50th ANNIVERSARY ARTICLE about the than newly reapportioned Georgia State Senate:
"James Wesberry, a 28-year-old Atlanta accountant, had earned a reputation — and enemies — as part of a task force digging up corruption across Georgia.
A blunt-speaking son of a well-known minister, he was the forerunner of an archetype still held in low-esteem by many colleagues at the Capitol: the trouble-making Atlanta liberal. Wesberry earned the enmity of rural Georgia’s power brokers by telling an audience, “We’ll never get good government in Georgia until we put 100 House members back behind the plow.”
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Wesberry left the legislature after four years, complaining the low pay — $2,000 a year to start — and long hours devastated his accounting practice. He recently said ferreting out wrong dealing in the Griffin administration trained him well in his lifelong mission — auditing for corruption worldwide. He has worked for many organizations, including the World Bank and has rooted out corruption in China, the Philippines, Mexico and South America, where the 78-year-old now lives.
In 1963, the reform-minded legislator learned the “new” Senate may have not been that new. A reporter assessing the historic session noted, “Wesberry has been beaten down on just about everything he has proposed and most of his bills have been killed in committee.”
Some senators complained that Wesberry, who proposed one of the state’s first ethics bills, tried doing too much, too fast. Fifty years later, legislators are still grappling with ethics.
Before getting elected, Wesberry had filed suit against the state arguing that Atlanta’s congressional district was unfairly apportioned, a case not unlike the county unit case. In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling, found in favor of him in Wesberry V. Sanders, a decision that caused Congressional districts across the country to be more fairly redrawn.
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