Mayoral Candidate Debbie Matthews Describes the Race for Mayor of Columbia

Mayoral Candidate Debbie Matthews Describes the Race for Mayor of Columbia

Live from Music Row, Thursday 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 Columbia, Tennessee mayoral candidate Debbie Matthews in-studio to describe the race for mayor of the 40,000-person town.

Leahy: In the studio, our guest, our good friend from Maury County, a candidate for mayor of the city of Columbia, Debbie Matthews. Good morning, Debbie.

Matthews: Good morning, everybody. So good to be here.

Leahy: We’re delighted to have you here. Well, the clock is ticking.

Matthews: One week from yesterday, early voting starts and Republicans have got to get out. There will be no division in the ranks. Republicans have to show up.

Leahy: So it is now three weeks and five days until Election Day.

Matthews: That’s right.

Leahy: November 8th. And tell us a little bit about the race for mayor. You are one of two candidates.

Matthews: I’m one of two candidates. Columbia – I call it our little jewel box – it’s a 40,000-person town that is a very, very conservative city.

Leahy: Very conservative city. It’s the home, of course, of James Polk. James Polk, the 10th President of the United States of America.

Matthews: That’s correct. The 11th.

Leahy: Eleventh.

Matthews: Eleventh. My brain snapped.

Leahy: I stand corrected.

Matthews: I think it is the 11th. But he said, I’m going to serve one term, I’m going to do everything I promise to do, and then I’m out. And that’s the greatest thing I think any politician can do, is don’t overstay your welcome. So we love James Polk. But Columbia, Tennessee, I do call it our little jewel box.

If you have not been to Columbia, you have to come. It is one of the most special places on earth. And we do currently have a mayor’s race going on. And, you know, like most municipalities, you know, there’s a charter that they have to be nonpartisan races.

Leahy: Yes, in the charter of the city. Now, that is a little bizarre …

Matthews: So in 2018, the Republicans – which I’m the chair of the Maury County Republican Party, now – but in 2018, as a member, we said we have to have some sort of touchstone that we know where people are sort of starting.

And so we said we’re making our county executive a partisan race, which is the county mayor, and we’re going to move to get our county commissioners, move them into partisan races. And we did that.

And then this last year, of course, we were like, we have got to have our school board members run partisan, because right now everything coming out of the school board situation, you have to be able to see who you’re dealing with and where their thoughts are. So we got that through.

Leahy: And that’s in for the county, for Maury County. But there are 12 members of the Maury County board.

Matthews: It is.

Leahy: And by the way, just for our listeners, just a reminder, that the 2020 National Constitution Bee champion … [Jackson Carter] is now a member of the Maury County Board of Education. He’s a sophomore at the University of Alabama.

Matthews: He’s a freshman. And we wanted Jackson Carter. He’s just the most terrific kid who is the president of our Young Republicans, and he’s doing a fantastic job. But, you know, we looked at our state reps, and our meetings, and we said, this year we want our partisan school board races to take it to the legislature and get this done.

That started in Maury County. We have to have partisan school board races because all the craziness that everyone’s trying to push. We know that liberals, or progressive socialists, whatever you want to call them, basically had a full-court press.

They said we’re going to take everything over at local levels. We are seeping into every area. And, you know, Republicans were asleep on that, just thinking …

Leahy: Well, that’s happened around the country. Thank you, George Soros, for that. That is happening in Maury County and the city of Columbia.

Matthews: Everywhere. And so you go, why is this person running for DA?

Leahy: And that is a daunting thought.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Debbie Matthews” by Debbie Matthews. Background Photo “Columbia, Tennessee” by Matt Locke. CC BY-SA 4.0.

Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional Republican Candidate Robby Starbuck Talks Cuban Protests and Saving America

Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional Republican Candidate Robby Starbuck Talks Cuban Protests and Saving America

 

Live from Music Row Friday 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 GOP candidate for Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional District, Robby Starbuck, who weighed in on the Cuban protests for freedom and the strategy conservatives must take to get America back on track.

