Executive Director of Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition Aaron Gulbransen puts listeners in the room with him during his recent meeting with Gov. Bill Lee on Tuesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy.
Gulbransen shares insider details, the points of agreement, and confirms that the Governor intends to call for a special session in August as he originally said – despite the many threats of unrest the Left have vowed to deliver.
Michael Patrick Leahy: 7:17 AM; in studio, Aaron Gulbransen, the Executive Director of the Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition. So you and your board of directors you met with the governor yesterday – set the stage for that.
Where do you meet? What’s the process?
You get in your car? Where, where do you go? Do you drive to the state capitol? There security along the way? What’s that like?
Aaron Gulbransen: I’m assuming this part is fairly standard for anybody who goes and meets with a member of the governor’s staff, or the governor himself. But we were given two parking spaces because our group came in two different vehicles.
You know, you go to the building – the state capitol.
I believe the address is 600 Martin Luther King Boulevard or something like that. And you go to the guard tower, you give them your name, you go in, you park, and then you go in through the security.
And this was the first time that we had been.
If you go into the first floor, the governor has what they call an executive suite and he has a conference room. You walk past a couple staffers, a state trooper, and that sort of thing, and then they place you in the conference room, and then you wait.
Well the conference room is adjacent to the governor’s office.
I didn’t see inside the governor’s like personal working office, so I don’t know how close we were to that. My guess is, and somebody who’s one of the legislators who’s listening right now could probably text me and tell me if this is correct, but my guess is, is where we were in the conference room was right outside his office.
Michael Patrick Leahy: So it’s pretty cool to have a meeting with the governor, right?
Aaron Gulbransen: It’s a very important recognition of the importance of the work that we do and the grassroots support that we have throughout the state of Tennessee that the governor’s office decided that what our message has been was important enough to listen to.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Well, there’s one other element here and I’m gonna compliment you, so watch out.
Aaron Gulbransen: Alright. I take compliments very badly.
Michael Patrick Leahy: So here’s the thing, Aaron: you are conservative. And there’s a way to be effective as a conservative, and that is to engage directly, on point – and not get off into personal attacks, right?
Aaron Gulbransen: Right.
Michael Patrick Leahy: And you know, there are some in our state who are committed conservatives who get a little bit – how, how should I say?
If you just yell all the time at your opponent, it doesn’t help come to some conclusion. And I would, the governor’s not your opponent, but you have disagreements on certain issues.
And I think you’ve handled that very well, and the fact that you’re getting a meeting with the governor and you have some disagreements and some agreements. Is a good sign.
So tell us kind of what, what you came away with from that meeting.
Aaron Gulbransen: We had a very productive meeting. I don’t want to walk out of a meeting without the ability to get things done in the future and move the ball down the field.
I’ve learned a bit from the left on this. You can if you’re continually moving the ball down the field, then you’re winning.
Michael Patrick Leahy: And or as the late Great Hank Stram said, “matriculate” the ball down the field.
Aaron Gulbransen: Exactly right. I mean, we have a ton of football fans in the audience, so we know what that means.
But we had a very productive meeting – we talked about several areas of agreement, and I like focusing on those things.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Tell us what your statement is and what those areas of agreement were.
But we discussed and agreed, in concept, to work together on eradicating child and human trafficking in the state of Tennessee, working on ways to ensure that the people who protect our children in schools are the best trained in the nation. And I know this is fun for a lot of people, but we talked about the furthering of school choice education initiatives for Tennessee’s children.
Michael Patrick Leahy: And so those three points of agreement on fairly major issues with the governor.
Aaron Gulbransen: And I want to be clear, they were emphatic agreement. There wasn’t like, ‘Oh, you know…’–
Michael Patrick Leahy: On those three issues, you and the Governor are completely aligned.
Aaron Gulbransen: Yes that is my read of it. I will let him speak for himself; but yes, I believe that is the case.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Well, that’s a significant accomplishment.
Aaron Gulbransen: And you know, we had originally set up the meeting, so I do wanna be clear here. I mean, we made it perfectly clear – and the governor has several decisions to make over the coming weeks. And this is, frankly, some of you who are in the lobbying business or the advocacy business can learn from this approach.
We did express very clearly how we felt about certain things that we may wind up disagreeing on.
Michael Patrick Leahy: And so one of those has to do with the call for the special session.
Aaron Gulbransen: Yeah. We still have very, very grave concerns and we expressed that now the governor listened to us.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Well, the concerns were focused on what, specifically?
Aaron Gulbransen: The safety of the people in the building and the city of Nashville due to the threats that have been published in The Tennessee Star and others in the media have followed your lead, Michael.
The Marxists have planned to disrupt, and in one direct quote from the audio that you released in The Tennessee Star and uncovered, “____ it up.” You can guess.
So yeah, we still have very grave concerns from that.
Michael Patrick Leahy: And there’s a very active Left-wing militant crowd – not just in Tennessee.
Aaron Gulbransen: Yes.
Michael Patrick Leahy: But coming to Tennessee for this purpose: to disrupt the Tennessee General Assembly in this special session, on August 21st.
Aaron Gulbransen: And of course it has been and made very clear that there is definitely going to be a special session.
Michael Patrick Leahy: So the governor is doubling down on that.
Aaron Gulbransen: It’s going to happen.
Now, I will say I believe, and I’m not being given the plans or anything like this – and I certainly wouldn’t do this if I were in their position.
I do believe that there is going to be increased security. I do believe he was conversant in our concerns.
Clearly, he had read our letter that we had sent a month ago or so. It was a very cordial and friendly conversation.
He understands where we’re coming from and we understand where he’s coming from – which is how you do things.
Again, he has several decisions to make over the coming weeks. I mean, we’re just slightly over a month away.
We also firmly communicated our opposition – and I don’t have anything else to report other than our opposition – to anything resembling a red flag law and our belief due to the leadership of Jack Johnson, William Lamberth, Jason Zachary, and others that the Tennessee General Assembly stands with us regarding the issue of red flag laws.
We did discuss a number of other things–
Michael Patrick Leahy: Can I ask you the question?
Aaron Gulbransen: Yes.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Do you think that Governor Lee now believes there is a huge threat to public safety from Left wing activist groups – many of whom will be armed, apparently – at the August 21st special session?
Do you believe that he believes that is a problem, now?
Aaron Gulbransen: I believe the governor’s reviewed everything we’ve sent them. Most, if not all, of the pieces that have been published on the subject.
And of course, I reserve the right to change my mind at some point in time – but I do believe that they are taking it seriously at this point in time.
Yes, I think there will be measures taken to increase security. It won’t be seen as a typical legislative session.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Now I color me, color me skeptical.
Aaron Gulbransen: It’s one of those things we’ll know in a month and see what happens, right?
I will say – to sort of slightly switch gears on the same topic, though – good Lord Almighty, David Hogg is coming to town.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Oh yeah.
We’ll talk about that and more when we get back.
We’ll talk about the rising, aggressive militant Left in America and the problems that poses for us.
This is The Tennessee Star Report.
He’s Aaron Gulbransen.
I’m Michael Patrick Leahy.
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