Tommy Smith becomes first candidate for House speaker

State Rep. Tommy Smith (R-Nicholls), a former Democrat and 30-year member of the House, just walked into our offices and announced himself as the first candidate to replace Speaker Glenn Richardson.

Smith promised to eliminate the “hawk” system that allowed the speaker to pack committees with ex officio members in order to move legislation he backed through the system. “I think that was really against representative government,” Smith said.

The south Georgia lawmaker, a blueberry farmer, also said he would end the system introduced by Richardson that prohibited many bills from being amended on the House floor, after receiving the approval of the Rules Committee. The policy heightened the influence of House Rules Chairman Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) and frustrated Democrats – and many rank-and-file Republicans worried about the concentration of power.

Smith also said he was interested in a proposal by Secretary of State Karen Handel to make the Legislature subject to the state Open Records Act, in order to increase transparency of influence on the two chambers. “That’s one of the things I’m looking at,” he said.

While some might look lightly on Smith’s candidacy, the changes he’s proposing are worth a hard look – and are likely to be major topics in both the Republican caucus elections and a House floor vote.

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17 comments Add your comment

[...] Galloway suggests that “some might look lightly on Smith’s candidacy[.]” He’s right, and [...]

Why limit this

December 8th, 2009
3:54 pm

Tommy Smith will get one vote…his own

The Ghost of Tom Murphy

December 8th, 2009
4:03 pm

Not so fast….the lobbyists who run the show simply haven’t made up their minds yet.

When the utility companies, the health care lobbyists, and the tobacco and alcohol reps have made up their minds who the new Speaker will be, they’ll let us know.

Until then, they are not one bit nervous….different face, but same old power behind the scenes.


December 8th, 2009
4:05 pm

I’m not a Republican, but I like this guy.

Intown lib

December 8th, 2009
4:05 pm

A repub who isn’t a jerk. I like him. Does he sell his blueberries up here in Atlanta?


December 8th, 2009
4:12 pm

So far, I’m liking Tommy’s interests.

South Georgia Sucks

December 8th, 2009
4:22 pm

We don’t need anymore politicians from South Georgia running the show. It’s time for the economic engine of this state (Metro Atlanta) to be in charge. South Georgia politics are the root of the traffic and infrastructure growth issues we have around here. How many 4-lane roads are really needed to get to Valdosta, Albany, Tifton and Waycross?

Billy D. Wilson

December 8th, 2009
4:26 pm

Maybe the Dems will take advantage of a divided Republican caucus and elect a Metro Atlanta Democrat as Speaker.


December 8th, 2009
4:31 pm

South Georgia Sucks….that’s a really ignorant comment. Middle/South Georgia is home to the largest economic engine in the state, which happens to be Robins Air Force Base. Many commute from the, “precious perimeter” to work in Middle and South Georgia. Perhaps that is why roads are needed! How much money does the state need to pump into an area where two-thirds of the population live and work. Shouldn’t you be able to pay taxes to your local governments to improve your roads and schools?


December 8th, 2009
4:33 pm

Was a Dem most of his career and when the power swung he all of a sudden found the religion of being a republican. Do not think he should be the next speaker.


December 8th, 2009
4:33 pm

he was not much of a player as dem, hard to think he has chance as repub…….fond of pork barrel spending, at least he has some good ideas

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

December 8th, 2009
5:07 pm

“Single largest industrial complex” does not make it the single largest economic engine. 26000 people does not beat 5 MILLION, most of whom are routinely ignored by the Gold Dome Brothers Circus.


December 8th, 2009
5:11 pm

LOL Wade! Hartsfield Jackson International Airport is far and above the largest economic engine in the state. Further more metro Atlanta dwarfs every other region in Georgia. Its not even close.

YES!!!! We should be able to provide the roads and infrastructure for our own roads with our own tax dollars. Thats exactly the point. 35% of all taxes collected in metro Atlanta go to other parts of the state. HIGHWAY ROBBERY! Literally.

How about the rest of the state get off their entitlement mentality while Atlanta plays catch up?


December 8th, 2009
6:06 pm

South Ga Sucks for Speaker! Amen! Georgia without Atlanta would be…Mississippi. Enough of these good ole boys and their pathetic hangers-on who think they are some-damn-body cuz they are in the state house. Little fishies in a big pond, and the pants are clearly too big for them.


December 8th, 2009
6:43 pm

Someone tell me this a joke!

Screw Up Birther, Deather,

December 8th, 2009
6:55 pm

No doubt Tommy is in the wrong political party again! Let’s hope his next political venture is not the Glenn Beck “Looney” phony Republican Tea Party……..

[...] Speaker chase was Tommy Smith, whom AJC’s Political Insider Jim Galloway credits as being the first entrant. Smith, an unknown who had many questions of “Who??” and “What????” [...]