Leahy: We are joined by Robby Starbuck, who is a candidate for the Republican nomination in the Fifth Congressional District here in Middle Tennessee. Good morning, Robby.

Starbuck: Good morning, Michael. How are you doing?

Leahy: We’re doing great. The protest in Cuba against the dictatorial tyrannical Communist regime that’s been there for 62 years, you have some personal connection to Cuba, tell us about that and tell us your reaction to these protests.

Starbuck: Yes. My own family fled Cuba during the revolution or shortly after and I still have some family there.

And I found myself this week simultaneously so proud of the people there who are rising up and demanding freedom and liberty, while also being entirely disappointed by our own leaders here in America and a certain portion of people in this country who don’t realize how lucky we are to be a free people that have a Constitution that guarantees us or recognizes, rather, our rights that are God-given.

There’s kind of two sides to this coin because while I’m so proud of those people, it really highlights that this is a window in time where we can look in the future and see that this is what is going to happen in our country if we don’t make the right choices right now.

And if we don’t do the right things and we don’t win in 2022, this is what we have waiting for us in the future. The future where people have so much poverty, so much hunger, so much need, and have to face so much tyranny from their government that they have no choice but to rise up. And so I hope that we never get there. And I hope we make the right choices.

Leahy: Now, tell us a little bit about your family. I know your grandfather came over here. Was your mother born in Cuba, or was she born here in the states?

Starbuck: She was born in Cuba, yes. Actually, she was a teenager when she came here.

Leahy: Really? When did she come over? What year did she come over?

Starbuck: I don’t know the exact year. I’m not great at the years, but she came over when she was a teenager and she lived in a place called –

Leahy: And you currently have family members back in Cuba. Have you talked to them at all?

Starbuck: No. Because there’s a lot of fear given what I’m doing here in America and everything and we have been doing for the past few years, that it would put them in danger in Cuba if I had communication with them.

So I don’t, but other people in my family keep in communication with them. It’s that dangerous in Cuba. Even just talking to somebody in the U.S. who is doing what I’m doing and stands for freedom and has stood against the Communist Party, there is a danger for people who live there on the island.

Leahy: What has the incumbent congressman from the Fifth Congressional District, Democrat Jim Cooper, who’s been there forever and a day, said about these Cuban protests? Has he made a public statement in support of the protesters?

Starbuck: No. Absolutely nothing. In fact, saying nothing is probably the worst thing because it says everything. And by proxy, it sort of says that he doesn’t disagree with these people on the radical left in his party who are supporting the Communist government there and who not only supported Communist government but made statements essentially saying that this whole thing is about COVID and about COVID vaccines.

It says nothing. I watched all of these protests videos and listened intently. Not one video that has been on the Internet of these protests has mentioned COVID or COVID vaccines. What they mentioned were liberty and freedom.

And the visual from it is people waving American flags and that’s despite decades and decades of indoctrination where they’re supposed to hate America.

And these people are out there still in love with America and the idea of freedom. And that says a lot, after decades of government indoctrination, they still want freedom.

Leahy: Yeah, they certainly do. Let’s talk about the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The legal but not legitimate administration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and their Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

And as I say, the beta male running American foreign policy. The guy formerly with the law firm of Winken, Blinken, and Nod. Not really, but just to point out what a great expert this guy is. What has he said about these protests?

Starbuck: He’s an empty suit. He’s an empty suit. He has no interest in actually stopping this. In fact, the Biden administration’s interest is in helping the Cuban government, by proxy.

The only thing that they don’t want to do is they don’t want to publicly give them too much support where people can figure out what’s going on.

So it’s more of a wink and a nod. What they did is they dropped sanctions in Venezuela so that the Venezuelan government could help the Communist government in Cuba.

