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Biography

Doug HainesDoug Haines grew up as the son of a schoolteacher (Vivian) and a local businessman (Woody) in Laramie, Wyoming. Doug has two siblings: his twin sister, CarrollLyn, teaches school, and his older brother, John, runs a nonprofit economic-development organization.

Doug learned from an early age how neighbors and friends form bonds to strengthen their communities. It was with friends’ help that he was able to earn enough to pay his way through college, working as a busboy in a neighbor’s co-op restaurant and doing odd jobs and chores on the side. He also founded and operated a small independent newspaper called Another Voice, which depended on advertising from friends’ local businesses to stay afloat.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Wyoming, Doug moved to Athens to attend the University of Georgia School of Law. He finished his law degree in 1989, and spent the next three years working in an Atlanta law firm.

In 1992 Doug returned to Athens and founded Georgia Legal Watch, a nonprofit public-interest law firm devoted to protecting our rights to a clean environment and to open, democratic government. Doug’s breakthrough at Legal Watch came in 1994, when he sued to compel the state to enforce anti-pollution laws to clean up Georgia’s rivers. Doug won the case, and as part of the settlement received $300,000 earmarked to help him provide Georgia’s communities with free legal help in environmental disputes.

Since then, Doug’s work at Legal Watch has produced some of the most significant environmental protections in Georgia. His efforts have been directly responsible for the creation and enforcement of pollution limits for all of Georgia’s rivers and for the creation of water treatment facilities in Augusta. Doug’s work has helped clean up and protect sources of drinking water for Georgia communities such as Trion. He has also worked to protect the state’s children by getting lead out of the drinking water in nurseries and warning communities about health hazards in their area.

While at Legal Watch Doug met and married Lisa Lott, a Legal Aid lawyer who provides free representation for children of low-income families. Doug and Lisa are active in community and state affairs. They are members of the Jeanette Rankin Foundation, and Doug is a charter member of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation and the Center for Children and Education.

Doug’s commitment to the idea of government as a servant of community needs brought him into politics in 2000, when he ran against a longtime incumbent and, despite being outspent five-to-one, won election to the Georgia Senate.

As a senator Doug put together a record of accomplishment that drew accolades from a wide array of interests across Georgia. He was instrumental in expanding Georgia Peachcare, which provides children of low-income families with health insurance, and the Georgia Early Learning Initiative, a statewide version of Head Start. He drew praise from senior citizens’ groups for leading the fight to create one of the nation’s strongest laws against predatory lending. He received the highest legislative rankings from Conservation Voters for his work on environmental issues at the same time he was winning top marks from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce for his commitment to Georgia business. Clark Atlanta University also ranked Doug as the third-best out of 236 state legislators for his work on minority issues, including his work on the Living Wage Commission and his vote to remove the Confederate symbol from the state flag.

Despite Doug’s recognized success as a public servant, in 2002 he was caught in the same Republican tide that cost a number of good Democrats their positions, and he lost his re-election campaign by a narrow margin of less than 500 votes.

But his disappointment was short-lived. On the day after his defeat, he and Lisa were blessed with the birth of their first child, Lauren Ann. When asked, Doug has often said that the timing of this event was God’s way of reminding him of the important things in life – namely, his family.

Less than a year later, Doug is running to represent the citizens of the 12th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is uniquely qualified to represent our interests, and he retains his commitment to the idea that the purpose of government is to serve our people and our communities.