Return of the Watchdog

State Representative Tom Graves (R-Ranger) is bringing back the 216 Policy Group. Georgia faces tough issues this year and the 2010 General Assembly will need real leadership to drive the changes Georgia needs to progress. The 216 Policy Group will be the watchdog of the House to make sure that the General Assembly works towards better government.

“The 216 Policy Group believes that less government is better government.  And having a principled based belief system is a compass that helps to guide our decision making, because above all, we were elected to do one thing: put principles before politics.” – State Rep. Tom Graves

Back in 2008, the 216 Policy Group was dissolved. This group of conservative legislators played an influential role in key policy areas and votes including budget, appropriations, taxes, education, health care, insurance, immigration and government reform.

The 216 Policy Group ruffled the feathers of the House’s previous leadership. This group rallied against wasteful spending bills and never turned a blind eye to back room deals, but as the behavior within the House grew worse, support for the group diminished. We now look at a new House and new leadership. Speaker Ralston and the new leadership team seem to have tacitly opened the door for  a 216 Policy Group comeback.

With all that has gone on in the Georgia Legislature (the resignation of the Speaker and Speaker Pro Tem, deals with lobbyists, and overall culture of corruption), it is time for a watchdog to return to restore a sense of ethical and efficient government. The landscape has changed with new leadership in Speaker RalstonSpeaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, and Majority Whip Ed Lindsey but Georgia’s problems with the budget, transportation, water, appropriations, etc. remain. The 216 Policy Group is reforming to, once again, take the reigns of conservative leadership and steer Georgia’s House back in the “right” direction.

The 216 Policy Group could play a major role in the 2010 Georgia General Assembly. Committee positions have been set and the session is set to kickoff strong. Votes on the above mentioned issues will be crucial to the health of our state. It’s a good time for this group to be back.


    • GeorgiaValues says:

      Way to go Tom! As usual, doing what’s right and leading the charge.

      Tom Graves will be the next congressman from the 9th, and he is exactly what we need during these trying times.

      Prepare for the Phatbeard’s “Lee’s running away with this race” nonsense.

      • Captain Phatbeard says:

        I am not, and doubt that I ever will be, inclined or justified in making any such statement, which is probably why I’ve never said it.

        As somebody who remains open to voting for Graves despite your best efforts to convince me not to I politely ask you to be more civil.

          • Captain Phatbeard says:

            It certainly looks that way compared to the Graves cheerleaders here, I will grant you. But you may notice that I have not once suggested that somebody should vote for Hawkins or even that I think Hawkins will win.

            Do you think there may be a reason for that?

          • GOPGeorgia says:


            I’d accept you at your word. Either your mind is made up and you are lying about it (thus have no chance to be open) or you are really open. There’s nothing to be gained from attacking what you say your status is. Either you are open minded or you aren’t. Telling you that you aren’t won’t change anything. Now if someone were capable of proving that you aren’t, that would be a different story.

  1. IndyInjun says:

    The 216 Group was unappreciated and underutilized during the Richardson rule. Maybe this will change. It certainly should.

    I hope that they have the resources to be able to research alternatives and seek solutions for the dire financial conditions that the state faces.

    Good luck, Tom Graves.

    And thanks.

    • IndyInjun says:

      Good point. This is also true in DC with the Republican Study Committee under DeLay and Hastert. I remember RSC head Pence rolling over and loaying dead every time Bush asked him to.

      • NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

        I think it was more that they were targets when they were together, so they had less of a chance of getting good legislation passed. They officially disbanded, but they still independently operated with the same principles. It’s harder to target 20 individuals than one group. I’m sure it was also hard to get sponsors on some good pieces of legislation for fear that Richardson would shut you down too, even if you weren’t part of the 216 group.

        Whatever happened, none of the members stopped looking at the bills with their core principles in mind. I’m glad to see it officially back.

    • Mozart says:

      Richardson…Keen…Ehrhart…nobody in leadership gave a flying bat’s patootie about the ideas of the 216 Group.

      Thank you, Glenn, for self-destructing and clearing the way for REAL leadership and a newfound focus on fiscal conservative policies.

  2. RuralDem says:

    I’m sure that this sudden announcement has nothing to do with Graves’ run for Congress….

    I’m still wondering why the group disbanded in the first place.

    • Captain_Phatbeard says:

      I have wondered for a while how Graves reconciled his position on 216 with his position as one of Richardson’s hawks. Has he ever commented on this?

    • tarheel7 says:

      You seem to have forgotten that Graves was a member of the 216 long before he even considered running for Congress, and that his long and remarkable record of standing up for his principals over politics (which if you don’t remember cost him with Richardson) did not disappear even after the group disbanded.

  3. Captain_Phatbeard says:

    Given how badly the last week has gone for Graves’ congressional campaign he could use the good press this will get him.

    Evans’ withdrawal from the 9th District race has had a dramatic effect here in the east as many Evans supporters have consolidated behind Hawkins, especially in Forsyth and Hall. I have heard very little about anyone switching from Evans to Graves, and Graves has to know this, judging from the conversations he has had with people who have declined to support him.

    As for the West, my understanding is that Senator Mullis is behind Hawkins, and I know that former Evans staff member Kailor Gordy has outright joined the Hawkins campaign.

    • steelfist says:

      What are you talking about? Lee Hawkins has been missing from the campaign trail for weeks. He is staff quit and he had to hire a new campaign manager. Martha Zoller reported another candidate is about to drop out and the rumor around the 9th District is that it is Hawkins. Heard his fundraising is pit-a-ful at best. Graves is the only one running a real campaign.