They don’t want to directly come out and help them, because if they do, they already know they have a big problem with Cubans.

We are pretty much the most conservative voter block in the country. And so they fear losing that voting block entirely for the future because they know right now in Florida, they’re not winning a state-wide election for a while.

And so they don’t want to make that a permanent problem. And just through their weakness and cowardice, they’re going to make a permanent problem because the people that have come here that are Cuban Americans know the difference.

They pay attention. And what they prefer is the type of leadership we saw from Mike Pompeo and Ron DeSantis this week, where both have stood for the Cuban people constantly and very vocally, and are now demanding the Biden administration offer up an Internet access point, which is something that we did for people in Iran not too long ago.

The Cuban government has shut down the Internet and they’ve blocked people from social media in hopes of trying to quit these protests.

Leahy: On the campaign trail, when you talk about Cuba, how do people respond to you?

Starbuck: Very well. I think people really understand that this is something that could happen here. And I think that that’s something that has given me a little bit of hope that these people see very clearly that this is something that could happen.

On the flip side that I’ll get some questions about, do I believe in U.S. intervention, and I don’t. I believe in America first. And I don’t believe in intervention anywhere else.

I can’t, despite my own personal feelings, go and say we should go save the day in Cuba. I think that what’s happening now is what needs to happen and that is the people who are rising up and they’re saying we’ve had enough.

We want freedom and liberty, and they’re doing all the things necessary to try to change things there. So there’s been a lot of conversations along those lines.

If it gets to a certain point where we see the government really seriously mass murdering in the streets, we can have a different conversation.

But aside from that, I’m glad rather that people are seeing the direct line from how you get there and what’s happening here in America.

Leahy: A couple of campaign questions for you, if that’s okay. First, is it true that Candace Owens has endorsed you?

Starbuck: It is. It’s true that Candace Owens has 100 percent. It happened this week. She’s a really good friend of mine. And I think people know, if they’ve watched what she has done over the past few years, she’s a real fighter for this country.

She knows who’s the real deal and who’s not. And so that’s why she’s jumped into this race to endorse them.

Leahy: Second campaign question, a bit of a curveball. Are you ready? Here it’s coming.

Starbuck: Yep.

Leahy: Do you anticipate any challenges to your eligibility to run for the Republican nomination in the Fifth Congressional District?

Starbuck: I heard that somebody wanted to make some sort of challenge and that’s ludicrous. I don’t even understand what the basis that they would have for that is anything like that.

Leahy: I think it has something to do with, have you voted in X number of Republican primaries in the past. Something like that?

Starbuck: Well, I mean, if that’s the case, that’s going to get thrown out really quickly. I voted in Republican primaries in California and that fills every need that is necessary.

Leahy: Is it a standard Republican primary in California or in Tennessee?

Starbuck: The standard is Republican primaries. So if you have lived in a state previously – say two and a half three years ago -and if you voted in enough of those primaries as a Republican, that seems to be the standard legally.

Leahy: And I think the eligibility standard to run in a congressional district in any state is you simply have to be a resident for, is it like, six months or one year? And you could run for any district in the state in which you’re a resident. Is that right?

Starbuck: Exactly.

Leahy: Good! What’s on your agenda for the next week or so on the campaign trail, Robby?

Starbuck: Actually, we’ve been doing so many events and just got back from CPAC. I spoke at CPAC.

Leahy: That’s right. What did you say and what was your reaction at CPAC? I forgot all about that.

Starbuck: CPAC was incredible. We had an amazing reaction. My phone is still full at this point of people I’ve got to get back to because it’s just been an insane reaction.

But for myself and former Governor Scott Walker and Congressman Mark Walker from North Carolina, we did a panel essentially on how you can roll back what the left is done here in America over the past few years.

And there’s a lot of talk about offensive strategy going forward because essentially it is a big part of our problem. We’ve been on defense for too long for decades and decades and decades.

