BioMary Margaret Oliver, a native Georgian from DeKalb County, served in the Georgia House of
Representatives from 1987-1992 and was then elected to the State Senate, where she served
three terms. In July, 1998, Oliver left the Senate to run for Lieutenant Governor and finished
first, ahead of six Democratic challengers. She lost in a runoff to the second place finisher. In
2003, Oliver was elected to the House where she continues to serve, representing the 83rd
When Oliver was elected to the Senate, she was appointed to chair the Judiciary Committee
during her freshman term, a rare legislative distinction. The appointment was also notable in
that it marked the first time in 40 years that a woman had been named to chair a standing
Senate committee. During the 2004 session, she was appointed Chair of the House Judiciary
Committee, becoming the first person to serve as Chair of both House and Senate Judiciary
Committees and the first woman to ever serve as Chair of either committee.
Oliver currently sits on the House Appropriations, Judiciary, Governmental Affairs, and Science
and Technology Committees. She has been appointed by the Georgia Supreme Court to the
Committee on Justice for Children and by Governor Nathan Deal to the Special Council on
Criminal Justice Reform.
Oliver’s legislative accomplishments have included authoring and passing significant legislation
for the protection of children and consumers, including Georgia’s anti-stalking law, along with
legislation to protect neighborhood activists from intimidation. In addition, she has authored
thirty general business and legally related bills.
She has been honored for her legislative work, being named Woman of Achievement by the
Atlanta YWCA and Legislator of the Year by the Garden Club of Georgia. In 2011, she was
given the Common Cause Democracy Award and the Georgia Conservation Voters Legacy
Oliver is a long time member of the Decatur Rotary and All Saints Episcopal Church, where she
teaches Sunday school. She currently sits on The Frazer Center Board of Directors.
She earned a BA from Vanderbilt University and a law degree from Emory University. From
2001 to 2009, she was a visiting professor at the Barton Child Law and Policy Center at Emory.
In 2011, in honor of the 175th anniversary of Emory, Oliver was one of 30 women out of 175 or
so Emory History Makers – those individuals who have shown courageous and ethical
leadership on behalf of the greater community and a legacy of imparting knowledge to others
and making significant contributions to the life at Emory.
Oliver currently practices law in Decatur.