After 32 years in the Legislature, State Representative Tommy Smith will not be seeking reelection to the Georgia House of Representatives. Smith said that he is strongly considering a race for Governor in the year 2018. He plans to devote at least five and a half years to the campaign, in order to organize an effective political network throughout the state, and to raise the necessary funds required to win the election.
The veteran legislator has indicated for some time now that he probably would not seek a 17th term to the Georgia House. Smith says that he pretty much made up his mind after being reelected State Representative in 2010 not to seek reelection in 2012. This would allow him to begin devoting his time and energy in developing a grass roots organization within every county in the state, in preparation for the 2018 Governor’s race, after serving out his current term which ends in January of 2013. Between now and 2018 he plans to personally visit and meet the people in every incorporated town in Georgia. His goal is to put together an army of like minded voters from all parts of Georgia, not only to bring about victory on election night, but also to be active participants in helping to change how state government works once the election has been won.
Smith began his career in the Georgia General Assembly during January of 1979 and has faced opposition only twice since that time. In1992 and 1998 he fought back challenges winning by nearly a two to one margin in both elections.
Smith says he has been laying the groundwork for the Governor’s race for several months, but does not plan to make a final decision or formal announcement until sometime later. The South Georgia legislator says his campaign for Governor would be a blend of the almost lost art of the old time grass roots organizing, as well as the technique of using the latest modern technology. Smith believes that in order for any candidate to be successful in a state wide election, he needs to have a strong base in rural Georgia, and also run well in the voter rich counties of metro Atlanta and other urban areas of the state.
Over the last three decades, Representative Smith has developed strong ties with a number of socially conservative organizations in Atlanta and throughout the rest of Georgia. Since his first term in the House, he has been a reliable and consistent voice for traditional values and conservative ideals.
Most recently, during the 2012 legislative session, Representative Smith helped develop a coalition of Georgia’s Tea Parties, Georgia Right to Life, Georgia Conservatives in Action, along with other groups such as Common Cause of Georgia, Georgia Watch Dog, and the Georgia League of Women Voters in support of legislation authored by Smith, which placed limits on the amount of gifts lobbyists can give to legislators and other state officials. Georgia is only one of three states that currently has no such restriction. Smith’s legislation HB 1105 had several cosigners, both Republican and Democrat.
While Smith’s bipartisan bill was not allowed to come to the floor for a vote, the ethics reform movement sparked a great deal of attention within the Georgia news media, especially in the Atlanta area.
Recently, both the state Republican convention and the state Democratic convention voted to have the matter placed on their respective ballots in this year’s upcoming Georgia primaries. The vote will be non binding, but will let the members of the General Assembly know how the voters of Georgia feel about this issue. A poll conducted by the Atlanta Journal and Constitution has shown that Georgians overwhelming support restrictions on gifts given to elected officials by registered lobbyists.
Smith says a cornerstone of his campaign for Governor would be to reduce the influence of government over our everyday lives, and to ensure that Georgia is governed by the people, rather than the special interests of the state. He also will require the various departments of state government to maintain a servant attitude and constituent friendly response, when contacted by the citizens of Georgia, who after all, he says, are the ones paying their salary.
Representative Smith believes that both Georgia and America would do well to heed the wise counsel found within the Bible in the book of Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”