By Senator Bob Gotsch, #18186

A few years after the US JCI Senate was chartered at the Atlanta Meeting of the US Jaycees in 1972, a group of Georgia Senators gathered at Callaway Gardens in February 1975 to initiate the necessary action to charter a JCI Senate in the State of Georgia.

Senators present at this meeting were: Bob Rushton, John Stephens, Troy Nichols, Gene Bishop, Bill Kwech, Doyle Payne, Jessie Paulk, Bruce Kessler, Charles Payne, Bob Hornbuckle, Preston Kirkendall and Jim Hobbs. It is interesting to note the leadership in this group represents three Georgia Jaycee Presidents, one National Jaycee President, one future National Senate President, and two future Georgia Senate Presidents.

This group decided to establish committees, hold elections and the official charter ceremony at Jekyll Island during the Jaycee State Convention in May.

Gene Bishop was unanimously elected Charter Chairman with Jessie Paulk elected to serve as Acting Secretary-Treasurer. Preston Kirkendall agreed to serve as Nominations Committee Chairman and Bob Hornbuckler was selected to Chair Pins and Charter Activities.

The Charter Convention reconvened at Jekyll in May. Gene Bishop was elected President for 1975-76. Gene hosted the Georgia Senate's first social function during the year at the Winter Board Meeting in 1976. President Gene was elected President of the US JCI Senate in 1977.

Bill Darby was elected President of the Georgia Senate for 1976-77 and Charles Payne served as President for 1977~78. During these years, the identity of the Senate had not yet been established, as Senate funds and beverages were given or sold to the Rebel Corps to assist in providing hospitality to the Senators at corps socials. The Georgia Senate at this time was "honorary".

The Theus Design Senate Pin was adopted in May 1977 and the Georgia Jaycees ratified the Constitution and by-laws of the Georgia Senate. This gave recognition to the Senate as official Georgia Jaycees alumni organization plus a seat on the Executive Committee.

The Georgia Senate Convention at Jekyll in 1978 elected Gordon Brick Senate President for 1978-79. The Senate continued to function mainly as an honorary organization during this year, after Gordon Brick and Bob Gotsch served as Delegates to the US Senate Meeting in Atlantic City. Although unknown at the time, a line of leadership succession that would go on for the next several years was established with the election of John White and Bob Gotsch as Senate Vice-Presidents.

John White was elected to serve as Senate President for the 1979-80 year, and was reselected for the 1980-81 year! The Georgia Senate continued to take an active roll in National Senate Meetings with John White, Bob Gotsch, Ray Baskette and Jimmy Irvin serving as Delegates and alternates for Georgia in Cleveland.

Significant events during this period included the adoption of point system criteria and 5 years of active Jaycee membership to be eligible for nomination to the Senate. The adoptions of "Theme" Senate Pins for gift items to other Senators; the introduction of the fabulous Senate Shrimp and Beer Bash Luncheon at Jekyll and the initial processing of Senator applications through a Senate Screening Committee. This enabled the Georgia Senate to generate cash flow through initiation fees and each new inductee became a member of the Georgia Senate upon receipt of his Senatorship.

Communications with the National Senate increased as more Georgia Senators began to receive the "Mentors", the National publication.

President John was elected Dixie Institute Vice-President at the 1981 San Antonio National Convention to cap off two progressive years as Georgia State President. John, Bob, Ray and Jimmy again served as Delegates and Alternates back up support from Royce Gwin and Bruce Kessler at the San Antonio National Meeting in 1981.

Bob Gotsch was elected Georgia Senate President for 1981-82 at the Jekyll State Convention after an exciting contested race with the largest Senator turn out ever at a Senator election. A strong slate of officers was elected with Randy Hunt and Barry Norton serving as Vice-Presidents and Mike VanHouten as Secretary-Treasurer. Ray Baskette was appointed a National Committeeman.

  • Several events took place during this administrative year to strengthen the Georgia Senate, these included:
  • 14 new Senators inducted into the Georgia Senate
  • 40 dues paid members for the year A quarterly newsletter published for the first time to all 220 senators in Georgia
  • Business meetings, luncheons, hospitality and cocktail parties at all Board Meetings and the State Convention
  • Recognition of the Georgia Senate by National officers with visits from the US Jaycee President, a US Jaycee Vice-President and two state Presidents
  • Induction of three Senators at the Georgia Jaycee Banquet at Winter Board and seven Senators at State Convention during Georgia Jaycee Awards Program
  • The passing of a by-law to form a Georgia Senate Foundation to assist financing Senate operations and charities
  • The re-activation of five Area Coordinators to activate Senators in non-board areas for the l982-83 administrative year

Continuing the line of succession that was begun in 1978, Randy Hunt was elected President of the Georgia Senate for 1982-83 at the State Convention on Jekyll Island in May. Van Wiley and Ray Baskette were elected Vice-Presidents, Mike Van Houten reselected Secretary-Treasurer and Wiley Jones was elected the first President of the Georgia Senate Foundation, five Area Coordinators were also elected.

Randy Hunt, Bob Gotsch, Van Wiley and Ray Baskette were Delegates to the US Senate National Meeting in Phoenix. Ray Baskette was appointed US Senate Parliamentarian. Showing the Georgia Senate continued interest in US Senate affairs, President Randy pledged the Georgia Senate $125 to the building of a Henry Giessenbier Room at JCI Headquarters in Coral Gables, Florida.

A strong foundation with traditions has been built on a network of "old boy" friendships in the Georgia Senate. The future of the Georgia Senate has never been brighter.

Our Georgia Senate is now a reality - with the best still yet to come....



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Last modified: June 27, 2003

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