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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Craig Huey Reflects on a Recent Trip to California Where Fear and Oppression Are in the Air

Craig Huey Reflects on a Recent Trip to California Where Fear and Oppression Are in the Air

 

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 the creator of the Huey Report and direct mail expert, Craig Huey, in-studio to discuss what he saw in California on a recent trip citing limited amounts of liberty and freedom and an environment of fear.

Leahy: We welcome to our studios our good friend, a California refugee, a smart man who’s come to Nashville, Tennessee. Has a business in Nashville and lives in Williamson County now, Craig Huey. Good morning, Craig.

Huey: Michael, it’s great to be with you.

Leahy: Did we send you off on a reconnaissance mission back to your home state of California recently?

Huey: Yeah. I snuck back into California, and I got to tell you, it is pretty oppressive.

Leahy: It’s gotten worse in the years since you left.

Huey: Oh, my gosh. Over 12 months, I officially left in June. I bought a place out here back in March of last year. And so I’ve been back and forth. And the devastation is unbelievable. So back in California, I was there just when they started opening up the restaurants after 12 months.

Leahy: You went back to Los Angeles or Orange County.

Huey: The Los Angeles area in San Bernadino area. That area.

Leahy: Did they require that you show an ID before you got on the plane?

Huey: They did require it. How about that?

Leahy: Was it Delta or some other airline?

Huey: This one was Delta.

Leahy: So let me just be clear.

Huey: Yes.

Leahy: Delta Airlines, which is a virtue-signaling opposition to the Georgia law election law that requires an ID to get an absentee ballot.

Huey: That’s right.

Leahy: The same people that cheered on Major League Baseball, moving the All-Star game from 50 percent Black Atlanta.

Huey: Yes.

Leahy: To 10 percent Black Denver, where they have the same election laws.

Huey: Yes.

Leahy: This company, Delta Airlines, would not allow you to get on the plane unless you show them your ID.

Huey: Michael, the hypocrisy is so clear and so damning. But you know what? The hypocrisy extends throughout California. You take a look here in Tennessee. I see a booming economy. I see people in restaurants. I see people in churches. I see people going about their lives. I see more and more people being free from the fear that has happened over the last 12 months. And in California, the fear is real.

Leahy: So let’s track your journey. So you show your ID.

Huey: Yes.

Leahy: You get on Delta Airlines. They don’t allow you to get on unless you show that ID.

Huey: That’s right.

Leahy: You wear your mask the whole time.

Huey: Oh, I have to.

Leahy: Got to wear the mask. You land in California, at LAX, probably.

Huey: LAX.

Leahy: Los Angeles International Airport. You get out. Describe what you see after you land.

Huey: I get out. And as soon as I walk through the airport, it’s so much different than the Nashville airport. You feel a feeling of fear and oppression just on the people themselves. In Nashville, I can kind of have the mask down and not have it fully on. In LA people will turn you in.

Leahy: They’ll turn you in? Where’s that? Were there people out there looking for Craig Huey to see if he wasn’t wearing that mask ready to turn you in?

Huey: There were people looking to see and make sure they had it over their noses. And so I get into the car and the car is taking me to my place there.

Leahy: Okay. You’ve got a driver.

Huey: I have a driver. Super nice guy. And let me tell you what this driver goes. I say, in Tennessee, I go to the market and we go to a store and people aren’t really wearing masks. People are at concerts. People are doing different things. But out here, they’re not. And he goes, I can’t believe that. He had no clue that people weren’t living in fear and in a lockdown-type society.

He had not been to a restaurant in 12 months. He doesn’t go outside his home without a mask. And even if he’s walking the street alone, even if he’s in the car alone, he’s got the mask on in fear. Because, first of all, Dr. Fauci told him and President Biden told him to do so. And second, he doesn’t want to have the neighbors turn him in.

Leahy: He doesn’t want to have the neighbors turn him in.

Huey: That’s right.

Leahy: Another good reason to leave California. Your neighbors are crazy.

Huey: Crazy. Well, I went down to the place called Manhattan Beach. Absolutely beautiful.

