Tommie Williams’ requirements for the next GOP Senate leader

My AJC colleague James Salzer is chasing down the details on the decision by President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, to step down as leader of the state Senate – who intends to replace him for instance.
Below is the letter Williams sent to his Senate colleagues.

Williams was one of the GOP senators who engineered the 2010 revolt against Casey Cagle that successfully stripped the lieutenant governor of much of his authority over the chamber.

But Williams was constantly frustrated by continued leaks about machinations within the Republican caucus. Note the swipe at the very end:


It is a very difficult decision for one to give up a position of political power. Often it takes a lost election or scandalous event for one to part with the notoriety of a higher position. While I’ve been affected by neither loss nor scandal, I can say that conceding a place of leadership over such a fine group of men and women is not easy.

I believe that leadership positions major chairmanships should be rotated or term-limited so that we may all gain from the talents of many and allow other members the opportunity to serve in higher positions. History proves that corruption can occur when one is too closely connected to lobbyists and has forgotten that the people, not lobbying groups, are who we represent.

I have had many opportunities to take on lobbyists and special interest groups when their requests were not in the best interest of the people, and I can tell you it helps one to be a better leader if he or she is not overly concerned about re-election. Additionally, members that have consolidated powers as leaders or major chairmen over time face the temptation of exploiting their power for both themselves and their corporate contributors.

While serving as President Pro-Tempore (PPT), I concentrated on working with the democrats to build consensus. This year we passed several major pieces of legislation with unanimous votes proving, unlike Washington, that we can work across party lines to achieve good results.

My decision not to seek re-election for the PPT position was prayerfully considered. In addition to my beliefs about service limits in leadership, Stephanie and I have three children, and I need and want to spend more time with them. The movie “Courageous” has helped me refocus my position on fatherhood as the higher priority. I am spending time in Atlanta that should be spent at home or in my district working with constituents.

I would like to say how grateful I am for the privilege of serving you as PPT. It has been a wonderful experience for me. Over the last two years, the struggle over who would govern the Senate has been stressful, but liberty almost always requires a struggle. I have fought for giving the Senate the liberty to govern itself. This has never been a personal battle. It is what I believe the Constitution declares, and we have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution. Now the liberty to govern is ours to protect or surrender.

The PPT is elected by all members of the Senate. These are some qualifications that I feel should be considered when electing the next PPT:

1. He or she should be humble, upright, trustworthy and of good character.

2. He or she should be free of any conflicts of interest and must not use the office as a means of promoting his or her livelihood. If this is not the case, the PPT will embarrass the Senate at some point. What is done in secret will be shouted from the mountaintop. Nothing remains hidden in this business. Look to members that are not overly burdened by their private jobs. This position takes an immense amount of time. In the future, we should look at making the PPT job a salaried position at a “living” wage.

3. He or she should be faithful to his or her spouse and family. The PPT in many ways is a reflection of the Senate as a whole. If we elect a leader with wavering morals, we can all be put to shame. We’ve all seen what happens in our own General Assembly when leaders cannot control themselves.

4. He or she needs to be intelligent, patient and capable of building a consensus.

It is my hope that we can find a consensus candidate without having a fight over the position. Ideally, one should not seek the job. The job should seek the person. I served in this position because members asked me to serve, and I was never opposed. It would be my hope that we could come together as a team and choose from our caucus a person that has the above listed qualities to be our next PPT without a campaign splitting the caucus. Our current Governor is a great example of one having the qualities it takes to lead at this level.

The PPT and other leadership positions are about serving others. We should remember the wisdom of Jesus who said, “Whosoever is chief among you let him be your servant.” We should look for someone with a servant’s heart that cannot be tainted by the seduction of power.

I will continue to serve the remainder of my term as PPT. When the new leaders are elected or re-elected, I will support the team. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting back to the nitty gritty of perfecting legislation, which is why I came to the Senate in the first place. If we work together we really can continue to make this state great.

Sincerely and friendly,


I am sending this notice to the media so that the long term member of the caucus that feels a need to leak this letter to the media, can redirect his time to concentrate on other virtues.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

27 comments Add your comment


June 4th, 2012
1:03 pm

A fine letter,covering many points.One point I’d like to make clear,though;I don’t vote for Republicans so they can “work across the aisle”.


June 4th, 2012
1:12 pm

Agreed that it’s a fine letter, but I need to make a counterpoint clear: anyone who cannot work across the aisle to govern must not be put in a position of power…in either party!!!


June 4th, 2012
1:12 pm

“1. He or she should be humble, upright, trustworthy and of good character.”

HAHAHA! Good luck with that.


June 4th, 2012
1:27 pm

Williams cites Biblical standards for a good leader — Voters should apply those standards when picking representatives and senators. We would have a better government.


