Bill Hembree’s pitch for speaker to House Republicans

State Rep. Bill Hembree of Winston, one of several candidates for House speaker, sent the letter below to the Republican membership on Friday.

Hembree’s communication isn’t as detailed as the platform sent out by state Rep. Larry O’Neal sent to House members – no promises to do away with the hawk system or dissolve the speaker’s political action committee.

However, it’s fair to say that Hembree puts a larger emphasis on the moral issues raised by the Glenn Richardson situation. And like O’Neal, Hembree promises not to embarrass his colleagues:

In less than one week we will come together again to choose a new Speaker. This is an opportunity for each member of this caucus to vote their conscience and to put this week’s rhetoric into action. We cannot afford to continue down the path of talking about family values and ethics reform on the campaign trail but turn a blind eye at the State Capitol. It must end now and it must start in the Speaker’s office.

The 2010 Legislative Session is only a few weeks away and we know that it will present many challenges. The state’s budget will occupy much of our time but we will also have to address transportation, ongoing water issues, and joblessness just to name a few. With so much important to work be done, we cannot afford any further distractions or disgraces. We must clean up the House, clean up our image, and most importantly clean up our actions. We cannot allow the 2010 Legislative Session to begin with any questionable ethics charges lingering and overshadowing the work our constituents elected us to do.

I am asking again for your support and for your vote to lead the House as your next Speaker. I am a God fearing man and a family man first, and a state legislator second. I am not seeking this position for personal gain, power or prestige. I am asking for the honor of serving as your Speaker because I believe that now more than ever we need honest, ethical and moral leadership and I can provide just that leadership. I will not embarrass you, abuse the position or the authority entrusted to the office of the Speaker, pursue a personal agenda or use the services provided to the office to benefit myself or my family.

As your Speaker, I will be open and honest with you. I will make myself and my staff available to not only hear your concerns but to address them as well. As your Speaker, I will conduct myself in a manner that each member of this caucus, the Georgia House of Representatives and all of Georgia can take pride in and I will set the standard to be followed by others.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

18 comments Add your comment

[...] but does inject a more moralistic meme into the debate. A big chunk of the correspondence, as originally posted by Jim Galloway, is after the [...]


December 13th, 2009
4:23 pm

Frankly, I don’t understand how they instituted the “hawk” position in the first place. Y’all should google it. It’s so weird, and unique to GA politics, that’s it’s pretty hard to find documented. They passed it in 2005, and it basically allows the speaker to decide what does or does not get a vote, whether or not the appropriate committee thinks it’s worthwhile.

Think about that BS policy tomorrow morning when you’re sitting in &*#$( gridlock because they never got a transportation funding bill out of committee and onto the floor for a vote last year. Or the year before that. Or the year before that.

Mike Smith

December 13th, 2009
5:16 pm

It’s always been done in GA, the Speaker would just pack a committee with extra members if there was an issue, Richardson simply came up with a name for the committee packing

The Snark

December 13th, 2009
5:39 pm

Mike Smith:

You are completely, absolutely, 100% wrong. I’ve been to dozens of committee meetings over the last twenty years, and nothing like the “hawk” system has ever been used in the Georgia legislature until Richardson came up with it.

Ken in Eastman

December 13th, 2009
6:27 pm

The Snark,

The name is new, but under Tom Murphy (Do you really think there wasn’t a sleazy trick he didn’t appropriate or invent?) the state house leadership were ex-officio members of the committees and could show up to either bottle up or move along bills they wanted to affect. The result was the same.

In addition after Murphy’s multi-generational rule, the House just pretty much did as he told them.

I’m not defending the indefensible Richardson, but don’t give the Dems a free pass and white hats. They do not deserve it.

Mike Smith

December 13th, 2009
7:23 pm


That’s what I was referring to. Ex-Officio, Hawk, whatever. I agree, it doesn’t excuse it, but it’s not a new trick.

Most of those weren't true blue Democrats

December 13th, 2009
8:00 pm

Geographically the heart of the new Republican majority is pretty much the old dixiecrat heartland. The dixiecrats and later the boll weevil Democrats were regularly at odds with the national Democratic party. Georgia Republicans gained control of the State House as rural conservative Democrats retired or were beaten. Hell, the Senate flipped because of rural conservative party switchers. Many of those boll weevils in the 80s and 90s would have switched if they didn’t have to give up seniority and/or committee seats. Democrats would probably be happy to have some of those seats back, but for current Georgia Republicans to pretend Georgia had a Democratic majority-in the national since of the word-is misleading. The current Republican Party is geographically closer to the old southern democrats and many ways has more connections to the old south political machines than the current Democrats.


December 13th, 2009
8:03 pm

Yeah, something tells me that it really doesn’t matter who the next Speaker will be. The GOP will pass more tax cuts with the belief that doing so will create jobs and spur tax revenue…it will not and things will get worse in Georgia.

Then, in Nov. 2010, despite being a miserable failure of a governing body, every republican state legislative district will elect republicans again. Republicans will win the rest of the Constitutional offices except possibly the Labor Commissioner.