Leahy: It’s in Southern Los Angeles County, almost into Orange County, right on the beach.

Huey: That’s where I grew up. In that area. I was surfing in that ocean throughout junior high.

Leahy: And by the way, just for our listeners, Craig Huey is the ultimate California kid. Craig Huey was a surfer boy.

Huey: Love it.

Leahy: When the Beach Boys got started, you were part of that crowd.

Huey: I was part of that crowd. That was my music. So I go down to Manhattan Beach and I’m not wearing a mask. And somebody on what’s called the Strand which is a walkway along the beach comes up to me, says, you can’t do this. You don’t have a mask on. I said, what are you talking about? They’re going to give you a ticket.

They’re giving thousands of tickets to people who don’t have the mask on or properly. $500 tickets. They have an army of people out there making sure everybody’s regulated when they’re out in the fresh air when they’re maybe by themselves, and they may have nobody around them, they have to be obedient.

Leahy: And there’s no science that backs up any of that stuff. And by the way, so I looked at the latest COVID stats from free states like Texas. No masks. And Florida, no masks. You’re free to roam about the state. They have lower cases of COVID.

Huey: Yes. Lower cases, hospitalizations, and death.

Leahy: In those free states. Unlike California, New York, Michigan, all of the blue authoritarian control you’ve got to wear a mass state.

Huey: Yes. It’s the principle of freedom and personal responsibility versus collectivism statism where the government’s telling you what to do. And there’s not individual freedom being respected in a state like California or New York or Connecticut. But in Florida, in Texas, and here in Tennessee, we have liberty. We have choices to make. And our choices are something where you see it in unemployment. In Florida, the unemployment rate is around three percent. In California, it’s close to 10 percent.

In California, half the restaurants are closed forever. In Florida, I was down there with my wife in Florida at a conference, a full-on conference mind you, with people there in the conference. I was down there in Florida about a week ago, and the restaurants are expanding. They’re booming. They’re full. People are back. And that’s freedom and in action. That’s freedom working. And in California, it’s like, I don’t know if I can go to a restaurant. I’m afraid.

Leahy: It’s kind of crazy. By the way, this is new information for you, but it fits our theme here. So I was down in Tallahassee and about a week and a half ago and cooking up a little expansion of the Star News Network. As you know, I’m the majority owner of Star News Digital Media. We operate the Star News Network. We currently have six conservative, state-based news sites. The Tennessee Star, The Georgia Star News, The Virginia Star, The Ohio Star, The Michigan Star, and The Minnesota Sun. And on April 21 we are opening The Florida Capital Star. How about that?

Huey: Congratulations. That’s awesome.

Leahy: Then then wait for it. Wait for it. In May, we’re gonna open up The Texas Lone Star. Do you like that?

Huey: I love it.

Leahy: And what is our theme here? Our theme is liberty. Yes, we are featuring state, state-based pushback to federal usurpations. Right now ironically, Craig, if you look at our new sites, we get a lot of traffic from California.

Huey: I’m not surprised. Let me tell you, the exodus out of California is huge. Where I live, in my community, out in Williamson County I would say the neighbors are from California. I was at church. A car pulls up next to me and a family gets out. I look at the license plate. It’s like mine. (Leahy chuckles) It’s from California. They had just moved out just a couple of weeks ago. And we’re seeing Californians making a decision to leave family, friends, work, and places they were born to venture out in freedom and get away from the oppression of California.

Leahy: Famously, in 1876, a newspaper publisher and presidential candidate who did not succeed, Horus Greely famously said, Go West Young Man. I think now, go away from the West of California is the theme.

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

 

 

 

 

Free Range Kids Founder Lenore Skenazy Talks About Her Two New Inititiaves, Let Grow Play Club and Let Grow Project

Free Range Kids Founder Lenore Skenazy Talks About Her Two New Inititiaves, Let Grow Play Club and Let Grow Project

 

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 President of Let Grow and founder of Free Range Kids Lenore Skenazy to the newsmakers line to talk about her two new initiatives.

Leahy: On our newsmaker line, our new friend, Lenore Skenazy, the President of Letgrow.org. And really the founder of the Free Range Kids Movement. So, Lenore, I have a question for you. Are you open to it?

Skenazy: I thought you had a great idea for me.

Leahy: I do. I have a question for you. So first, before we get to our idea, why don’t you describe some of the K8 projects that Let Grow has currently?

Skenazy: Oh, thank you so much. Sure. So we just have two school initiatives. They’re both free. So it’s not like I’m selling something. One is like I was telling you before the Let Grow Play Club. We encourage schools to open before after school for kid-led, no adult. There’s an adult in the corner with an EpiPen. But otherwise, it’s just kids playing. And throw a lot of junk out there balls and jump ropes and cardboard boxes.

And if you need some help organizing that or dealing with it, how do you explain it to parents and make them see that it’s not just a waste of time. You can get what we call our instruction kit or something at Letgrow.org. And the other thing is the Let Grow Project. And this is a homework assignment that teachers give kids anywhere from K through eighth grade that says, go home and do something new on your own without an adult.

Without your parents. And of course, you talk about it with your parents. But it’s just to renormalize the idea of kids running an errand. Kids walking to school. Kids go over to a friend’s house. Kids making dinner because parents have been so frightened by this whole culture that is telling them that any time that they’re not helping their kid or watching their kids, their kids in danger, that they don’t even know how to let go anymore.

So I don’t blame them because they’re living in a culture where Parents Magazine says, don’t let your kids ever have a play date without you listening to make sure that they don’t have an argument because if they do, you want to jump in. I mean, Parents Magazine theme has been telling parents that kids can’t do anything safely on their own and that they will live to regret it.

And so the Let Grow Project, because it comes from a teacher just gives parents permission to say, you know what? You can let your eight-year-old walk outside, your nine-year-old go run an errand, and your five-year-old play on the lawn. It’s up to you, but it renormalizes it because everybody at the school is doing it. You’re not the crazy mom. You’re not Lenore. (Chuckles)

You’re just doing something for homework. So those are our two school initiatives. And then the other thing that Let Grow is working on is we are trying to encourage states to change their neglect laws to make sure that like playing outside or walking to school or staying home briefly by yourself, that’s not considered neglect. We want neglect to be actual neglect, not trusting kids with a little bit of independence when the parents feel their children are ready.

Leahy: All very good stuff. So you’re ready for my big idea and like to throw it out there?

Skenazy: I can’t wait. I need a new idea.

Leahy: Well, I’d like to see if you might have an interest. There are some people here in Tennessee that might be interested in starting perhaps a statewide pilot program. Here’s the idea. Let Grow Baseball.

Skenazy: I bet I know what it is. I’m guessing it’s just sort of getting initiative like it’s Saturday morning kids go play baseball.

Leahy: Yeah, well, the idea would be maybe to work with little leagues and maybe even some professional baseball teams to set up everywhere and every county. There are 95 counties in Tennessee, fields where kids can go, perhaps have one adult there, just so that in case somebody falls and needs to go to the hospital, they could take them.

But basically, this is a field that’s open all the time in the summer, in the spring, in the fall, where our kids can go and play baseball and self organize and play baseball the way their dads and their grandfather’s and their great grandfather’s did in America for years and years and years before. That’s the big idea. What do you think?

Skenazy: I absolutely love it. It’s actually an idea that we’ve kicked around something like this. One of our co-founders of Let Grow is a guy named Peter Gray.

Leahy: Dr. Peter Gray, Boston College.

Skenazy: Yes, exactly. Oh, my God. Yes. And so Peter Gray said, why can’t we get sand block baseball going again? Which it sounds like what you’re talking about.

Leahy: That’s exactly right.

Skenazy: The fields are there, but nobody thinks to go, because unless you’re in an organized activity, we sort of think that baseball is just for three-hour practices a week. And we just have to renormalize the idea of kids getting up and going out. And so, yes, figure out how to make it happen. I mean, really, you need two things to happen.

One is for kids to recognize that there are going to be other kids outside. So there will be somebody for them to play with. And then two weeks for parents. Well, I guess you need a couple of things. Two weeks for parents to let them go and not think that the parents have to be in the bleachers all day. No parent wants to be outside as long as a kid wants to be outside. Kids want to be out longer because they just want to play.

And no parent wants to stay there from eight in the morning till seven at night on a Sunday like you used to spend. And then I think it behooves your state to consider what we call a reasonable childhood independence law, which used to be called the Free Range Kids Law when it was passed in Utah, which is just what we were talking about before. Making sure that it’s not mistaken for neglect by letting your kids go outside and play baseball for three hours while you’re at home doing whatever else you prefer to do.

Leahy: That makes an awful lot of sense. I see from his biography that Dr. Peter Gray was the co-founder of Let Grow at letgrow.org. I see from his biography that he grew up in small towns in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He’s a little older than I am. I’m betting every summer he’d go out and play baseball in a sandlot.

Skenazy: Believe me, he did that. And even in winter in Minnesota, he was outside. In the winter he was ice skating, and in the summer he was fishing. And actually, he took a test recently to see, is your child an addict? Because he also believes that his kids like playing video games. That’s not the end of the world either. You don’t want them only doing that, but kids are allowed to have some fun.

And when he took the test are like, do you always think about this activity? Did you wake up and think about this activity? Have you skipped school to think about this activity? And he realized as a child he had been a fishing addict because all he would do was he would just be so interested in getting that pole and going off to wherever the fishing hole was. And look, he ended up a Professor at Boston College. I don’t think all that time spent playing baseball, fishing, hanging out outside, and sometimes even skipping school, just because he had the drive to do something else and some fascination with something.

I mean, what I worry about is the kids growing up being driven from one activity to the other they like them and its fine and I did that with my kids. But when you have some free unstructured time without an adult telling you what to do and why it’s good for you, you develop something else and that’s this internal sense of I can handle things. Life is interesting. I’m pretty intrepid. And without that internal locus of control, you’re very depressed. It’s like going to a job every day where you’re micromanaged. The assumption is that kids today are having higher levels of depression and anxiety because everything is done with them and for them and they dont’ get to do anything on their own.

Leahy: They have no agency, no control.

Skenazy: Yes, absolutely.

Leahy: So Here’s what I’d like you to consider.

If you and Dr. Peter Gray, let’s set up a phone call, and let’s plan this thing out and introduce Let Grow Sandlot Baseball or whatever you want to call it. We’ll introduce Let Grow Sandlot Baseball to every County in Tennessee. The fields are there. We just need to get some private money into it. And I can tell you right now in Tennessee, I’ve been talking to a number of Little League people and some professional major league sports teams that I think would be very interested in helping this happen. And Tennessee of course is the best state in the country to start this…

Skenazy: Because…

Leahy: Because we want to do it because, of course, we have no state income tax, and we have a tradition of freedom and liberty. And it’s, of course, the volunteer state.

Skenazy: Oh, that’s right. I’m thinking about the license plate. Yeah, well, the ideas of freedom and liberty are pretty much dead if you think that people need constant supervision. And that’s what we’re raising kids with. The idea that they’re never safe, and they shouldn’t even feel safe unless somebody else is always watching them, either in person or electronically. And I want to contract this idea that no, actually, you yourself are okay. You can handle things. The world is your oyster. It’s not a threat. So I think it has to start pretty young, and that’s what Let Grow is about.

So we’ll have our first phone call with the Let Grow Sandlot Baseball-Tennessee Star idea. And then we’ll invite you down here to Nashville. You and Dr. Peter Gray to talk to some baseball people. Look at some fields, and let’s get this thing rolling.

Skenazy: Let’s aim for the stand. Now you know how little I know about baseball. That wall at the back. How about a home run.

Leahy: If you build it, they will come.

Skenazy: Especially if you don’t go there with them.

Leahy: Exactly.