June 4th, 2012
1:41 pm

several good points by williams….add no goat ropers either

clyde you need to remember what alan simpson just said about working together

Attack Dog

June 4th, 2012
1:42 pm

Let’s say that you find a Dixiecrat needle in a haystack that meets all points. 1. It is almost guaranteed that they will break at least two and probably all four after they get elected. 2. What about the Norquist No-Tax Pledge of Fiscal Non-responsibility? 3. What about voting against GOP measures if it is agreeded upon by a Liberal?


June 4th, 2012
1:51 pm

Tommie Williams said: “What is done in secret will be shouted from the mountaintop”.

I don’t have a problem with the lack of secrets by our representatives. Let the sunshine in.

Tommie Williams also said: “I believe that leadership positions major chairmanships should be rotated or term-limited”.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more of our politicians thought this way. Nice touch.

DJ Sniper

June 4th, 2012
1:52 pm

2 things:

1. Working across the aisle is something that both parties have to do from time to time. Government is not “my way or the highway” like the TP and today’s GOP want it.

2. Religion needs to stay the hell out of politics.


June 4th, 2012
1:55 pm

Religion should stay out of politics. One’s principles, even those based upon faith, cannot.

Casey Ross Renee Murphy

June 4th, 2012
2:08 pm

I bet that swipe was at Senator David Shaffer. Everyone knows he is the big leaker of the general assembly. No one tells him anything they don’t expect to be leaked.


June 4th, 2012
2:12 pm


2. Religion needs to stay the hell out of politics.

I agree.
Tommy finally got religion.. Now all we need is a good Democrat to replace him.

So Timm


June 4th, 2012
2:55 pm

DJ Sniper

June 4th, 2012
1:52 pm

Why work across the aisle when there is no one over there?

DJ Sniper

June 4th, 2012
3:16 pm

TD, I stand by what I said. Politics require compromise from both sides. We have clearly seen that, on a national stage, the right doesn’t know the meaning of the word. Thankfully, some of them have started to see the light by bucking Grover Norquist.

Mid Ga Retiree

June 4th, 2012
3:16 pm

I have no problem with religion in politics. I have a problem with using politics to force your religious beliefs on me.

Big Hat

June 4th, 2012
3:31 pm

Secret government is the best government. What the stupid idiots…I mean citizens…don’t know won’t hurt them.


June 4th, 2012
3:48 pm

crap from crap

Auntie Christ

June 4th, 2012
4:18 pm

Good that we’re gonna apply biblical standards to our government. I’ve got my collection of rocks ready for the stoning of newt and calista. Oh wait, that’s right we only stone calista, since by the bible’s strictures, when men commit adultery, its the woman’s fault.

Are we going to shut down the shrimping/shell fish businesses in south GA? Do I have to keep my wife in a separate room while she has her period?

Or are we talking New Testament, that says to help the poor, love your neighbor, be kind to your enemies?

I guess they’ll do it like they always have, pick and choose the scripture that fits your prejudices and forget the rest.

DJ Sniper

June 4th, 2012
4:23 pm

Ain’t that the truth Auntie Christ?

Marlboro Man

June 4th, 2012
5:04 pm

So this is why the state is disfunctional.

Attack Dog

June 4th, 2012
5:20 pm

Dixiecrats want religion-based laws, but criticize Sharia law that is not too far removed from what they propose.


June 4th, 2012
5:25 pm

when you say there is no one across the aisle is that because they are democrat or black?

DJ Sniper

June 4th, 2012
5:26 pm

Attack Dog, that’s what really gets me. They seem to think that laws based on Christianity are perfectly fine, while laws based on Islam are nothing but pure evil. The logic of the Christian Taliban I tell ya.


June 4th, 2012
5:41 pm

“I am sending this notice to the media so that the long term member of the caucus that feels a need to leak this letter to the media, can redirect his time to concentrate on other virtues.”

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm………..who are the longest serving members of the GOP state senate caucus?


June 4th, 2012
5:52 pm

Long time member of the caucus who squeals on everyone? That sounds a lot like Senator David Shafer.

From the House Side

June 4th, 2012
5:59 pm

Everyone under the gold dome knows that Senator David Shafer is the best media leak money can buy. Most of the time it is leaked before others leave the room the meeting is being held in. Now he wants to follow Williams as the next president pro tem and I hear is actively campaigning for it.


June 5th, 2012
10:36 am

Shady Shafer? Being a leak? No way, Jose! Say it ain’t so!

Leaky Faucet Shafer

June 5th, 2012
11:05 am

Senator Shafer is so know for his leaks, that they have threatened to have him leave his blackberry at the door! He is a great senator in his own mind and only he thinks he has any chance at replacing Senator Williams, who is a great man.