and was one of the best-attended conferences. Miller continued her work with the GOP for 17 years as a paid consultant for the RNC. In this role, she was involved in many campaigns, helping to set up phone banks and volunteer programs. In 1984, she was responsible for 1.7 million automated voter ID and turnout calls for the Reagan and Republican Party campaigns. Among her other national and international responsibilities for the Republican party, she was appointed chair of International Voters for (Bob) Dole and served as international media liaison for that year’s national convention. She continues to serve as CEO of the Georgia Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities that she started in 1997 to “return thanks” for her daughter Linda’s recovery from traumatic brain injury. Since its inception, the Georgia Committee has served more than 9,000 Georgia high school students with disabilities, teaching them job skills and succeeding in decreasing dropout rates and increasing graduation rates. (Unfortunately, her daughter succumbed to stage 4 ovarian cancer in June 2012.)

Extent

2 item(s) (audio (1:39:17 duration) transcript (60 pages))

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Creator

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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