5 Questions with Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA)
We continue our Member of the Week segment with a questionnaire with the Congressman. We want you to know the most conservative members of Congress on both a professional and personal level because it’s important to see them as real people, not just politicians. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) answers 5 questions, some policy oriented and some personal:
Heritage Action: What aspect of government (i.e., program, department, agency) do you want to reform the most? What legislation are you currently pushing or working on to achieve that reform?
Rep. Graves: I would like to see a government that is less intrusive in the lives of the American people and gives more power back to the states. I’ve introduced legislation called the Transportation Empowerment Act (TEA Act), which would shift the majority of federal highway program responsibilities to the states, allowing them to keep more of their gas tax revenues and set their own infrastructure priorities. Currently, there are 26 states that send more money to Washington than they receive from the Highway Trust Fund, including Georgia. By transferring authority to the states over a four year period, and reducing the federal gas tax from eighteen point four to three point seven cents per gallon, states will be able to spend these funds as they see fit to meet their needs. Legislation like this demonstrates that we can eliminate parts of the federal government in a responsible way and encourage Congress to ask where else we can roll back some of the activities of the federal government and give that power back to the states.
HA: What’s a piece of smaller legislation, or nominee, that is currently on the agenda but flying under the radar that you feel conservatives should be concerned about?
Rep. Graves: What I hear from entrepreneurs in my district is how regulations coming out of the Obama Administration are impinging upon their ability to run their businesses. The White House has added hundreds of regulations, circumventing the legislative process. And these rules and regulations have a real impact on the people doing business in my district. I see and hear about this first hand. This week, the House will be voting on the REINS Act, which would require Congressional approval before new rules could be implemented by the Executive branch. This is a good step in the right direction.
HA: What do you enjoy the most and the least about being a Member of Congress?
Rep. Graves: I really enjoy building relationships with the people in my district. I am learning so much from meeting business leaders and other citizens in north Georgia. You find out very quickly that people are good. They want to work hard. They want to run their businesses without a lot of interference from the federal government. We get a lot of great ideas from our constituents. For example, the idea for the HOME Act, which is legislation I am sponsoring in the House that lets people use money penalty-free from their retirement accounts to help save their homes from foreclosure, came from a meeting I had with my constituents last year. On the flip side, it is very hard being away from my family. I am up in Washington whenever Congress is in session, while my wife and three children stay home in Georgia. The separation can be tough.
HA: What is your favorite thing to do when you are not in Washington?
Rep. Graves: I love being home on the farm. When I am home in Ranger, Georgia, I love to be outside working on the land. I love mowing the grass in the spring and trimming back trees in the fall. This past summer, I spent a week of vacation building a stone wall on our land. I love seeing the tangible results of good, honest work.
HA: What do you miss most about being a kid?
Rep. Graves: The further you get away from being a kid, the further you get away from that limitless imagination all children seem to have. The older you get, the more choices you’ve made, the farther you’ve traveled along your path, and the more responsibilities you have. When you’re a child, it seems like there is no limit to what you can do. It’s the ultimate freedom.
Congressional Profile: Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA)