Georgia Democrats target Tom Price’s vote on Confederate flag emblem

Rep. Tom Price enters Trump Tower . Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rep. Tom Price enters Trump Tower . Drew Angerer/Getty Images

U.S. Rep. Tom Price’s formative years in statehouse politics provide clues to how he’ll run the federal government’s sprawling health bureaucracy as Donald Trump’s pick for the top health job.

Price was ambitious from the start, and he soon won a role after his 1996 election to the state Senate in the GOP’s small but growing caucus. Price and fellow Republicans squirreled away in basement rooms under the Gold Dome plotting a course to power. They recruited candidates, raised money and dreamed up policy. He and Eric Johnson, then the Senate’s top GOP official, held a fractious caucus of party-flippers, newcomers and ideologues in line.

To Democrats, he could be insufferable. Other Republican leaders would flirt with supporting Democratic proposals or compromise. Price struck a hard line. He backed Georgia’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and opposed then-Gov. Roy Barnes’ plan to shrink the size of the Confederate emblem on the state flag. The latter vote, in particular, still infuriates Georgia Democrats.

“He’s an intelligent guy. That’s why I was really disappointed when he voted against changing the flag,” said state Sen. Vincent Fort, an Atlanta Democrat elected to the state Senate the same year as Price. “It was a vote that history would remember, and he was on the wrong side of it.”

Added Bobby Kahn, who was Barnes’ top aide, of the measure’s eventual approval: “We couldn’t have passed the flag vote without Republicans, but no thanks to Tom Price. If it was up to him, the old Confederate flag would still be flying.”

Price and his aides have been mum since he was tapped by Trump, but former staffer Jared Thomas said his vote was in protest of a lack of transparency from Barnes administration.

“There was a lack of debate and a lack of public conversation,” said Thomas, who managed Price’s 2004 U.S. House campaign. “Tom wanted to give the people the right to vote on the flag in a referendum. He wanted to make it a public and transparent debate, not behind closed doors.”

Read the full AJC profile here: Tom Price, the Georgian who will lead Trump’s health policy.

More AJC coverage on Tom Price:

Tom Price, Kasim Reed and the Art of the Deal: Georgia edition

Price’s promotion sets off a scramble to fill his north Atlanta seat 

Confirmation appears clear for Georgia’s Price as health secretary

Scoop: Georgia Rep. Price expected to join Trump Cabinet

Reader Comments 0

141 comments
Frank Shirley
Frank Shirley

"Paw-Paw, what's a newspaper?" Answer: "That is where they used to spread fake news before the internet."

Billy Wilson
Billy Wilson

Cmon People were talking about a two bit News agency here

Ben L Rainey
Ben L Rainey

Ge the hell off this AJC you simple A holes. Have you no shame

Alan Mckay
Alan Mckay

Maybe he knows the TRUE history of the flag and the war?

Patricia Moran
Patricia Moran

You're a liberal rag for certain. Sad that you can't separate siding with Democrats. Many of us lost ancestors who fought under that flag you insult. Good luck on sales! Keep it up & bury yourselves & lose more supporters.

Minnie Griffin
Minnie Griffin

The Flag is part of Americas history. To deny it's existence also denies there was anything such as slavery. Speaking of slavery, Blacks also owned slaves. Every race has faced some form of slavery. Know your History. Don't deny it.

Larry Williamson
Larry Williamson

The democrats just don't get it. They lost the white house. They lost the house snd senate. The majority of governors and state legislators are republican.

Phillip Harris
Phillip Harris

Just keep it up.you are preaching to a empty church.Tom price is a great man.

Alex Gross
Alex Gross

This was 20 years ago and has nothing to do with health care. It should have no bearing on his appointment. Find some real news.

Larry Eldon Fowler
Larry Eldon Fowler

Nikki Haley of South Carolina should have been run out of the country instead she was appointed a position in Trumps cabinet. Go figure. An anti-American "True Pocahontas" working for the Trump administration.

Brenda Wilkins
Brenda Wilkins

Oh please. Can we just let history be history!!!

Polly Walden
Polly Walden

I think the vote on the flag should be redone. It was done with the first use of the electronic voting machines. We were given only 2 choices, neither of which pleased me. When I asked the poll worker how I could vote for what I wanted to (the original star and bars) she said I couldn't, that I had to select from the 2 options offered. I disagree, if I care enough to come out and vote I want to be able to vote for what I want. I told the poll worker they should not be using a system that did not allow a write in vote. The very next election they had this worked out. The vote should be redone witht he people having the right to vote for what they want, not for the choices the liberals want to give them.

Timothy Pickren
Timothy Pickren

Also always remember Coke a Cola and Home Depot paid to change our flag. I have not purchased a Coke product since.

