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On This Day: President Reagan's 1984 Visit to Macon | Politics

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On This Day: President Reagan's 1984 Visit to Macon
Politics

Almost 30 years ago, Georgia was a Presidential campaign battleground and the midstate was a key player.

First, contenders for the Democratic nomination came to Central Georgia to woo voters. Former astronaut John Glenn stumped in Milledgeville and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson came to Macon, but both men would ultimately lose the bid to Walter Mondale.

On October 15, 1984, the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, held a rally on the steps of Macon City Hall to campaign for a second term in office.

We dug deep in our archives to find footage of that big day.

The President was greeted by Mayor George Israel, only the second Republican in the city's history to hold that office, and the event was emceed by Atlanta Braves knuckleball legend Phil Niekro. The Gatlin Brothers Band performed and school children filled the crowd to hear what "The Great Communicator" had to say.

Here's an excerpt from Reagan's speech to the people of Macon:

It's a great privilege to celebrate with you the opening of the Georgia State Fair, to see again the Macon City Auditorium, which I'm told is the single largest copper-domed building in the world, and to be with your fine mayor, George Israel. 

...Mayor Israel, a city where the local property tax has been cut by almost 25 percent; where crime rates have dropped dramatically; where, for decades, citizens have worked shoulder to shoulder with the fine personnel of Robins Air Force Base; where growth is strong and employment is up by 6,500; where graduation requirements in schools have been raised and students test scores are climbing-a town that accomplishes all this must have some pretty special people. And they must have a mayor who's one of America's best.

Read the full text of Reagan's speech. 

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