Developing: Preston Smith Calls out Senate Leadership

I’m getting word that State Senator Preston Smith gave a 20-minute speech ripping Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Senate Leadership. He spoke of how Republican leadership in the Georgia Senate has failed. He claims he was stripped of his chairmanship for voting against the Hospital bed tax.

We’ll see if we can’t get a transcript of the speech or a video up soon.

Update: The AJC’s Ernie Suggs has some excerpts from Smith’s speech:

Smith said that for his objection to the so-called “Sick Tax,” he was punished by party leaders, who stripped him of the chairmanship of the powerful judiciary committee.

Smith said as a Republican he is committed to not voting for a tax increase, which he considers HB 307 to be.

“I have been a loyal member of my team,” Smith said in a lengthy address from the well. “They handed down public punishment., I am compelled to make a public statement.”

HB 307 would impose a hospital tax to help fill a $600 million gap in Medicaid funding. The 1.45 percent tax on patient revenue could raise about $170 million.

Smith said that if he cannot vote for the people he represents, then he is useless as a lawmaker.

He specifically called out Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, and Senate President Pro Temp Tommie Williams as the chief punishers.

The best quote of all:

“Take the chairmanship and give it to a puppet,” Smith said.

Update by Chris: You can read Senator Smith’s remarks here.


  1. Annie Ethel says:

    For pure entertainment value, and because I’ve had to deal with child prostitution bills, liked the prostitute/pimp line best –

  2. I’ll say the same thing I said when Richardson punished people (Tom Graves and others) who stood up to him over the DOT Board elections: Grassroots Republicans didn’t bust their hindparts getting these turkeys elected to have them pull crap like this. If a person gets punished for voting his conscience then we’re no better than what we accused Tom Murphy, Roy Barnes and all those other Democrats of being.

    • Icarus says:

      Buzz just stated in one paragraph why I started and why I’ve kept blogging.

      This isn’t the government we worked for. It’s the one we worked against, under new management.

          • Jeff says:


            If only we had 230+ Austin Scotts and Preston Smiths, we would quite possibly be in a MUCH more bearable State.

            • polisavvy says:

              I just wish the voters would realize this come July 20th. Rumor has it that session may not end until the week of May 3rd. Really making it tough on some candidates. A great game they are playing.

              • Jeff says:

                EWWWWWWW!!!!! GOD NO!!!!

                Karen just LOVES to flagrantly violate any law she happens to disagree with, even when it *disenfranchises LEGAL voters*.

              • NGaMtnGOP says:

                Seriously RL,we have enough high school drop outs in Georgia. More college graduates will bring better class of jobs to Georgia.

                • Republican Lady says:

                  As she has said countless times, she is not a highschool drop out. I don’t know who started that rumor but that is all it is, a rumor than a few people choose to believe.

          • Kathy Hildebrand says:

            I agree with all of you. I see it over and over. Duly elected by your district, but blackballed by your leadership, your colleagues. Why? Because you vote your own conscience or have your own opinion and don’t play Chicago-style politics or 2nd-grade playground payback stuff. Power is a strange thing. But I’d really like to see more grassroots folks, tea party people, and sitting legislators like Preston Smith say outloud and without fear: “Enough is enough! We’re not as impressed with your power as YOU are!”

  3. HollyJ says:

    Wow! Something we haven’t seen come from the legislature in a while: a spine. I wish I could vote for him.

  4. There’s more to the story here I’m told. I need to get more confirmation but I’m told Chip Rogers and Tommie Williams were not in favor of these “punishments.”

    I have a feeling a war is about to break out on the GOP side of the Senate.

  5. In The Arena says:

    Let’s not forget about his 11th hour speech on Sine Die 09. The man breathes fire. Senator Smith needs to be governor. The sooner the better.

    • Mozart says:

      Not all people who make good speeches are necessarily qualified to lead a state. There’s a lot more to leadership than appearing to be a good leader by way of making speeches.