Timothy Pickren
Timothy Pickren

I did the same thing and agree 100% with the right thing would be a true vote. I voted for barne's horrific rag out of protest.

Mike Steele
Mike Steele

Don't you think that the Democratic Party should be dissolved since it was the slave holding party?

Rick Ramirez
Rick Ramirez

So what? That should have been put on a statewide referendum anyway. That was sneaky and underhanded the way Barns done that

Beth Oliver
Beth Oliver

The Party of Lincoln loving the Confederate flag. Makes perfect sense.

Brian Haulk
Brian Haulk

In my opinion he's Votes the RIGHT way if that offends you go crawl in the hole you came out of! Or should I say your Safe space \U0001f644\U0001f644

Marvin Griffin
Marvin Griffin

he also voted against holding koskinen with the IRS in contempt along with all but two of our congressmen

Deb Perry Stewart
Deb Perry Stewart

While you are defending & wrapping that divisive flag around your selves & your proud history.... We will be wrapping the constitution around the rest of us....

Paul Spencer
Paul Spencer

That flag is a wedge issue that hurts the Democrats chances at the polls.

Brian Haulk
Brian Haulk

Really?? A Liberal only understands THEIR opinion Honestly because flying that flag is a Constitutional Right. If you need an example then how about this if a Liberal is allowed to Burn the American Flag in Protest then the Confederate Battle flag has just as much right to be waved!! They both fall under constitutional rights unfortunately.

Deb Perry Stewart
Deb Perry Stewart

Brian Haulk interesting you think you know what a "liberal " thinks

Ryan Padgett
Ryan Padgett

Honor the flag of our Fathers. Liberals simply want to destroy American history and anyone who disagrees with them.

Chee Hill
Chee Hill

History had shown that liberals support all the people, not just the top percentage....everything we've done is what makes America great.

Sean Paul
Sean Paul

Chee Hill where's the proof? I don't agree with abortion, the painful murder of the unborn child. So how does that support all the people?

Wilma Jones
Wilma Jones

Hey Dems History is History Good Bad and the Ugly.

Wilma Jones
Wilma Jones

Chee Hill Hitler is history. If we don't remember the bad parts. We will make the same mistakes. All I'm sayin'. Sorry your ancestor suffered. We need to be reminded all the time. Children in our schools are no longer taught history.

Chee Hill
Chee Hill

Says no one with a Nazi ancestor.

AJ Roth
AJ Roth

Price is wrong on every vote---pushing his radical religious beliefs on all of us.

Penny Jones Smith
Penny Jones Smith

There's know one pushing radical religious beliefs on anyone. It's plain and simple you either believe or don't. Wow how hard was that.

Brent Hilburn
Brent Hilburn

Here's some FREE advice for GA Democrats... Stop already... You've been losing electorally for the last 10 years all over the country... It's time for you to break with the national party and start acting like John F Kennedy Democrats again... You are leaving people NO CHOICE but to support other parties....

Chee Hill
Chee Hill

Please learn about human migration. My ancestors came here to Georgia from Ireland to farm in middle Georgia in a free world. Obviously no one does that now. We all moved to the urban areas to actually make a living. This is a common American experience. It will only get worse as time goes on. This is called human migration.

Brent Hilburn
Brent Hilburn

Chee Hill LOL... I'm not sure what your reply has to do with the fact that Democrats are more interested in playing politics than being a REAL party for REAL solutions...

Chee Hill
Chee Hill

Ask yourself why dems keep winning cities and the popular vote, but not electoral votes.

Brent Hilburn
Brent Hilburn

Chee Hill Ask yourself why I care... You aren't winning anything... Have you been paying attention to the last 10 years? Dems have lost 1000+ seats across the country... You just lost the Senate, the House and the Presidency because your candidates and policies suck... But somehow, it's people from outside the cities that are the problem... Cognitive Dissonance... You realize GA has basically a Super-majority in both houses, right? That's not a city problem... That's a Democrat problem... Take your own advice and understand that people are just not into you... And in 2018, you'll get another dose of electoral defeat when 7+ Senators move to the GOP... The math is not in your favor...

TN Thomas
TN Thomas

"Losing the last 10 years" Oh...so Romney and McCain won the White House along with a GOP Senate in 2008?

Brent Hilburn
Brent Hilburn

TN Thomas You are focused on the presidency.... Look around Brainiac... While Romney & McCain were losing (because they were POOR candidates) State houses and local elections went GOP at unprecedented levels... Having Obama, Pelosi & Reid as faces of the DNC worked wonders... And how did you lose the Senate in 2016 when the math was overwhealmingly in your favor?