The governor and Georgia’s soon-retired U.S. senator were among those who praised U.S. Rep. Tom Graves for his work in Congress following his announcement he will not seek re-election to the congressional seat that represents Paulding County.
Graves, R-Ranger, said Dec. 5 he will not seek re-election in November 2020 to a sixth term representing Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, a 12-county northwest Georgia district that includes Paulding and Floyd counties.
He cited the desire to “join my family in their new and unique journeys” as his children reached adulthood and his wife neared retirement.
Graves, 49, also said in a letter to constituents, “The whole of my service was built upon the contributions of countless people; sacrifices of my family, late nights and long days from dozens of dedicated staff members, friendship of my colleagues, generosity of supporters and encouragement from constituents.
“Now it’s my turn to cheer, support and sacrifice for those who have done the same for me over the last two decades,” he said.
Paulding Commission Chairman David Carmichael said Graves helped “move the ball forward” to help the county gain needed federal permits for construction of the $200 million Richland Creek Reservoir.
The reservoir will allow the county to use its own reservoir as its primary source of water rather than relying solely on Cobb County.
Carmichael, who served in the Marine Corps, said Graves also worked to help veterans and active military members on the House Appropriations Committee through his support of expanding VA services and additions to bases.
Gov. Brian Kemp said Graves “has been a strong, conservative leader for Georgia both in the General Assembly and the U.S. House, and the Kemp family thanks him for years of dedicated service.”
Kemp was a member of the state Senate when Graves served in the state House from 2003 to 2010.
“Having served with Tom, I’ve seen firsthand his commitment to championing the values and principles that make our state and nation great,” Kemp said.
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who on Dec. 31 is retiring for health reasons, said Graves “has given so much to Georgia throughout his service in the Georgia General Assembly and in Congress.”
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Tom Graves. His rise in the U.S. House reflects his leadership and his commitment to serving others,” Isakson said.
“He is one of a kind — a great Georgian, a great American and a great representative of our state. I’ve been proud to stand with him to fight for Georgians, and I’m proud to call him my friend.
“While I am sorry he will not be seeking re-election in 2020, I am confident that he will have great success in whatever role he may choose to take on next.”
A native of Florida, Graves grew up in Bartow County and graduated from Cass High School and the University of Georgia.
Graves said he first ran for office after watching his wife, Julie, lead a “pro-life effort” — which was a group opposing an abortion clinic, according to a biography on his website.
After being elected to the state House of Representatives in 2002, Graves served until being chosen in a special election in 2010 to represent Georgia’s 9th Congressional District after Nathan Deal resigned to run for governor.
After redistricting, Graves was re-elected in 2012 to represent the new 14th Congressional District.