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

 

 

 

Tennessee State Rep. Rusty Grills Talks Legislating from His Counties in the ‘Front Porch of Heaven’ and Maintaining Freedom

Tennessee State Rep. Rusty Grills Talks Legislating from His Counties in the ‘Front Porch of Heaven’ and Maintaining Freedom

 

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 Tennessee State Rep. of District 77, Rusty Grills, to the newsmakers line to discuss his background growing up on a farm and his two bills dealing with farm protection and a bill that repeals the civil asset forfeiture bond.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by state representative Rusty Grills who’s from Newbern which is in the northwestern corner of the state. He’s a vice-chair of the agriculture committee. Welcome to The Tennessee Star Report.

Grills: Good morning. Good morning. How are you?

Leahy: Good. So are you in town for this meeting of the general assembly?

Grills: Yes, sir I sure am. I got here yesterday afternoon.

Leahy: That is a bit of a travel isn’t it?

Grills: It is. But it’s a perfect opportunity to catch up on phone calls and make some of the little decisions you have to make for a week. And set some things up and have the opportunity to talk to different folks. So really the time flies by when you’re driving in.

Leahy: Tell us a little bit about Dyer, Lake, and Obion Counties, in the northwestern corner of the state. How would you compare that part of the state to other parts of the state?

Grills: It’s like all of Tennessee. It has its regents that live there. But you know, I like to think it’s the front porch to heaven.

Leahy: That’s a good line. The front porch to heaven. Where are Lake County and Dyer County and parts of the Obion County?

Grill: That’s right about two-thirds of the western part of Obion County.

Leahy: Why is it the front porch of heaven there?

Grills: I live in a farming community. I’m actually a full-time farmer by trade. I’m a ninth-generation farmer. So that’s a unique job title for a representative or politician. But I was raised on a farm for a living. And generations passed a farm. Not only that but everybody in my community pretty much a farmer and that’s the number one industry for that part of the world and we know it’s a little different than it is here. A little flatter. We still have the Rolling Hills. In the fresh green grass and the fresh and clean air. It’s a good small community where everyone knows each other. And if you’re on the side of the road with a flat tire, you don’t have to worry about somebody stopping to try to help you.

Leahy: State Representative Rusty Grills, how big is your farm?

Grills: We farm about 3,000 acres. Me and my dad and two brothers.

Leahy: 3,000 acres. Let me just tell you, I come from dairy country in Upstate New York, and actually, my Grandfather had a farm in Hemmingford Quebec. We still own two acres of the farm. We sold that off in 1970 when my grandfather passed away. But that farm was a dairy farm. It only had a hundred acres. When I hear somebody in Tennessee say they’ve got three thousand acres I go. Wow! What do you grow there?

Grills: Primarily row crop. We do have some cattle, but I’ve got rid of my cattle because it’s too hard to be up here and take care of cattle throughout the winter. But corn, soybeans, wheat, or triticale. Those are the primary crops we grow.

Leahy: What’s the market like for a farmer? What are the economics of being a farmer today?

Grills: Lots of capital and you make it only make money on the margins. It’s like anything else. you have to manage it correctly. And you know, I feel I feel like it’s a wonderful opportunity to raise a family and it to be close to your family. And that’s the biggest positive for me. Other than the fact of being raised on it. When I was young four to five years old, I was in the field every day. There are pictures of me driving a tractor way before some of these people on the talking heads on TV think it was it was appropriate for you to be driving a tractor.

Leahy: We won’t tell them. (Chuckles)

Grills: Everybody is looking for a way to get their feelings hurt now.

Leahy: So true. So true.

Grills: I’ve been married for 15 years this coming Thursday to my wife. And we have two daughters. Four of us with children. My mom and dad raised us in a conservative Christian home. So with that, you know, I had the opportunity to you know, spend a lot of time with family and to develop a close bond with them. So I feel like I’m blessed in many ways and we didn’t have the financial blessings that a lot of people may have had but we had a lot of other blessings that others would want. You can’t have it all but what you can’t have you are grateful for.

Leahy: Sure. So I’ll get you your committee assignment on agriculture in a bit. I noticed I’m looking at the bills that you personally are sponsoring. There was one I thought about and what really caught my eye which basically is out there that says that in an emergency of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency cannot force or impose unlawful restrictions on the operations of churches. Tell us about that.