And it’s done nothing but seed ground. And some of these people who are really RHINOS and have called themselves Conservatives, I had a very frank question: What have they conserved over the last 25, 30 years? And the only thing I can think of is their job.

Leahy: (Laughs) That’s a good line, Robby. That’s a very good line.

Starbuck: That’s true. But at this point, we need somebody who’s ready to conserve some other things, and that’s going to take an offensive strategy.

It’s going to take bold leadership and it’s going to take some outside-the-box thinking in terms of how we message our policies and that we need to be very aggressive in having an offensive plan and stop apologizing.

We had a fantastic reaction. And one of the great things I saw at CPAC with so many of the people who were there, they really just wanted leadership and they wanted something to do.

And they came because they’re ready to take action someway or another. And they want to be able to know, what do I do? What is the best thing I can do to save this country?

Leahy: Robby Starbuck, candidate for the Fifth Congressional District, the Republican nomination. Thanks for joining us. Come back again, please.

Starbuck: Thank you. Will do. And if anybody wants to find out more go to starbuck2022.com.

Listen to the second hour here:

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roger Simon on the Need for True Republican Leadership at the State Level in Tennessee and Georgia

Roger Simon on the Need for True Republican Leadership at the State Level in Tennessee and Georgia

 

Live from Music Row Thursday 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 senior editor-at-large at The Epoch Times Roger Simon in studio to discuss his latest column citing the immediate need for Conservative governor leadership in Tennessee and Georgia.

Leahy: We are joined in studio by our newest all-star panelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, my former boss at PJTV, a great novelist, and also now an editor-at-large for The Epoch Times, Roger Simon. Good morning, Roger.

Simon: Good morning.

Leahy: Yes, it is a good morning for America. And you had a terrific column yesterday at The Epoch Times. I want you to talk about it.

I’ll read the headline. You fill in the details. Headline. Tennessee and Georgia Need Real Republican (Conservative) Governors ASAP. Tell us about that column.

Simon: Well they sure do. I’ve been spending has been a part of last year, back and forth between here and Atlanta, sitting there in the State Farm Arena, watching them count the votes and all that stuff.

So I’ve been sort of into this. Who’s the governor in both states since I live here in Nashville? Anyway, I arrived in Nashville from LA exactly when the last governor gubernatorial primary was going June of 2018.

I was invited almost immediately to some swanky house in Belle Meade or Green Hills, and I have forgotten where it was exactly, but to listen to some of the principal candidates, among whom were Governor Lee, Beth Hartwell, and Diane Black.

Leahy: Randy Boyd perhaps?

Simon: I don’t think Randy Boyd was there that night.

Leahy: He’s an East Tennessee guy.

Simon: And aside from the front door of the house, just inside the front door was a big cut out of Trump. It’s a cardboard cutout and a foot higher than everybody else.

That signaled that there was trouble ahead here. And the three candidates also had paid him an obeisance as we say in the French way.

Leahy: Obeisance. Homage.

Simon: Homage.

Leahy: A little French here this morning.

Simon: Because he was fairly popular in the state and is fairly popular in the state. As people will recall, I think 67 percent of them.

Leahy: And among Republican primary voters, we’ve polled this for multiple years. He’s at an 89.5 percent approval rating. Trump is recently among Republican primary voters.

Simon: So we elect Governor Lee. My reaction was to him that time, and I was pretty close self listening and was 15 feet away was kind of meh. (Leahy laughs)

But frankly, I’ve been around politicians a lot because I’m a writer. I’ve seen Bobby Kennedy speak the day before he was shot.

Leahy: A long time ago. ’68.

Simon: A long time ago. He was a pretty electric speaker. He and Trump are the best political speakers I’ve ever seen. My meh reaction didn’t mean that he’d be a bad governor it just means he wasn’t very electric as a speaker in a small group.

