Jimmy Carter Speaks to ABAC Assembly

| October 29, 2014

carterTIFTON — When the 39th President of the United States spoke to a standing room only crowd of students at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College on Tuesday, Jimmy Carter was quick to praise ABAC and how the institution had helped him.

“Georgia is a great state, and ABAC is one of my favorite educational institutions in all the world,” Carter said.  “ABAC has been a blessing to me and my family.”

Carter, a long time peanut farmer from Plains, explained that he had learned a great deal about the laying out of terraces and planting peanuts from the short courses which ABAC offered.  He said he even brought other farmers down from his family farms.  One of those farms was established in 1833 and the other in 1904.

“As soon as the Indians left Georgia, that’s when my family began farming,” Carter said.  “I also appreciate Dr. Doug Waid and his ABAC students taking care of the duck boxes on our ponds.”

The 90-year-old Carter touched on a wide range of topics during his address including the reason he entered politics in the first place.

“I first ran for the state senate because I wanted to help education,” Carter said of his 1962 campaign.

Carter later was elected Governor of Georgia in 1970 and President of the U.S. in 1976.  He now devotes much of his time to humanitarian efforts through the Carter Center.  He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

“Politics has changed dramatically since I ran for President,” Carter said.  “When I ran against Gerald Ford, I had to raise zero dollars.  When I ran against Governor (Ronald) Reagan, I had to raise zero dollars.  Now you couldn’t even be considered as a candidate unless you raised at least $250 million.

“We wouldn’t have thought of running a negative commercial.  That has changed.  Now they use negative commercials.  I believe our country has been polarized.”

Carter referenced the upcoming election by encouraging the students to vote.

“In the United States, citizens can decide the future of their city, their county and their nation by voting,” Carter said.  “Every citizen in America has the basic right to vote.  Things are changed by democracy.”

Through the Carter Center, Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, have visited 105 countries.  He said they plan to visit Nepal next year.

“A lot of times when I am visiting a country like some of the places we have visited in Africa, I think of ABAC and all the things I learned about agriculture here,” Carter said.

Carter’s visit was sponsored by the ABAC College Democrats.  He was introduced by Dr. Joseph Brown, Associate Professor of English at ABAC.

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