Grills: The goal of this legislation is just to protect churches and make sure liberty and that the religious freedom that we are guaranteed by the Constitution is not infringed upon. Who would have thought that Gavin Newsom from California with churches down, but he tried. I always want to call him Mario Cuomo from New York. I guess you remember him.

Leahy: I remember the late pious Mario and his son Andrew.

Grills: Well, you know, then you got Andrew up there that wanted to do the same thing. Governor Lee obviously did not have the same does not have the same political mind that those liberals do. However, I actually talked to Governor Lee. This is in no way shape form or fashion to stick a finger in his eye or to be to do anything that might be against Governor Lee he did not shut churches down here in the state. I think that was great.

But when you never know what Governor Lee may have coming in the future or knowing what pandemic or you know extreme circumstances. I just don’t believe that the governor by the stroke of a pen should be able to stop religious services. Everyone is worried to death about their their physical well-being. But at the same time, our spiritual well-being is important because it has eternal value. So we need to make sure that our churches have now the doors open and willing and ready to allow congregations to meet.

Leahy: What’s the status of that bill?

Grills: Well, we’re going to get going on it here in a little while. I think I think we’re going to be okay. I had several conversations with different legislators that are on the committees. And right now I feel comfortable about it. I don’t get you ever feel good until it’s signed, but I feel comfortable now.

Leahy: Also, is there a companion bill in the state Senate?

Grills: Yes, sir there sure is.

Leahy: Who is sponsoring that? Do you know?

Grills: There are several. Janice Bowling and you get Joey Hensley. Some of those rocks whenever it comes to a conservative legislation that you can depend.

Leahy: Do you personally have other legislative priorities beyond that bill? I actually have I have a farm protection bill. We have a huge problem with agriculture vandalism over in West Tennessee and across the river counties. We have a huge problem with you know, with had bales of cotton been burned. We’ve had individuals taking metal shavings and pouring down the hydraulic reservoirs of tractors.

Leahy: What! Why are people doing this?

Grills: Well, they don’t have anything else to do on Saturday night. So what are they doing it so go burn some cotton barrels. I’ve personally have had a trailer truck set on fire.

Leahy: Who’s doing this?

Grills: We don’t know. I know some of the people that have done it. I don’t want to call them agitators potentially but these are people that are vandalizing farms.

Leahy: Do they live in your area or are they coming from someplace else?

Grills: Most of the time they live in the area. For instance, they’ll take the wires off of a pivot. I’m not sure you know what a pivot is but it’s an irrigation rig and they’ll strip the wire.

Leahy: I’m glad you explain that to us because you did not embarrass me by having me show my ignorance of what a pivot is. Thank you.

Grills: But they’ll what back up to a pivot with a pickup truck tire chain to the wire and take off with a pulling the wire off the pivot then they’ll roll of wire up take and it home and melt the plastic off of it and take the copper out of the wire and go sell it at the scrapyard.

Leahy: Oh, so these are criminals then.

Grills: That is correct.

Leahy: Wow! When you were growing up was just sort of stuff happening?

Grills: Not like it is today. And as as as prices go up for for scrap metal those things become more regular. Thoe are just a few things there that were working on. I also have a bill that repeals the civil asset forfeiture bond. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that.

Leahy: Yeah, that’s a great idea by the way. I love that idea.

Grills: Looks like we’re getting looks like we’re getting some traction on that. I believe we’ve got it right at 40 co-sponsors, which I’m pretty proud of that. I feel like that’s moving forward a little. We’re going to get that passed here in the next couple of weeks and over in the Senate Frank Nicely has that.

Leahy: We know Frank. He’s a great guy. State Representative Rusty Grills, thanks so much for joining us this morning. Will you come in studio sometime when you have a longer conversation?

Grills: Hey, I look forward to it one of these days.

Leahy: All right.

Grills: Keep up the good work.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back From CPAC, Republican Robby Starbuck Discusses His Priorities in the Race for Nashville’s Fifth Congressional District

Back From CPAC, Republican Robby Starbuck Discusses His Priorities in the Race for Nashville’s Fifth Congressional District

 

Live from Music Row Monday 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 Republican candidate for Nashville’s fifth district Robby Starbuck to the newsmakers line to discuss his appearance at CPAC over the weekend, what motivated him to run for office, and his top priorities.

