From staff reports
Former state representative Tom Graves of Ranger was sworn in Monday night as a member of the 111th Congress on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Graves, a Republican, defeated fellow Republican Lee Hawkins in a special election runoff on June 8.
Graves was introduced by fellow Georgians, U.S. Reps. Jack Kingston and John Lewis. The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi administered the oath of office.
Graves’ three young children accompanied him on the floor while his wife and approximately 60 supporters watched from the House gallery, his office said.
The seat became open when Nathan Deal resigned to concentrate on his run for governor. Graves is one of six Republicans, including Hawkins, in the July 20 GOP primary for the 9th District’s full two-year term that would begin next year. No Democrats qualified.
In prepared remarks for his first speech before the House, Graves said, “As one who didn’t grow up in wealth or politics but quite the opposite, very simple beginnings, in a single wide trailer on a tar and gravel road in the backwoods of North Georgia, I am here now, paying tribute to my parents who couldn’t give me the material things in life but instead loved me dearly and encouraged me to dream big, work hard and achieve much.
“While I am standing before you today as a freshman member, I am also the freshest voice from the campaign trail. And the message from the hills of North Georgia is clear: less spending, a balanced budget, personal responsibility, empower the people.
“While the challenges are great across this nation the will and the constitution of her people are greater. You know, my dad was right. If we as a nation dream big, work hard, we can achieve much. So on behalf of Georgia (District) 9 I’m here to go to work.”