Since January 2003, Georgia has been governed by George Ervin "Sonny" Perdue III, the first Republican to hold court over the southern state since Benjamin Conley in the 1870s.
Perdue was born in Perry, Georgia on December 20, 1946. He currently lives in Bonaire, GA, which is between Perry and Warner Robbins. A walk-on quarterback at the University Georgia, Perdue has spent time in the United States Air Force and earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1971. It's very likely that he is the only governor who has also worked as a veterinarian.
Perdue has been married to Mary Perdue since 1972. They have four children and nine grandchildren, and they have been foster parents for eight children.
Perdue's first foray into the public sector was in the early 1980s when he served as a member of the Houston County Planning & Zoning Commission. He joined the senate as a Democrat shortly thereafter when he defeated Republican candidate Ned Sanders in 1990, succeeding Democratic incumbent Ed Barker in the process. Perdue was reelected in 1991, 1994 and 1996. He was the Republican Party's Senate leader for 3 years from 1994-1997. It was then that he switched his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican. He served three more years in Senate as a Republican.
Perdue made his first major effort to become the governor of Georgia when he relinquished his senatorial post in December 2001. In November 2002, Perdue was elected Governor of Georgia, defeating Democrat Roy Barnes 52%-46%. Since, he's been re-elected for a second term as Governor. In 2006, Perdue defeated Democratic Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor, receiving 58% of the vote.
It would be safe to say that Perdue's gubernatorial term has been met with a great deal of success. While in office, Perdue's focused his attention on reforming state government, improving education, and growing the state's economy. Education has definitely been a problem for him (Georgia's students regularly rank in the bottom 10 in national SAT scores). Despite that, Perdue's approval rating has regularly floated above 50%.
The Office of the Governor
State of Georgia
203 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334