Roll Call has an interview with Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA-14) posted on their blog. It gives you a perspective into how a staunch conservative from one of the most conservative districts in the Union can work with leadership to advance the conservative cause:
Graves’ colleagues and congressional aides point to his ascent as an example of the maturation of the rambunctious tea party class of 2010 (of which Graves is an honorary member, having joined Congress in a special election just months prior to the wave). His evolution, they say, was spurred by a stinging loss in the 2012 race to chair the conservative Republican Study Committee, despite an endorsement by the group’s founders.
He was on the outs with leadership just months ago, but Graves now inhabits a rare and coveted status on the Hill, drawing accolades from both leadership and outside conservative groups — two camps that have publicly sparred in recent months. Whether he can maintain the middle ground in the long-term has yet to be tested.
In a recent interview in his congressional office, Graves said he is intent on preserving his conservative edge — even with a leadership position on the committee stacked with proud compromisers and deal-cutters who most often attract the intraparty scorn of tea party boosters. The key, he said, is a move from continuing spending to cutting it.
Some conservatives, I’d say a definite minority, in the 14th District aren’t happy with Congressman Graves because of his willingness to actually work with his Republican colleagues and leadership. I believe it’s a mature approach rather than pushing your fellow Republicans in front of the bus like one junior senator from Texas seems to enjoy doing.
The Congressman’s actions are similar to what we observed in the state House of Representatives during the 2000s: Graves was willing to work with leadership to advance conservative legislation, but he was also willing to stand up against leadership when he believed it was not in the best interest of his constituents and Georgians. He’s kept his word and carried those principles with him to Washington, and now he has the opportunity to influence federal spending by serving as chairman of a subcommittee that gets to direct those dollars.
Kudos to Congressman Graves.