A few decades ago, when Zell Miller was making his first run for governor, the mountain man employed two partners who had done well for another Southern governor: Bill Clinton of Arkansas.
The campaign that James Carville and Paul Begala sketched out for Miller was built around a state lottery that would finance college educations for young Georgians who couldn’t afford it.
On Friday, Begala said he's inspired by another Georgia Democrat running for state office: State Rep. Stacey Evans. In a fundraising letter sent for her campaign, he wrote that "candidates like Stacey remind me why I'm a Democrat in the first place."
Thanks to the HOPE Scholarship, Stacey was the first member of her family to attend college. Stacey is exactly why the scholarship came along. Trust me, I know a little something about hope.
Thirty years ago, I met another north Georgian with a vision for the HOPE Scholarship. James Carville & I dropped everything to make sure that man, Zell Miller, was elected governor. Zell will always be remembered as the governor that gave Georgia HOPE. Just a few years later I had a front row seat as a certain boy from Hope, Arkansas, Bill Clinton, inspired a nation. And in 2008, I watched an Illinois Senator, Barack Obama, offer change and hope as a candidate, and deliver it as President.
Evans is running against House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in a race where HOPE expects to figure prominently: Evans said Democrats were betrayed by a 2011 law that slashed funding for the lottery-funded program. Abrams said the scholarship was "dying" and she had little choice to seek a compromise with the GOP to avert deeper cuts.