Okay, that’s a minor part of being a governor, really. But since then, it’s all been downhill. What’s interesting about Tennessee and also Georgia is interesting in this regard because the electorate, the rank, and file, is way, way more committed to Conservatives than the politicians themselves.

Leahy: By a long shot.

Simon: By a long shot. And that is something that I have now and Mr. Leahy here and a lot of people of good spirit are now are on a crusade to bring them together like a magnet.

(Leahy laughs) And that’s what’s got to happen. My column talks about that, and I think it is happening. I mean, a lot of the things that are going on I’ve seen sometimes through my wife, who is getting very active among the women here in both Davidson and Williamson counties.

They’re really up in arms about the educational thing, CRT, and all that stuff. And they have a right to be. And this is radicalizing them in a good way. It’s making them committed. And I think the times they are a-changing as someone once said.

Leahy: Yeah, I think you’re quite right. And it’s very interesting to have this disconnect between Conservatives like the Moms for Liberty.

They’re very strong in Williamson County, and they’re not putting up with basically this claim that we’re really not teaching critical race theory except, yes, they are. And Bill Lee is doing nothing. Zero zip on that agenda.

Listen to the third hour here:

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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.
Photo “Roger Simon” by Roger Simon 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor Andy Ogles Speaks at Town Hall Style Meeting in Leipers Fork with Hundreds of Concerned Conservatives

Mayor Andy Ogles Speaks at Town Hall Style Meeting in Leipers Fork with Hundreds of Concerned Conservatives

 

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 Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio who talked about his town hall style meeting with 100 conservatives in Leipers Fork Monday evening.

Leahy: We are joined in studio by our good friend, the mayor of Maury County Andy Ogles. Every time you come in, Andy, I learn something new. Here’s what you told me during the break. And I suppose you could say I am slack-jawed to hear this.

Ogles: Amen. (Chuckles)

Leahy: It turns out there are conservatives in Leipers Fork, in Middle Tennessee, in Williamson County. That is surprising to me.

Ogles: Last night we had our County Commission meeting, so I was there for that.

Leahy: Last night Maury County has a commission meeting and as the Mayor, you’re there. I’ve only been to one County Commission meeting ever. Williamson County. Let me just say it dragged on. It dragged on. And on.

Ogles: We’ve got a good group of folks on our county commission, and it was a committee meeting, and it was, well, run and lasted about an hour.

Leahy: Really? Just an hour?

Ogles: Just an hour.

Leahy: I think other county commissions need to go down to Maury County and learn how to run a meeting in one hour.

Ogles: Well, there wasn’t a lot on the agenda. It’s budget season in the state of Tennessee for all your counties. And so that’s really the focus, I think, for a lot of county seats.

Leahy: So this was last night.

Ogles: And last minute I was invited to this conservative meeting in Leipers Fork.

Leahy: Hold on just a minute. (Laughter) I’m still a little bit astonished here. A conservative meeting in Leipers Fork? I love Leipers Fork. It’s a great community. We go up there and go to the galleries and go to the restaurants and just hang out.

It’s a wonderful community. But conservative, it’s not a word and it’s not an adjective that would come to mind when you say Leipers Fork.

Ogles: It’s known for its kind of arts, a lot of musicians up there. But I think in most cycles, and of course, I’m just speaking generically I think most people in Leipers Fork would consider themselves independents, conservative, maybe fiscally conservative, and probably a little more moderate on some of the social issues.

But there’s something happening. So I’m invited to speak across the state because I’ve been so outspoken, not just on COVID, but CRT.

Leahy: Because under your leadership, Maury County is a bastion of freedom.

Ogles: Bastion of freedom. Welcome to America.

Leahy: Welcome to America and freedom. (Laughs) What time do you get an impromptu call? What time does the call come in?

Ogles: It was literally 2:30 p.m. to get involved and say, hey, we’re going to have an event.

Leahy: If I get a call like that, by the way, I go out of curiosity just to say there are conservatives in Leipers Fork. What time do you finish your committee meeting?

