Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Gets Back to Normal with MuleFest May 28 and 29 in Downtown Columbia, Tennessee

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Gets Back to Normal with MuleFest May 28 and 29 in Downtown Columbia, Tennessee


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 to give the details on the upcoming celebration called MuleFest in Downtown Columbia, Tennessee on May 28 thru 29.

Leahy: We are joined this morning by our very good friend in studio by the Mayor of Maury County, Andy Ogles. Good morning, Andy.

Ogles: Good morning. How are you?

Leahy: Well, I think that I’m not going to be walking across America like our guest in the five o’clock hour Izzy Israel. He lost 15 pounds doing that. He might start his new book, Walk With Izzy Diet Plan.

Ogles: Yeah, I’m not so sure. Hey, I’m all about being healthy, but I’m not sure I’m going to walk across America. (Leahy laughs) But I think he was trying to bring awareness to term limits was his deal.

Leahy: That’s his deal and I think he’s doing a good job making people aware of term limits. Now, I’m going to tell you something, and I think it’s time for Tennessee to get back to work and back to having fun. You’ve got something going on in Maury County that sounds like a lot of fun to me.

Ogles: We’ve got a huge and I do mean huge event coming up May 28 and 29. That’s Memorial Day weekend just to kind of put a pin in it. But that Friday night, Trace Atkins, country music legend, is performing a live concert and it’s free. It’s right there in downtown Columbia. And then the next morning, we have a parade.

And then Friday night and all day Saturday into Saturday night, we have musical acts from around Tennessee, names that you’d be familiar with, and three stages. That’s going to be amazing. But it’s time for us to get back to normal. It’s an outdoor event, so you can do it safely and socially distance and do all that kind of thing.

But Memorial Day is about honoring our veterans in particular, those who have fallen. And so we’re going to take some time to honor those who have served and fallen in service to our country. But in that, it’s an annual event we have some great sponsors. It’s sponsor-driven, but the support from the community has been amazing.

Leahy: It’s Maury County MuleFest in Columbia, Tennessee, from Friday, May 28 to Saturday, May 29. It will be held in downtown Columbia. Live music, unique arts and crafts, amazing food, and a cool parade. Call 931-375-4101 for information on how to be a vendor, a sponsor, volunteer or if you want to be in the parade.

Ogles: Absolutely. Technically, the cut-off for the parade has come and gone, but there’s a few people that want to be in the parade. During the election, there’s a lot of people that decorate their cars with Trump and American flags and that kind of thing. Or if you’ve got a tractor or a razor or whatever, if you want to be in the parade, give us a call.

At some point, we’ve got to organize and give everybody a number and do all those kinds of things. But it’s going to be a blast. And I am pumped about Trace coming.

Leahy: Trace Adkins is the lead performer.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: And you have quite a few few performers, too, don’t you?

Ogles: Yes. And right now we’ve got, like I said, three stages with over 20 bands performing. If I had had a little more time, I could have had at least two more stages because there were so many acts wanting to perform. But at some point, there’s only so many hours in a day, and it’s going to be a great event. And again, come out, bring a chair. We’ve got over 150, close to 200 vendors, food trucks, arts and crafts, plus Trace and everything. It’s going to be awesome.

Leahy: Time to get back to living.

Ogles: It is. I’ve got a Black Hawk that’s going to fly in and land. (Leahy chuckles)

Leahy: How do you do all this stuff, Andy?

Ogles: You just ask right?  The National Guard has been a great partner, the Army, and the Air Force. We’re still having some logistical issues with the airplanes coming over. (Leahy laughs) But I’m begging and pleading with the Air Force to get the timing to work out. But again, same thing with Trace, we had this idea of just having a celebration celebrating our community, celebrating those who have served, celebrate those who have fallen, and thank them for their sacrifice.

But in that just reaching out to those around us and saying, hey, would you help us? Would you participate? And Trace again, I can’t speak highly enough of him and his guys and his manager and road crew. They’re amazing people. And if you want to see a an amazing night, because this all started and I think I told you this a couple of shows ago that I reached out to him and we’re thinking about an acoustic set. He’d just be kind of low key.