Leahy: We are joined by Robby Starbuck who gave a great speech at CPAC the other day and was very well received. Attacking big Tech in his Monopoly. He’s running for congress here in the fifth congressional district in Davidson County. Good morning, Robby.

Starbuck: Good morning Michael. How are you doing today? Thanks for having me.

Leahy: Well, happy birthday. Your birthday was over the weekend and you announced for Congress and gave a ten-minute speech that was very well received at CPAC. How did that come about?

Starbuck: Well, that’s actually you know, that’s an interesting question. It’s a long line, like anything good in life a lot of good people telling good people, hey,  you should meet this person and you should meet this person. I mean that’s kind of the nature of life. So eventually it got to the people who run CPAC. And they reached out to me or like hey, we’ve been told that you’re doing great things and we looked you up. We saw what you had to say. We watched some of your other speeches and we would love to have you. And it was really that simple.

Leahy: You’re a director and producer known for your cinematic style that you’ve brought to the music video genres. You’ve directed a number of Hollywood stars like Natalie Portman, Jamie Foxx, Brad Pitt, Megan Fox, and Josh Duhamel.

Starbuck: That’s right.

Leahy: You have quite a background there. What happened when you said you were a Republican back in 2015?

Starbuck: I don’t think there’s anything worse you can say in Hollywood than admitting you are a Republican. So it didn’t go. You go from being invited to all the parties and all that stuff, which I never went to anyways and never liked. I was never one of those people. But you’re invited to everything and everybody loves you and blah blah blah and you come out and say you’re a Republican and it’s like telling them you’re a leper and you want to touch them. (Leahy chuckles) 

It’s the worst possible thing you could do. But I would do it over and over again And I said that in the CPAC speech that I would do it over and over again despite the loss of business and the way my kids were treated and all that. Freedom runs in my DNA from my family coming here from Cuba. I will always be eternally grateful to America because I would not be alive if it were not for the existence of America.

So every chance I get to stand up for freedom I will take it and I will do it. And I saw the signs many years ago that what happened in Cuba could happen here. And when it got to that boiling point where I knew I had to make a decision about whether to keep my career or to speak up, it was a very easy decision for me. One because of what happened in my family. Leftism stole everything from them in Cuba. And I mean literally everything.

But secondarily because I know that if I didn’t do anything one day when I go to heaven my grandma would be waiting there with a shoe and she’d be smacking me with it for the rest of eternity. And she would rather me take that beautiful experience and have turned it into help for me hitting me with that shoe if I didn’t do something now. So it was a very clear decision that I had to do something.

Leahy: When did you formally announce your candidacy for the Republican nomination in the fifth congressional district here in Nashville?

Starbuck: Well, I first actually did it after the election in November because I was so upset about how things were running. And sort of how some of the establishment were defending the ideals that I hold, which when I say defending, I mean they were not defending it. And so I felt like I’ve got to stand up and do something. And I also saw a great opportunity to get rid of one of the Cooper’s because I don’t know that I have met very many people in Nashville who care for the Coopers. And I think that is the best opportunity there’s ever been to get one of them out of office.

Leahy: Now, do you have a campaign website?

Starbuck: For now people can go to FreedomForever.us. People who live here for have lived here for a long time will know that we have to redistrict this year. And so there’s a minute possibility the district name or number rather changes. So we’re waiting another week or two before we do the filing where we’ll start fundraising doing all that stuff. But you can sign up at FreedomForever.us right now to sign up to volunteer.

We’re also going to help other candidates who don’t have as much of a national platform that are great candidates because I think one of the problems we have in America as you know, we’ve seen some of these people who are just there in there for 20 terms and they’re not doing anything. All they’ve done is rename a post office in the 20 years they’ve been there or 40 years whatever it is.

And we need real fighters for America and fighters for freedom. So I’m going to do everything I can to help other candidates that really have sort of the more American agenda that we can help with. And if I can use that platform to help others I will. FreedomForever.us is the best place for us to do that.