Ogles: We finished right at 5:30 p.m. in Columbia. Hopped in the car to go to Leipers Fork.

Leahy: That’s a pretty drive, isn’t it?

Ogles: It’s beautiful back roads.

Leahy: I went out to dinner last night and I came back driving through Williamson County, and I’m looking at it, and I’m saying it’s gonna be one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s just gorgeous.

Ogles: Tennessee in general is a special place. I’m biased of course. I grew up here. My family has been here forever.

Leahy: But I actively made the choice to move here, right? Because I must confess, I am a Yankee by birth. But I chose to be a Tennesseean 30 plus years ago.

Ogles: You were talking about moving here. I was in the middle of a rant, and I made some kind of derogatory comment about California. And then I paused for a moment. It’s like, okay, I’m sorry.

Leahy: How many people were there?

Ogles: About 100.

Leahy: 100 conservatives in Leiper Fork?

Ogles: Yes.

Leahy: Wow! Now, where was it?

Ogles: Puckett’s.

Leahy: I love that place. What a great place.

Ogles: It was standing room only. Some great folks were there.

Leahy: Who organized this and what do they call themselves and when did they get organized?

Ogles: You know, I don’t know the name of the group. (Leahy laughs) They asked do you want to come and say a few words? And I did. It was more than a few words. I had that last spot. So I was the quasi-keynote.

But we talked about a lot of things, Critical Race Theory, and election integrity, and everything that’s going on in this country. And so whether I’m speaking in Pulaski or Knoxville or like last night, Leipers Fork.

Texas to Pennsylvania to Tennessee, there’s a red wave I think about to hit this country. And I think you see that manifest itself last night in Leipers Fork that otherwise folks who are fairly well off, they’re not overtly politically engaged came out on a Monday evening to hear a Conservative speak, and they are ticked off. Let me tell you. And I’ve got a funny story if you want to hear it.

Leahy: Andy, you always have a funny story.  Now, I’ve heard this story a little bit. But it’s really very funny. Tell us the story.

Ogles: I love the town hall-style. Sorry about that. So do the intro hit some hot button issues, kind of talk about the winds of the legislative session and the half measures. And by the way, Tennessee compared to Florida, we were a state of half measures, and we can talk about that or talk about it another time.

So I did Q and A and I’m taking questions. And it’s the 15th or 20th question. It’s time to kind of close this thing.

Leahy: It’s the end of the evening.

Ogles: This thing has gone on.

Leahy: There were 100 people there.

Ogles: Two hours at Puckett’s. We’re hitting the two-hour mark and it’s time to close it out.

Leahy: And you have to get up very early in the morning to come and be on our program.

Ogles: Yeah, I’m tired today, man. I’m energetic. And there’s a Lady with long blonde hair in the back. And I’d seen her a couple of times raising her hand. And I was like, yes, ma’am, in the back. And she says, well, I may be from California, but I’m not a she. I’m a man. Long blonde hair.

Leahy: Long blonde hair!

Ogles: Lights are in my eyes. But the funny thing was, if you remember the rock band, the Nelsons, the Nelson twins. Well, it was Gunner Nelson. He was there and had a question, but I totally just called him a woman.

It was hilarious. The crowd erupted, and I just so happened to be wearing my glasses. And so I took them off and I just said, apparently, I need an eye doctor. But he was very gracious. And afterwards I went up to him and spoke.

And we’re going to be doing this kind of this freedom tour coming up across the state talking about these important issues. And this group was fired up to hear more about it and to be a part of it.

Leahy: So Gunner Nelson, his dad, of course, was the great Ricky Nelson. His grandparents Ozzie and Harriet. A great television program. And he and his twin brother had quite a success in the early 1990s with the band Nelson.

They had the long blonde hair that was sort of their trademark. They’re pretty good musically. They’ve moved from California to Tennessee, apparently.

