Tom Graves

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Tom Graves
Tom Graves, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia
In office
January 3, 2013 – October 4, 2020
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byMarjorie Taylor Greene
Constituency14th district
In office
June 8, 2010 – January 3, 2013
Preceded byNathan Deal
Succeeded byDoug Collins
Constituency9th district
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 2003 – March 23, 2010
Preceded byTom Shanahan
Succeeded byRick Jasperse
Constituency10th district (2003–2005)
12th district (2005–2010)
Personal details
John Thomas Graves Jr.

(1970-02-03) February 3, 1970 (age 51)
St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Julie Howard
EducationUniversity of Georgia (BBA)

John Thomas Graves Jr. (born February 3, 1970) is an American businessman and politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 14th congressional district from 2013 to 2020. Graves previously served one term as the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 9th congressional district from 2010 to 2013, following his victory in a special election held to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Nathan Deal. Before his election to Congress, Graves served as a Republican member of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2003 to 2010.

Graves chose not to run for re-election in 2020, and resigned from the House of Representatives on October 4, 2020.

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Tom Graves was born in St. Petersburg, Florida on February 3, 1970.[1] He graduated from Cass High School in Cartersville, Georgia, where he played linebacker and offensive guard on the school football team.[2] Graves earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Georgia. After college, he bought a landscaping company before working in real estate investment.[2] Graves lives in Ranger, Georgia, southeast of Dalton.[1]

In 2007, Graves and former Georgia Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers took out a loan from Bartow County Bank to purchase and renovate a motel in Calhoun. In 2011, it was reported that Bartow County Bank had sued Rogers and Graves for defaulting on their $2.2 million bank loan. They countersued the bank in response.[3][4] In August 2011, both parties dismissed their claims before going to hearing, settling the dispute out of court, and no details of the settlement were disclosed.[4][5] Graves received criticism in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the grounds that the outcome of this business venture appeared to some individuals to undermine his stated commitment to fiscal responsibility.[6]

Georgia House of Representatives[edit]


Tom E. Shanahan retired as Representative to Georgia's 10th District in 2002, and Graves won as his successor with 60 percent of the vote.[7] Graves later ran, unopposed, to serve as House Representative to Georgia's 12th district in 2004.[8] He was re-elected, after two races in which he ran against primary challenger Bill Pickett in 2006[9] and unopposed in 2008.[10]

Committee assignments[edit]

Graves served on the Transportation, Ways and Means committee and on the Health and Human services committee during his tenure in the Georgia House of Representatives.[11] He also served as Vice Chairman on the Motor Vehicles committee.[12]


As a member of the Georgia House, Graves supported legislation to provide tax cuts and tax credits,[13][14] including introducing the Jobs, Opportunity and Business Success (JOBS) Act of 2009.[15][16]

Graves was named Legislator of the Year in 2009 by the American Legislative Exchange Council.[17] Later that year, he was awarded the Guardian of Small Business award by the National Federation of Independent Business.[18]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Graves during his first term in the 113th Congress

In May 2010, Graves won a special election to replace incumbent Representative Nathan Deal.[19] On June 8, 2010, Graves won the run-off for the special election against former state Senator Lee Hawkins.[20] Graves then faced Hawkins two more times, in another primary election and run off before winning the November 2, 2010 general election unopposed.[21][22] Upon his election, Graves joined the House Republican Whip team,[23] which he later left in 2011.[24] In January 2013, Graves rejoined the Whip team, and was a member as of 2020.[23]


Graves' home in Ranger, along with most of the northwestern portion of the old 9th, was drawn into the newly created 14th district during the 2012 census. He opted to run for reelection in the newly created district.[25] The 14th was no less Republican than the 9th, and Graves won the November 6, 2012 election against Democratic challenger Daniel "Danny" Grant with 73 percent of the vote.[26]


Graves received 74 percent of the vote in the Republican primary against activist Kenneth Herron.[27] He faced no general election opposition.


Graves received 76 percent of the vote in the Republican primary against perennial candidate Allan Levene and activist Mickey Tuck.[28] He faced no general election opposition.

Graves endorsed Senator Marco Rubio in the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary.[29] In the same statement, Graves snubbed now-President Donald J. Trump: "I have trouble seeing how he lines up with the great tradition of Lincoln and Reagan, and I'm concerned that many of his statements run afoul of the Constitution, my values and my beliefs." [30]


Graves easily won re-election over his Democratic opponent Steven Lamar Foster, who had been arrested on DUI charges and said he "hated this county" during his arrest.[31]


In December 2019, Graves announced that he would not run for re-election in 2020.[32] He resigned from his seat early, on October 4, 2020.[33]