Leahy: FreedomForever.us. Now tell us about the redistricting you anticipate for I haven’t seen a lot that says that the fifth district will be that much different in the 2022 election than it is in 2020. Do you have any indication that will be significantly different?

Starbuck: I think that it will be. I do. I think people are going to be surprised. I do think that they will re-district the fifth and we have the room to do it. If you go back a decade ago and you take a look at a lot of the redistricting plans there were you can look and see that those outer districts if you go back when you say hey, what would have happened in these elections had we done it 10 years ago? We would have won every one of those districts by significant margins and we would have won the Nashville district five and done so easily.

I think it’s a no-brainer and I think a lot of people in the legislature understand that. But it’s a no-brainer to better represent the will of citizens here in Tennessee. And if you look at a state like Tennessee you look the way we vote and you go around anywhere it’s insane that we have two people in Congress who are Democrats in the state of Tennessee. Not just Democrats, but they’re voting you know with the far left many times. The very far left. We’re not talking about the blue dog Democrats of 20 years ago. It’s a very different party now.

Leahy: If elected, what would be your first top priority?

Starbuck: My top priority not just when I’m first elected, but for the entire time would be to protect and expand freedom. And that’s the lens I’m going to look at everything through. Am I protecting freedom and my expanding it and I’m making life better for people? If things are not making life better or easier for people in this district and it’s not expanding and protecting freedoms that they have here, then it’s not something that I’m going to throw my weight behind. But those are the very simple things and I’m going to look through the lens of when I’m looking at policy.

Leahy: Your speech was about pushing back against Big Tech. What specific legislation in Congress would you support to push back against Big Tech?

Starbuck: So I support Josh Hawley’s model. I want to break up Big Tech. You look at the effect it had on small businesses. Let’s take Amazon for instance. We used to do this as Republicans. We used to trust-bust. And these companies like Amazon, they’ve destroyed small businesses. So many small business owners have lost their businesses lost their way of life because Amazon was allowed to play really dirty games with how they grew their company.

They did it in a way where their business model was essentially to lose money in order to choke out small businesses until they had such a large market share that they couldn’t be beat anymore. And so we need to look at those companies through that lens. And then on top of that there’s just the freedom of expression issue. Social media has turned into the public square and we need to treat it that way.

And people whether they are a Republican, Democrat, Socialist, or a Communist I believe you have the right to your voice in the public square. And I think we have seen far too much censorship. We’re seeing now with the Amazon they cancel conservative books even. And you have the majority of books sold on Amazon. All of these companies, social media companies, and big tech companies as a whole largely need to be broken up. And the few that do not need to be broken up do need some regulations in place that make it very clear that they cannot discriminate against people for their political beliefs.

Leahy: Do you support or oppose the revocation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the Communications Act of 1996, which provides litigation liability against censorship efforts by Facebook, Google Twitter, and that crowd?

Starbuck: Yeah, so the truth is the best way to handle 230, for now, is to rewrite it. We need to rewrite it, but it can’t be entirely cooled because what will happen then is and I think for a lot of people this hasn’t been explained fully, but what would happen if we pull 230 entirely? And we just got rid of it with nothing in its place? Then social media companies would not allow you to post immediately.

So if there were some big event happening today and you wanted to post about it and you said oh I saw this great speech today blah blah blah you would submit it and Twitter would have to hold that Tweet and have it reviewed by legal to ensure that it was not something that they saw as a legal issue. And so I don’t think that that is something Americans want to deal with when you’d have to wait a week for your posts to be approved. So I think revising it and making it very clear is the path forward.

Leahy: Robby Starbuck director and candidate for Congress in the fifth congressional district for the Republican nomination. Will you come in studio and talk more with us in the future?

Starbuck: Absolutely. Absolutely. I would have done it today. If it was just this was so tight coming back.

Leahy: We got you on that one, Robby. Thanks so much for joining us. Have a great day. We look forward to seeing you in the studio.

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
Photo “Robby Starbuck” by Robby Starbuck.