He’d come out to do a few songs. And he was like, you know what, if we’re going to go, let’s do it, and let’s be loud. Let’s throw down. (Leahy laughs) He’s bringing in a semi-trailer with the whole stage set up. We’ve got two giant TV monitors bigger than this office that are going to flank the stage. It’s going to be cool.

Leahy: If you want to have fun and if you’re sick and tired of just being cooped up in your house wearing a mask, you know, going, oh, the sky is falling (Ogles chuckles) and you want to get back to living, this is the event to do it.

Ogles: Absolutely.

Leahy: MuleFest in Columbia, Tennessee. Two weeks from Friday on May 28, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The featured act, Trace Adkins, and the following day the parade. Trace is the grand marshall of that parade.

Ogles: That’s right. He and I’ll be in the parade plus some other dignitaries.

Leahy: Oh, you’ll be in it too! Well, there you go.

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 “MuleFest Logo” by Maury County MuleFest. 









Mayor of Maury County Andy Ogles Talks About County Growth, Conservative California Refugee’s, and Being Accessible

Mayor of Maury County Andy Ogles Talks About County Growth, Conservative California Refugee’s, and Being Accessible


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 to talk about the growth in his county and being accessible to the community and new California conservative refugees.

Leahy: In studio with us, our good friend, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles. Andy, Maury County is experiencing huge growth. This is good. And this is problematic as well.

Ogles: Right.

Leahy: In the past month, I guess since you were here last, here’s what I’m noticing. I’m noticing, at least in Nashville and in Williamson County, maybe it’s the good weather, but I’m noticing that real estate houses are going very fast A. And B, I’m hearing from Realtors that the asking price is not what the closing cost is. That people are bidding these things up by five to 10 percent. At least that’s what I’m hearing in Nashville and in Williamson County. And the reason is California money. That’s what I’m hearing. What are you seeing in terms of growth in Maury County?

Ogles: Yeah. I mean, we’re growing. So when you think about Maury County, we have Spring Hill, Colombia, Culleoka, and Mount Pleasant. Those are kind of your larger areas.

Leahy: I am almost one of your constituents. Our mailing address is in Thompson Station. I live in the city of Spring Hill. And as you know, I think about a third of the city of Spring Hill is in Maury County and about two-thirds of it. I don’t know the exact numbers in Williamson County. So I’m just a couple of miles away from Maury County. Spring Hill is, in essence, sort of an extension of the Nashville suburbs.

Ogles: That’s right. And when you think about Maury County, you think about the growth. The Maury County side of Spring Hill in the last couple of years has actually been the part of Spring Hill that’s growing the fastest.

Leahy: And why is that?

Ogles: Well, there’s a couple of reasons. One is it’s a little bit cheaper to build a home in Maury County than it is Williamson County.

Leahy: Why is it cheaper to build a home in Maury County than Williamson County?

Ogles: So Williamson County has some impact fees that a builder has to pay that immediately is layered on top of the price of the home. So since the building a Maury County, for that reason alone, it’s a little bit cheaper. And then just supply of land. The Williamson County side grew first. You have greater density up there. Now the Maury County side of Spring Hill is growing. But that being said, now what you’re seeing is that the northside of the county is growing. The midsection of the county is growing.

Leahy: That midsection would be around Columbia.

Ogles: Columbia, the downtown area. But then also out in the country where I live the southern area. So there’s a road called Morrow Lane.

Leahy: I know it well, it’s just south of Columbia.

Ogles: That’s right. And there’s about I don’t know, seven or eight lots there. And all of those houses that are going up are in the 425 to 450 range, and those houses are selling before they’re even done.

Leahy: So it’s a hot real estate market there.

Ogles: It’s booming. And then I have a friend that was looking at a house there in Columbia and been on the market for a day, and they were scheduled to go see the house today and it’s already sold.

Leahy: I’ve heard that.

Ogles: With multiple offers.

Leahy: I’ve heard that story so many times here from friends that are looking for houses. And I do get a bit of how shall we say, I wish that California money would stay in California.

Ogles: Yeah right. Well, I will say that we’re seeing the same thing in Maury County that Williamson and Nashville are seeing folks from New Jersey, New York, California, Wisconsin, and a little bit out of Washington.

Leahy: Washington State.

