published Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves boosts Ringgold

by Andy Johns
U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., responds to a question from Danielle Hooper during a town hall-type meeting Monday at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School in Ringgold, Ga.
U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., responds to a question from Danielle Hooper during a town hall-type meeting Monday at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School in Ringgold, Ga.
Photo by Jake Daniels.
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RINGGOLD, Ga. — U.S. Rep. Tom Graves spent most of Monday railing against federal spending, but he tried to encourage private outlays.

Graves pledged at a town hall-type meeting in Fort Oglethorpe and a Catoosa County Republican Party meeting to continue fighting federal spending, but he also promoted businesses in Ringgold, which still is recovering from the April 27 tornado.

“Ringgold is open for business,” he said Monday.

Much of the discussion Monday was about the recent debate on the federal debt limit. Graves was an outspoken opponent of raising the limit and a supporter of a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget.

“Compromise is what got us in this mess, and it will not get us out,” he said.

Monday evening Catoosa County Republicans thanked Graves for having the “courage” to vote against the debt deal. Graves said there was significant pressure on him and other opponents to go along with House Speaker John Boehner’s plan, mentioning committee assignments and redistricting.

Graves compared voting against the party leadership to a space shuttle re-entering the atmosphere. He said hours before the debt vote, 36 house members said they would vote “no” but things got too hot for 14 lawmakers who changed their minds.

“All that stuff is being hammered on you,” he said. “There were 22 of us that held together.”

The crowd applauded some of Graves’ statements on eliminating federal agencies, placing time limits on bureaucrats and repealing President Barack Obama’s federal health care overhaul.

But while most of the crowd was supportive, a few at the town hall questioned Graves.

Rising Fawn, Ga., resident Ginnie Sams challenged the congressman on his statements that shrinking the federal government and its expenditures would create private sector jobs. Sams said that many companies rely on federal contracts and losing those deals would lead companies like Lockhead to lay off employees.

“[Cutting] affects the spending, but it also affects the businesses,” Sams argued.

Graves replied that any money the government spends has to come from somewhere.

“Where they’re taking it from is the job creators in the private sector,” he said.

He drew applause when he reiterated his stance as a “free market capitalist.”

Sams said General Motors became extremely profitable after its bailout but left the microphone to a murmur of boos and nos.

Graves toured downtown Ringgold, stopping at Cochran’s Furniture and Price Pharmacy.

He spoke with Cindie Robinson, who runs Uniktings jewelry and gift shop on Nashville Street.

“How’s business?” Graves asked, standing next to a display of bees wax lotions.

“Honestly?” Robinson asked hesitantly. “Terrible. I still get calls — people wanting to know if downtown Ringgold is open.”

In a speech from the House floor last month that aired on C-SPAN, Graves encouraged lawmakers and others traveling Interstate 75 to visit the Catoosa County town to help the recovery.

Graves has a meeting scheduled today at 6 p.m. at the Dalton Depot and another at 6 p.m. on Aug. 16 at the Murray County Senior Center.

Contact Andy Johns at or 423-757-6324.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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terrybham said...

If he really believed the drivel he spouts he would donate his Federal salary to the US Treasury. Do you have any idea how much taxpayer's money he gets every year? I am certain his Federal pay is more than the amount that 99% of the people in his district make. Enough said!

August 9, 2011 at 11:50 a.m.
callison said...

Rep. Graves has shown a lack of understanding in basic government. The "courage" to vote against the debt ceiling? How are there people out there that still don't understand that the debt ceiling is to pay for previously incurred debts? Against federal spending? Then raise the debt ceiling and don't pass anymore spending bills. The fact that he's still talking about this and touts it as a point of pride is embarrassing.

August 10, 2011 at 2:20 p.m.
onetinsoldier said...

When you hire a fool, you can expect foolishness. Tom Graves couldn't successfully run a motel and you think he has a clue about running the largest economy in the world.

Tom Graves says that the North Georgia Bank should have never loaned him the money he is being sued for because they should have known he couldn't repay it.

Translation; The people of North Georgia should have never voted for Tom Graves because we should have known he was incapable of doing the job.

August 11, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.
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