Neill Herring was born in Dalton, GA, in 1947. Attended public schools there, and got a BA from Georgia State in History in 1969. Failed draft physical because of poor eyesight. Worked in anti-Vietnam war movement, wrote for Great Speckled Bird, Atlanta underground weekly, worked as carpenter for many years while also working to oppose Southern Company overexpansion of electric plant investment at ratepayers' expense. Followed Southern Company to the Georgia General Assembly and became an environmental lobbyist there in 1980. Lives in Jesup, has two daughters, 24 and 19, spends the winters in Atlanta to take advantage of the cold, wet weather, and the steam heat of the State Capitol.