Live from Music Row, Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Aaron Gulbransen in studio to describe the mission of the Faith and Freedom Coalition locally and nationally.
Leahy: In studio with us, Aaron Gomon, the official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report, is also an all-star panelist and the state director for the State of Tennessee of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
Aaron, your job as the state director in Tennessee of the Faith and Freedom Coalition is to represent the agenda of the Faith and Freedom Coalition before the Tennessee General Assembly. How’s that going this session?
Gulbransen: Very well. By the way, you can find us on the web at tnffcoalition.com and on Twitter @tnfaithfreedom.
Leahy: Can I just ask you this question first? If you can remind our audience what the Faith and Freedom Coalition is at the national level.
Gulbransen: The simplest thing to do to say is we activate conservative voters of faith. And that’s across all different denominations. And we support Israel. We support traditional marriage. We’re very pro-life. We have an operation at the federal level that does what I do in the state.
There are several different people working in DC in both halls of Congress and at the White House. Of course, when you have a conservative in the White House, you can certainly get a lot more things done, but that’s what we do. We engage in issues and advocacy on a swath of different issues. There’s also some criminal justice reform with a conservative bent on that as well.
A lot of work gets done in other states. And we’ll be dipping our toes into that here pretty soon. Human trafficking and child trafficking issues are very important. And then we will deal with taxes as well. Here in Tennessee, we’re blessed with not having a state income tax.
And the issue of taxes is not as necessarily as big as it is in other states. Check out more about all of this on tnffcoalition.com. I neglect to say that often enough on the air. So I’m just making up for it today, Michael. We’ve been blessed.
An obvious statement, working with The Tennessee Star as I did and working with you was a very good jumpstart to relationships with the General Assembly, and we’ve been able to hop on and support bills and have a say in a number of different issues.
Leahy: I was just going to add that one of the things that we’ve done here at The Tennessee Star, we’ve been up here for six years, and you came in as our Tennessee political editor and did a great job. But one of the things that we’ve done is simply this, the phrase that you coined, left stream media which I love.
Coined that today here. Mark it down, folks. Left-stream media. I’m stealing it by the way. That phrase accurately describes the media in Tennessee. They’re all left-stream. All of them except for The Tennessee Star. All we do is talk to Tennessee legislators, county executives, and local officials.
And we simply report factually what they say. We don’t twist it. We just tell folks what they say. And because of that, members of the Tennessee General Assembly like to talk to us. We just simply report what they say accurately because the left-stream media here in Tennessee, News Channel Five, they’re all lefties.
They all have an agenda. And Tennessee General Assembly members know that. You get straight reporting from us. And that’s why we’ve been able to communicate with a lot of members of the Tennessee General Assembly. That’s why they come in here in studio and talk.
Because we’re not trying to twist things. And that’s one of the things that in your reporting, you got to know a lot of these folks. And that’s why now, not in a reporting capacity, but in another capacity, you’ve been able to develop relationships with people that have come to trust you because of your honest reporting.
Gulbransen: It wasn’t exactly like switching to advocacy was foreign to me. I did that for many years. A vast majority of my career is in campaigns.
Leahy: You worked with the American Center for Law and Justice. ACLJ. Purely journalistic. But for most of your career, you’ve been either a political consultant or an issue advocate.
Gulbransen: Yes. And my first foray into politics at least as a volunteer was with the Long Island Coalition for Life, the oldest pro-life group in the country which actually was started before Roe v. Wade even happened. Obviously, the issue of life is very important to me.
On that note, there’s an important bill that the House local government committee is taking up today, HB 90. The short version of it bans local governments from spending money on abortions or spending money assisting people in obtaining an abortion.
Leahy: There’s a little thing going on here. This is very interesting when you talk about local governments. In Tennessee, the local governments that are in the left-wing centers such as Nashville, Davidson County, and Shelby County, they want to have their own government.
They went out with the sanctuary city thing that a couple of years ago, the Tennessee General Assembly slapped them down on that. But they all want to be their own governments, and they are creations of the state government, and they don’t wanna recognize it pretty much.
Gulbransen: In the wake of the abolition of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, Nashville Metro Council tried to send $500,000 to Planned Parenthood. The mayor’s office, I forget the exact wording of it, but basically, made clear that they would try to help their employees go out of state to get abortions and this sort of thing.
And honestly, I think the most common sense coalition-building side of the abortion debate is no taxpayer money should ever be spent on this. There are a lot of people that will have differing opinions on it. But when you bring up money, there’s a lot more consensus. Unless you’re a far-left Democrat, that’s an elected official, and you’re pandering to your base.
Leahy: What cracks me up about a lot of these far-left, local, folks who run for our office and run for city council, is they misunderstand their base. They think actually if they become a city council member here in Nashville or in Memphis, their job is to set American foreign or national policy. No, your job is to make sure that the streets aren’t filled with potholes, and the garbage gets collected in your neighborhood.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
– – –
Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Background Photo “Faith and Freedom Coalition” by Faith and Freedom Coalition.