  6. Doug Deal says:

    The leadership under Cagle has been dismal at the very best.

    The place is so loaded with puppets, if you added some Taiko drums and some chanters, they could charge.admission to their very own Bunraku theater.


    It’s a “sad” day when you can’t vote for ideologies. Chicago style politics have found its way to the Georgia Senate.

  8. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    Way to go, Preston! We are proud of you!

    I will be very disappointed if I find out Sen. Rogers was in favor of the punishment. I hope to find out it was Cagle alone who did this, otherwise, Sen. Rogers isn’t the man I thought he was.

  9. VeryFast says:

    Preston Smith is one of the finest we have in the State Senate. We are proud of you. Cagle must go.

  10. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    I have tried to like Mr. Williams but knowing what I know , well I just can’t. He was a missionary so I guess I am headed straight to hell.

    I am due in court but I plan to say something witty and maybe significant about this later. If I lose and I doubt it, then much later. I will be at our only Irish Pub that is really not that Irish.

  11. MariettaLegal says:

    Please tell me where to send a donation to Sen Smith’s Lt Gov campaign…it will be 4 digits

  12. The Comma Guy says:

    I too would like the chance to vote for Sen Smith on a state-wide level. Especially if the suggestions about Cagle and Deal are true.

    Also, notice that the tax increase did not just cost Smith his chair. Mitch Seabaugh is out of a job too.

  13. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    It is really bad when we lose watch dogs under that gold dome because of a few rotten bas….can I write that? I was gonna write bastards and their egos along with inside deals. Cutting those people that stood for their convictions instead of going along to get along is a shame. Why isn’t this considered an ethics violation? Screw the tax payers, you do what we say or you are gone is what they are saying. This is no surprise tho, Georgia politics has always worked this way with both dems and repubs

    • Harry says:

      They jump through the hoops for lobbyists and at end of session collect the “pledges”. Cagle is but one example. I’m hoping voters start to realize it’s about the money.

  14. Howard Roark says:

    Just in from Political Vine.

    Does Thou Protest TOO Much, Senator Smith?

    The morning newspapers around the state are going to go ballistic tomorrow morning with the BIG story about Senator Preston Smith’s taking to the well of the Senate today and orally presenting this speech.

    Over here in PV Land (i.e., the part of the blogosphere that does not have a symbiotic/servile relationship with the AJC other blogs appear to have in that sickeningly-sweet Ipecac syrup way), we take more of a “That’s interesting…wonder what else is going on…” approach.

    Rumor has it that Senator Smith had a meeting he personally requested of Lt. Governor Cagle this morning whereby, at the end, he told Casey that he had recorded the conversation on a tape recorder.

    In the meeting this morning, it is rumored Senator Smith was actually asking Cagle for his leadership position back from having personally resigned a week or so ago.

    SO…rather than seeing all the accusations fly right, left, and zip around the Gold Dome in elliptical orbits, PV would like to ask of the senator from District 52 if he is going to be willing to release that recording in its entirety with absolutely no editing/doctoring whatsoever?

    See, it’s better this way, rather than us taking only Senator Smith’s side of the coin.

    Let’s all hear the conversation, Senator. What do you have to lose?

        • Jeff says:

          I don’t know about the boys here at PP, but if it exists and becomes public, I’ll see what I can do about posting it on my own site. Again though, Simon isn’t exactly the most reliable source out there.

          • Mozart says:

            That’s twice in two posts you’ve mentioned Mr. Simon. Apparently, you’ve got a tic of some sort whenever you think about him. What’d he do to you?

            • Jeff says:

              Water under the bridge that I’m not going to discuss here unless someone else brings it out. Feel free to email me at 2010campaigns at jefferysexton dot com and I’ll tell you privately. It is neither here nor there for this discussion though. Suffice it to say that he was fairly severely compromised.

      • Mozart says:

        He’s NOT???? Guess I’ll tell my wife to cancel the ceremonial ball she was planning to induct Barrow properly into the GOP.

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