Ogles: Super nice. Both brothers were there. One of their wives were there and just great family. I felt so bad because again, I couldn’t see because they were at the back of the room. The lights were in my eyes, and I just saw long blond hair.

And I’m just thinking, okay, yes, ma’am. And he says, I’m not a ma’am. But what are you going to do? You just roll with it and self deprecating and just be honest about it. I’m sorry. But a great guy and a Conservative.

Leahy: He’s a conservative.

Ogles: And they may not want me to say that.

Leahy: It’s out! It’s out! But there are so many people that are moving here.

Ogles: But I tell you, there’s this surge in Tennessee. People want to get involved.

Leahy: I think you’re exactly right. There is a surge in Tennessee and other parts of the country.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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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.
Photo “Leipers Fork” by Michael Gaylard CC 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newly Elected Davidson County GOP Chair Jim Garrett on Top Priorities and Hope for Conservatives of Middle Tennessee

Newly Elected Davidson County GOP Chair Jim Garrett on Top Priorities and Hope for Conservatives of Middle Tennessee

 

Live from Music Row Thursday 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. –  official guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed newly elected GOP chair for Davidson County Jim Garrett to the newsmakers line to discuss his priorities moving forward and his optimism for conservatives.

Cunningham: We’ve got a great guest now, and it’s a guy that has a big challenge. Jim Garrett is the newly re-elected chair of the Davidson County Republican Party. Jim, good morning.

Garrett: Good morning, Ben. Good morning, Grant. How are you all?

Cunningham: We’re doing great. Thanks so much for getting up early with us. We really appreciate it.

Garrett: Since I’ve retired a couple of years ago, I have generally taken the sixth and the seven off of my clock. (Cunnigham chuckles) Well, we are doubly impressed that you’re with us.

Thanks so much and congratulations on the re-election. I think the term is the reorganization was this weekend and you were elected chair of the Davidson County Republican Party. And congratulations on that.

Garrett: Thank you very much. Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Cunningham: I know you are a dedicated conservative. And being a dedicated conservative in Davidson County is not an easy job because Davidson County is one of the blue counties that conservative Republicans in Tennessee, you have to deal with and along with Shelby County and a few others. But Davidson and Shelby are the two biggies.

What is it like being the chair of the Republican Party in a blue County? What are the challenges you guys are facing?

Garrett: The challenges we face are those very similar to what the Republicans across the country they’re facing. We’ve got a very energized opposition. The Democrat Party is very energized here in Davidson County.

They are somewhat organized and they’re in charge. So they killed us with COVID. Our reorganization normally would have happened in the first quarter of an odd number of years. We do it every two years.

But because of what John Cooper and his Health Department were doing, we had to postpone and postpone and postpone and finally got it done in May much later than we would have normally done it.

Cunningham: I hadn’t even thought about that. All the code restrictions affected, obviously, your ability to come together, didn’t it?

Garrett: We couldn’t have more than eight people for most of our meetings. So we’ve been doing Zoom meetings the last several months we have been in person, but we did spend all 2020 year in Zoom meetings meeting every month for our executive committee. And the restrictions, yes, they hurt us quite a bit.

Henry: Hey, Jim. Grant Henry here. I have a question based on reports I’ve been reading in reports and you get this general sense and an almost palpable feeling that there’s a conservative resurgence happening here in Middle Tennessee.

Tomi Lahren moved to town. Candace Owens lives here now. Ben Shapiro up and moved the entire Daily Wire crew and 85 employees to Nashville. You get this feeling almost that for some of the under 40 conservatives it’s the place to be in this happening city?

Do you think that’s going to have an impact at all on how the GOP operates in Davidson County? Or is that just a little bit too naive of me?

Garrett: It is not naive at all. On my end of the telephone, I get three or four calls a day from people wanting to get involved. Our website gopnashville.org has got buttons on there for volunteering and contributing.