Nothing will change, the only progress the state will make will be the result of federal dollars making their way down here thanks to our Democratic Congressmen and our two GOP Senators that are forced to request extra money so their buddies in the House can pretend to be against earmarks.

Keep falling for it people…the bottom is getting closer every day.


December 13th, 2009
10:27 pm

Hembree’s call for “honest, ethical and moral” leadership is noble. Was this the same position he had last year or did he support Glenn Richardson when he was challenged because of his antics?


December 14th, 2009
1:48 am

Y’all are all so full of it!!! None of you are “real” people. You are all someone associated with one of the guys running for Speaker. Either a house member, political consultant or something similar! Nobody in the real world is paying attention to this. They are enjoying their Christmas and wondering if they can leave work on the 23rd or 24th. Get a life folks! The only people reading your posts are other folks JUST LIKE YOU!!!

The General

December 14th, 2009
7:01 am

@ Diogenes…You said, “Republicans will win the rest of the Constitutional offices except possibly the Labor Commissioner.” I think you will be proven wrong on at least one part of your assertion. The best man for the job, Rep. Melvin Everson (R), will be elected Labor Commissioner.

Stand Waitie

December 14th, 2009
7:44 am

Diogenes is wrong on 2 points: (1) The GOP will pass more tax cuts. When did they in the past pass tax cuts here in Ga? (2) Tax cuts won’t help with jobs creation. Diogenes is obviously a dem, or liberal, or socialist (sorry, I repeat myself).

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

December 14th, 2009
8:54 am

veritas – Hembree’s “call” may be noble, but his “self-witnessing” is at least unseemly.

There’s good reason The Founders’ set up a system in which Presidential Electors campaigned among their neighbors – who presumably could rely on his or her established integrity – on behalf of a nominee perhaps not locally known: An American seeks not the esteem of others, only that of G-d. This is the heart of individual sovereignty and American Exceptionalism.

Any retribution yet against those who “vouched” for 9/11-committing, draft-dodging, closet-queen George W. Bush, or for JFK-killing Nixon and GHW Bush? The “system” breaks down when accountability is lost and justice foregone.

The Gay Old Pervert party won’t be able to find a man of integrity to take the office in question. Had they any integrity they’d have led the “hue and cry” against Bush’s and Cheney’s 9/11 treason.

Hembree’s an insurance agent. Any who fully understands the matrix of that industry’s oligopoly, campaign contributions, and “hand-in-glove” relationship with the “engine” for county courthouse “commerce” better keep looking for a new Speaker.

The General

December 14th, 2009
9:42 am

I’m new to this forum, but am I wrong in thinking that ‘Will Jones-Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis’ is a couple bottles shy of a six-pack? Or should I not be feeding the trolls with this one?

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

December 14th, 2009
9:46 am

Haven’t bothered to read “The New Pearl Harbor,”
It’s free for patriot and traitor, alike, to read.
Which are you, Wannabe?


December 14th, 2009
9:47 am

Hey “Liars”. You say no real person writes this stuff and yet you read and respond. Does that make you a “non real person”?


December 14th, 2009
10:07 am

By my count, the GA GOP has passed tax cuts every year since taking the majority. A few fell on their face this year only because the Governor did not sign them into law.

Since 1960, no tax cut has spurred economic growth for the middle class. Every tax cut and reform since 1980 has sought to allow wealthy individuals to keep more of their money and outsource employment overseas. Nothing has been aimed at encouraging reinvestment except a rise in the capital gains tax back in the 90s.

I am neither a liberal nor a socialist nor a democrat. I am a realist. We have a $4trillion dollar federal budget and only $2trillion to pay for it. There is not $2trillion worth of waste that can be cut. Look at Georgia now, there is not really anything left to cut. We are to the point where downsizing and furloughing are preventing the actual funtioning of government. Things like police protection and the administration of the courts are being directly effected.

The result of all of these budgetary problems can be summarized in one sentence: Taxes are too low. I know that nobody wants higher taxes. We all want a functioning political/legal system. We all benefit from having a democratic government like that of the United States. It can not function without tax revenue. Put it this way: freedom isn’t free. It costs about $3.5trillion a year in tax revenue.

Even eliminating the wars and banning “earmarks” will only cover half a trillion. Earmarks aren’t even a problem. They comprise a mere $18billion of the annual budgets and go toward projects that can not raise the private capital. Who else is going to pay for updated equipment for police officers in Swainesboro? The people of Swainesboro have shown that they will not, but they all benefit from having modern police protection.

This is the problem with the conservative agenda, the people are not able to take care of themselves. They do not know what it entails. Sure, you go to work, make money, buy food, go to sleep, wake up, repeat. This all happens in a complex national infrastructure though. Maintaining that infrastructure is what keeps this country going. Not troops, not capitalism, not conservatism, not democrats, not tea partys.

We have been shown time and time again that when we let things just happen everything falls apart.


December 14th, 2009
10:20 am

“Liars,” everybody in the State is “associated with” the guys running for speaker. They currently (mis)represent us. They spend our money. Just because you’re not paying attention to your government does not mean it’s not important.