Winning another term as the 14th District’s congressman would mean business as usual for Tom Graves, a Ranger resident who has served in the U.S. House since winning a special election to succeed Nathan Deal in mid-2010.

After winning re-election in 2014 with nearly 73 percent of the votes against Democrat Danny Grant, Graves faces two Republican challengers, Allan Levene of Rome and Mickey Tuck of Silver Creek, in the May 24 primary election.

Congressman Tom Graves

Congressman Tom Graves

“We’re really excited about the support we have throughout the district,” Graves said. “It’s truly just based upon my representation in the district. I’m still the same person whom they elected the first time. Our goals are simple.”

For Graves, his unchanged priorities include reining in out-of-control spending. Congress has cut almost $200 billion in discretionary spending and has reduced the nation’s deficit by three-quarters from its post-Great Recession peak, Graves said.

“We have a history of being able to do that and get that done,” the congressman said. “There’s clearly a lot more we have to do and must do. That’s going to take courage from a lot of members (of Congress) and a new president to move forward and reform the way the government operates.”

While Graves said his votes on bills may not make every member of the 14th District happy, he said he weighs every issue based on his goals of lowering taxes, reducing the size of government and strengthening families.

“My role as a representative is to evaluate the facts and balance that through the decision-making process based on the facts and the truth before me, then cast a vote,” Graves said. “That’s what I’ve done very consistently. Clearly, that’s not easy for everyone to do. Those are tough decisions, and oftentimes you’re in opposition to your own party.”

Another issue facing Congress now and in the future is the country’s foreign policy, something that Graves said doesn’t exist right now because of a lack of directive from President Barack Obama’s administration.

“Strengthening our national defense and creating that world leader presence is needed right now,” Graves said.

It’s also important for the United States to continue supporting friends overseas, especially Israel, which he said is one of the United States’ greatest allies. Graves said the United States currently sends Israel the amount of funding requested by the Jewish state.

“We must stand strong with them and support them in their efforts for peace,” said Graves, who has visited Israel several times. “They’re surrounded by many nations here who are not supportive and are their enemies. It’s very important to support them not just from a financial perspective, but from a military perspective. It’s a great journey to be on and see the true conflict that surrounds them, and yet the resilience and determination that the people have is encouraging to me.”