But the volunteer button three or four times a day. I’ll get an email from the website saying that this person or that person wants to do it. And it’s just fun to watch. Of the 14 members that we elected to the office of the executive committee this time, five of us there are 15.

But five of us are returning people who’ve been around for a while. 10 of them, though, are people relatively new to Davidson County. They’ve got a great experience where they did live in the Republican Party.

They work with state legislators, state offices. They were chairman of their parties out in California, up in New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, Georgia. And they bring with them a vast experience. And energy that I haven’t seen before here in Davidson County. I’m excited. I’m not excited a bit awed of where I think we can go and what we can do.

Cunningham: Jim, the people talk all the time about the Metro Council and the fact that basically is, except for Steve Glover and a few others, it is pretty much a bastion of the far left. How do we crack that nut, so to speak?

Garrett: We have a chance right now. We’re going through that here in the state with the 2020 census and the redistricting. We’re looking at redistricting. I set out the beginning of this year with four objectives basically based on each quarter.

My first quarter was the reorganization. We got that done late, but we got it. The second quarter is working with the General Assembly on redistricting for our state House seats here in Davidson County and our state senate seats here in Davidson County.

But then recruiting candidates in the third quarter for 2022 and in training those candidates in the fourth quarter for 2022. But that brings us to 2023. And again, we’ll go through a redistricting for 2023 and the council race.

We are going to be working to try to get lines drawn that would give us a chance in certain areas. We have good Republican people here. Trump got 100,000 votes or something like that in Davidson County.

So we’ve got a body of people. They’re also silent. They’re also quiet. They’ve been beaten down, but I think if we can energize them, the council race will change. I don’t expect this to get a majority of 21 people out of that 40.

I don’t expect that at all, but I would like to see us get 10 to 15 solid Republicans in there. And if we do that, we can certainly change what this Metro Council does what direction they go.

Henry: Jim, you may have just answered this question with that statement you just made, but if someone were to call in, if they’re listening right now, if they’re thinking, Hey, I just moved to Davidson County and I want to get involved in local GOP group.

What’s your top priority issue? What’s the thing you need them to work on the most? What do you need the most help with right now? Is it those council races?

Garrett: No. Council races are 2023. It’s 2022 that we are focused on right now, and we need candidates for state House. We need some representation in the state house here, and we’ve got 10 state House seats and none of them are a Republican right now, and we’ve got to change that. So our next main focus will be candidates for the 2022 race.

Henry: Jim, do you see any one seat more vulnerable than the others say within Davidson County at the state house level?

Garrett: There are some seats that are not vulnerable at all, and we probably won’t touch them. But there are other seats that are. You’ve got five who have decided not to run again. That seat is going to be uncontested.

I think Bo Mitchell in House seat 50 is at risk. The people out there don’t like Bo. Bo is the only legislator that I’ve been down to the capital that has actually got up and walked out of his office. He insulted me at a time.

And I just got up and walked out of the meeting with him. That man is an evil man, in my opinion, but I think he’s vulnerable out there. There’s probably a couple of others.

Cunningham: Obviously, Mayor Cooper has been a disappointment. A lot of conservatives had faith in him that he would be a fiscal conservative, but that faith has been completely blown away.

Garrett: Oh, absolutely. I was at a friend’s house when we had to get together and Cooper was there talking about how conservative he was and it was a bi-partisan race and that he’s basically a conservative.

And then the first thing he does out of the pot is to raise our taxes 34 or 37 percent depending on where you live. I think Cooper right now with this referendum that’s going on, is scared to death that it will pass and we will get that voter list and get the voter numbers turned down because he’s vulnerable for a recall. And I do believe he is vulnerable for a recall.

Cunningham: Well, Jim, we are up against the break. Give us that website one more time if you would before we leave.

Garrett: Gopnashville.org.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Photo “Davidson County Republican Party” by Davidson County Republican Party.