      • Captain_Phatbeard says:

        I know for a fact that Hawkins is still campaigning as I have seen (and heard from) him myself. I asked point blank about the new campaign manager coming on board and was told that there wasn’t one before, only consultants. It sounds to me that between adding the campaign manager and Gordy, Hawkins is in to win. Staffing up is definitely not a sign of weakness in a campaign.

        I am not sure what campaign trail Hawkins has been missing from. I can only speak to what I’ve observed here in the last week or so, and it’s been vigorous to say the least. The phones in particular have been blazing about who has gotten overtures from Hawkins and who is going to support him.

        As for Zoller, if the candidate about to drop isn’t Stephens or Reese I will keelhaul my pirate hat and eat the tatters.

    • tarheel7 says:

      Not that I would expect to find exceptional knowledge in someone who either purposefully or unintentionally misspells the word “fat”, but it’s not only ridiculous to say that in any way is the Graves campaign going badly, it is also downright misinformed.

      I am also a little confused with your logic. You say that “Staffing up is definitely not a sign of weakness in a campaign.” which is certainly true. But then as an example of the new staff you cite Kailor Gordy who was part of the Evans campaign that just went down in flames. So exactly what kind of staff are you (who I assume are a campaign staff member yourself) “staffing up” with?

      • Captain Phatbeard says:

        Your assumption would be incorrect. I can truthfully tell you that I am not a staffer for any campaign, much less the Hawkins campaign. I’m just telling you what I am seeing.

        I don’t know much about the West side of the district or how well Gordy performed out there, but I would be very surprised if Evans’ withdrawal from the race had anything to do with his staff members. Fundraisers maybe, but probably not staff members.

    • appachtrail70 says:

      Wow, Hawkins is pulling out the big shots: Mullis and Kailor Gordy. I don’t know either of the two, but judging from Evan’s performance, why would Hawkins want them?!?!

  4. GOPGrassroots says:

    1. Lee’s campaign manager was his wife, as announced in a press release, now she’s been replaced by some lobbyist who used to live in Polo Fields.

    2. Josh Jones, Consultant who was “calling the shots”, is nowhere to be found (Forsyth GOP meeting last week no Hawkin’s presence). Real show of strength there.

    3. Lee hasn’t been seen since November, around the time he came in a distant 6th in the Walker County Straw Poll behind the formidable Tom Dooly and Steve Tarvin.

    The wheels are coming off, and all the campaign debt in the world won’t change that.

    • GeorgiaValues says:

      In it to win it…lol

      Tom Dooley 13
      Steve Tavin 16
      Mike Evans 35
      Jeremy Jones 25
      Tom Graves 80

      Lee Hawkins 9
      Bobby Reese 0
      Bert Loftman 2
      Bill Stephens 0

    • Captain Phatbeard says:

      If you’re trying to suggest that hiring a professional campaign manager instead of (or in addition to) the candidate’s wife is somehow a bad thing then I have to disagree with that. The campaign is for Congress, not PTA president. Hawkins should have had a professional campaign manager long ago, in my opinion, and that mistake has apparently been corrected.

      As to whether Hawkins is a serious candidate, the activity I’ve seen in the last few weeks convinces me a lot more than a two month old straw poll in the corner of the state where somebody no longer in the race placed 2nd. That’s just a fact. If straw polls were relevant Mitt Romney would have been the nominee. I am just here to tell you that a Walker County straw poll result does not matter to anybody over here, especially in Forsyth or Hall. Graves got a big win there, and nobody can (or should) take that away from him, but the fact of the matter is that while that is a big source of pride for the converted it just doesn’t matter to anybody outside of campaigns.

      As for Josh Jones, that boy has been in everybody’s ear in Forsyth county since the second the Evans announcement hit, almost to the point I am tired of hearing Jones’ name. But I will give him this — the support has built up in the last week and if that is his doing then good for him.

      This is not a defense of Hawkins or a knock on Graves; I disagree with Hawkins on several issues. I’m just telling you what I am seeing and hearing out in the real world outside of a campaign office.

  5. Jeff says:

    Good to hear. Other than a couple of truly bat-crap crazy members (you know, the kind that want a literal shooting war with the US Govt), from what I’ve seen of the group – and I came along after they had officially disbanded – it was pretty good and I welcome it back into official existence.

    Also rather interesting how many of its former members got decently significant bumps when the new committee rosters were released last week…

  6. GOPGeorgia says:

    First, I liked the 216 group and I am glad to see it going again.

    Second, I don’t think it’s accurate to blame the Evans campaign withdrawal on the race on Gordy. That seems a little silly to me. Gordy is a hard worker, a friend, and a very nice guy. I don’t know it for a fact, but I will accept at face value via posts on here that he’s been hired by Hawkins.

    Third, there has been a lot of campaign activity by several campaigns. There are 15 counties and just because you haven’t seen a candidate at one or two particular county GOP meetings doesn’t mean they aren’t working. Some speak to tea party groups, others to chambers of commerce, and some to different GOP county groups that meet at the same time as others. Food for thought.

    • appachtrail70 says:

      I don’t deny that Gordy is a nice guy and a hard worker, I just think its foolish for the pro-Hawkins people to argue that their campaign is gaining steam because they hired an ex Evans staffer.

      • Captain Phatbeard says:

        Apparently describing events I have personally observed makes me “pro-somebody” instead of “neutrally informed” when those observations are uncomfortable for your team.

        If somebody isn’t cheerleading for your team they apparently must be for the other side.

        I am simply telling you that Graves is in an election, not some sale at Best Buy where he takes a number and walks out with an HDTV. His campaign can ignore that fact at its peril, but I guarantee you it isn’t, because I know for a fact the response Graves has gotten in the last week or so.

        I frankly find it shocking that somebody can be called “pro-X” when they never once suggest voting for X.

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