Graves is anti-abortion and voted in 2011 to limit funding to Planned Parenthood.[34] He stated that he opposes abortion "without exception", including when the mother's life is at stake.[35] In 2013, Graves voted in support of a bill which allowed abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization if a mother's life is endangered, or if conception occurred through rape or incest.[36] Graves did not receive an endorsement from the Georgia Right to Life PAC in the 2016 primary.[37]

Graves was endorsed by the Atlanta Tea Party in 2010.[38] He authored the Defund Obamacare Act in 2010 and reintroduced the bill in the 112th and 113th Congress.[39]

Conservative Blogger Erick Erickson stated in 2014 that Graves has now become a "judas goat" leading conservatives to the political slaughterhouse: "Graves's rapid support for McCarthy can only be seen as opportunistic," Erickson wrote, adding: "The conservative love affair with Graves was already waning. It is time to just end it. Let's see what he gets for himself by trading the veneer of conservatism."[40]

Graves co-sponsored a balanced-budget amendment in both the 112th and 113th Congresses and supported the Cut, Cap and Balance Act of 2011, which aimed to reduce federal spending and establish caps in future spending.[24] The same year, Graves introduced the HOME Act to allow Americans to make withdrawals from their retirement accounts to pay timely mortgage payments in 2011.[41] He also voted against removing US troops from Afghanistan in March 2011.[42] Graves introduced the Transportation Empowerment Act (TEA) in 2011, meant to lower the federal gas tax to 3.7 cents per gallon and transfer nearly all funding authority to U.S. states over a period of five years.[43] Graves voted in favor of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act in 2013, which funded the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project[44] in its expansion of the Savannah Harbor shipping channel from a depth of −42 feet to −47 feet.[45] He also authored the Email Privacy Act with Representatives Kevin Yoder and Jared Polis.[46] Graves led the national movement to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") in 2013.[39]

Committee assignments[edit]

Graves was a member of the United States House Committee on Appropriations. In 2014, he was selected to serve as chairman of the Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch for the 114th Congress.[47] His membership also included the subcommittees on Defense and Financial Services and General Government.[48][49] He was chairman of the new Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

Caucus memberships[edit]

Graves was a member of the House Congressional Chicken Caucus, the House General Aviation Caucus, the Joint Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, the House Congressional Balanced Budget Amendment Caucus, the House Republican Study Committee[50] and the House Congressional Diabetes Caucus.[51]

Political positions[edit]

Economic issues[edit]

Tax reform[edit]

Graves supports tax reform and voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[52] He called the act "a Christmas present for every American family and business," and believes "Americans will start taking home more of their hard-earned money as soon as February."[53]

Barack Obama[edit]

In 2016, Graves called President Barack Obama a "dictator" and said that Obama "exceeded his authority" regarding gun laws.[54]

Social issues[edit]


Graves supports banning federal health coverage and any federal funds from funding abortions, including Affordable Care Act insurance coverage. He opposes abortions being used in sex- or race-selection. He opposes funding Planned Parenthood.[55]


Graves has a "B" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related legislation.[56]


Graves introduced the Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act "to provide a defense to prosecution for fraud and related activity in connection with computers for persons defending against unauthorized intrusions into their computers, and for other purposes".[57]

Personal life[edit]

Graves and his wife Julie, a schoolteacher, have three children together. They are active members of Belmont Baptist Church in Calhoun, Georgia.[58]


  1. ^ a b "Tom Graves: Winner". Wall Street Journal. 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Karissa Stewart (April 27, 2011). "Ranger's most unlikely politician Tom Graves reflects on his first year in Congress". Northwest Georgia News. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  3. ^ Aaron Gould Sheinin (August 11, 2011). "Attorney for Graves, Rogers: Bank is at Fault". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on May 30, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Jeremy Redmon; Aaron Gould Sheinin (August 11, 2011). "Attorneys for Graves, Rogers, bank refuse to disclose settlement details". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  5. ^ Rachel Goff (August 12, 2011). "UPDATE: Lawsuit against Graves dismissed". The Calhoun Times. Archived from the original on April 20, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  6. ^ "In failed hotel venture, Ga. Republicans appear to cut loan nearly in half". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. March 27, 2012. Archived from the original on July 7, 2015. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  7. ^ "GA State House 010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  8. ^ "GA State House 012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  9. ^ "GA State House 012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  10. ^ "GA State House 012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  11. ^ "Rep. Graves gets appointment as 'Hawk' in House". Calhoun Times. January 27, 2007. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  12. ^ Ashe Schow (December 6, 2011). "CONGRESSIONAL PROFILE: REP. TOM GRAVES (R-GA)". Congressional Profile. Heritage Action for America. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  13. ^ "Georgia's political leaders react to SOTU". Atlanta Business Chronicle. January 25, 2010. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  14. ^ Urvaksh Karkaria (February 8, 2010). "Tax credits sought for startups, jobs". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  15. ^ "Graves to announce JOBS Act today". The Calhoun Times. January 27, 2010. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  16. ^ Ashley Speagle (January 24, 2010). "Lawmakers to look at boosting jobs". The Times Free Press. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  17. ^ Chris Kromm (May 1, 2012). "The South's ALEC All-Stars". Facing South. Institute for Southern Studies. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  18. ^ Jacqueline Bodnar (November 12, 2012). "Freedomworks Endorses Tom Graves for Republican Study Committee Chairman". States News Service. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  19. ^ David Espo (June 9, 2010). "Politics; Narrow defeats, stunning victories". Charlestown Gazette. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  20. ^ "Georgia Election Results". State of Georgia. June 8, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
  21. ^ Danielle Kurtzleben (August 10, 2010). "Graves and Hawkins Face off in Georgia Primary". US News. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  22. ^ "Election Results". State of Georgia. November 2, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
  23. ^ a b Kristina Peterson (June 19, 2014). "Kevin McCarthy Enlists Conservative Graves for Nomination Speech". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
  24. ^ a b Marin Cogan; John Bresnahan (October 17, 2011). "Tom Graves: A rising house star or big headache?". Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  25. ^ "US Rep. Graves advances in 14th District primary". Associated Press. July 31, 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  26. ^ "Georgia Congressional District 14 election results". November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  27. ^ "GA - Election Results".
  28. ^ "GA - Election Results".
  29. ^ Graves, Tom. "Campaign Archive".
  30. ^ "Who I voted for". Campaign Archive.
  31. ^ Bluestein, Greg; Journal-Constitution, The Atlanta. "'I hate this county.' Democratic House candidate convicted of DUI unloads on cops". ajc.
  32. ^ Scholtes, Jennifer (December 5, 2019). "Tom Graves announces retirement, citing 'new season in life'". Politico. Washington, D.C. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  33. ^ Parker, Collins (October 2, 2020). "Rep. Tom Graves farewell statement to Congress". WDEF. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  34. ^ "Inside Congress". February 19, 2011. Archived from the original on November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  35. ^ "National Journal".
  36. ^ Jessica Rodgers (June 18, 2013). "U.S. House Passes Bill to Protect Unborn in Sixth Month and Later; National Right to Life Commends Seven Georgia Lawmakers". Christian Newswire. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  37. ^ "Endorsements". RTL PAC.
  38. ^ Ralph Reed (June 9, 2010). "The Year of the (Conservative) Woman". Faith and Freedom Coalition. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  39. ^ a b Tim Alberta (November 5, 2013). "The Man Behind the Campaign to Defund Obamacare". National Journal. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  40. ^ Crawford, Tom. "Graves gets comfy with leadership". Gareport. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  41. ^ "SEN. ISAKSON, REP. GRAVES INTRODUCE THE HOME ACT TO HELP AMERICANS KEEP THEIR HOMES" (Press release). US Federal News Service. October 7, 2011. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  42. ^ "Tom Graves". On The Issues. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  43. ^ Katherine Rosario (February 20, 2014). "TOM GRAVES: TEA ACT MEANS BETTER ROADS WITHOUT RAISING TAXES". Heritage Action for America. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  44. ^ "Water Resources and Reform Act". August 23, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  45. ^ "Savannah Harbor Expansion Project". US Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  46. ^ "Polis, Yoder Bipartisan Email Privacy Amendment Unanimously Adopted in Committee Amendment Ensures 4th Amendment Protections Cover Emails" (Press release). July 18, 2013. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  47. ^ Susan Percy (February 2015). "Political notes: February 2015". Georgia Trend. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
  48. ^ Daniel Malloy (January 15, 2015). "Tom Graves scores spot on defense spending panel". AJC. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  49. ^ "Defense Subcommittee". Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  50. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  51. ^ "US Rep Tom Graves Profile". Voices for Vinyl Legislative Action Center. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  52. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  53. ^ Spigolon, Tom. "West Georgia reps on opposing sides of tax bill's final House vote". West Georgia Neighbor. MDJOnline. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  54. ^ Graves, Tom. "Rep. Tom Graves Statement on Obama Gun Control Efforts". Northwest Georgia News. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  55. ^ "Tom Graves on Abortion". On The Issues. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  56. ^ "Georgia Scorecard". NORML. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  57. ^ "Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act". Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  58. ^ Staff (January 5, 2011). "Ten Southern Baptists sworn in as new reps". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on December 26, 2014. Retrieved December 25, 2014.

External links[edit]

Georgia House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tom Shanahan
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
from the 10th district

Succeeded by
Benjamin Bridges
Preceded by
Jeff Lewis
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
from the 12th district

Succeeded by
Rick Jasperse
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Nathan Deal
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Doug Collins
Preceded by
New constituency
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 14th congressional district

Succeeded by
Marjorie Taylor Greene
New office Ranking Member of the House Modernization Committee