For 28 years, if Mr. Tom said no, state legislation didn’t pass.
Tom Murphy was born in 1924 in Bremen and graduated from North Georgia College. He fought in the Pacific for the U.S. Navy in World War II, and then went to the University of Georgia Law School. Murphy entered the legislature in 1961.
He was floor leader for Governor Lester Maddox and in 1973 the Democrats elected him Speaker of the House. He served in that post 28 years, longer than anybody in any state assembly in the nation.
Murphy was a throwback to an earlier breed of politician, rarely without his big Stetson and his big stogies. He played hardball under the gold dome. Laws passed with a nod of his head, or failed without it. But the shifting political tide that swept Democrats out of office in 2002 took Murphy with it. He was defeated after 41 years in office with eight governors.
The man known as “Mr. Speaker” was born in Bremen on March 10, 1924, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.