Ogles: Yeah, but they’re refugees that they’re conservative refugees that are leaving the state for lack of a better term because they felt persecuted. But I’ve been rather outspoken. And so a lot of these folks will seek me out and say, hey, we’re California. I just want to say thank you or whatever, and I just feel like, okay, pause. Wait a minute. You left for a reason. Please don’t Californicate Maury County, Tennessee.

Leahy: Now how do they respond when you say please don’t Californicate Maury County?

Ogles: You can kind of self-deprecate, kind of make light of a situation, but they acknowledge the truth that yes, we know we left. Don’t hate us because we’re from California. Don’t hate us because we’re from New Jersey. We’re here because we agree with you. We agree with Tennessee.

Leahy: Well, now let me follow up with that. In theory they agree?

Ogles: They agree.

Leahy: Okay. Now Let’s get down to it is the next thing they say. Why don’t you have X, Y, or Z?

Ogles: Well back home this is how we do it. Well you left back home and you are in Tennessee now and it’s cheaper to live here because we don’t do it that way.

Leahy: Do you get a lot of that?

Ogles: Again, I think most people recognize that, especially like California. Yes, they have X, Y, and Z, but it’s not sustainable. It’s not working. You can’t continue to rob the taxpayer to fund these rainbow and unicorn programs and not realize that at some point you just run out of money. And that’s what our federal government has been doing.

Leahy: In the course of your typical week in Maury County, how many people do you run into that are new residents of Maury County?

Ogles: It’s a lot. I mean, it’s daily.

Leahy: Daily. Every day.

Ogles: I try it in the morning. I don’t get to do this every day, just kind of full disclosure. But I like to spend whether it’s a little bit of time in the morning or kind of during lunch, a little time on the square, just sitting outside.  I’ll be on my phone, answering emails. But one, it’s just good to get some fresh air.

Leahy: So hold on. You are the mayor of Maury County. And so the way you hold sort of public hours, I suppose you could say is you sit on the square?

Ogles: Well, my office is on the square.

Leahy: It’s inside the big building, the inside the square.

Ogles: But I like to be accessible. So it’s not free time so much because I’m responding to emails or I’m on the phone, but I’m there.

Leahy: Is there, like, the mayor’s bench?

Ogles: (Chuckles) No.

Leahy: Where do you sit? How do people know that you’re the mayor of Maury County?

Ogles: Well, the coffee shop there is right next to my office. So I’ll sit out there on their bench.

Leahy: So you sit on the bench outside of the coffee shop?

Ogles: That’s right. Or outside of Puckett’s.

Leahy: Okay, so there you are in your smiling and answering emails, doing work. Do people come up and say, hey, mayor, what are you doing about X, Y, or Z?

Ogles: No. I mean, in Maury County, we’ve got a great County Commission. They’re not always going to agree with one another, but fiscally conservative trying to manage this growth without raising taxes. And we try to be proactive. So we’ve invested in things like our emergency services because, again, we’re growing so fast.

I would think, by and large, that most individuals in Maury County, like where we are and where we’re headed, with the exception of maybe some of the transplants that don’t quite get that you’re not going to have recycling services out in the rural part of the county. It’s just not feasible to do that. We do, however, have recycling centers that you can take it yourself, but we’re not going to come to pick it up.

Leahy: But how do people know that there’s the mayor hanging out on the bench by the coffee shop in the square?

Ogles: Well, because of The Tennessee Star. (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: But this is radio right? Do you put a sign the mayor is in? (Chuckles)

Ogles: No, not at all. Actually, it’s funny when you’re out there, it’s not my most productive time because I end up talking to people kind of back to back, but it’s good. That’s the part of the job that I love. I spent a lot of my time chained to a desk, answering emails on the phone, being an advocate for Maury County with the legislature with the governor’s office. So it’s nice to be out in the public and actually just have a conversation.

Leahy: So when was the last time you were out there on the bench by the coffee shop on the square?

Ogles: Yesterday morning.

Leahy: Describe one of the people that came up to you.

Ogles: One of my fun interactions was just an older gentleman, not someone you would assume was maybe in tune with what was going on was somewhat disheveled.

Leahy: Did he recognize you?

Ogles: He sat down and just said, I appreciate all you’re doing.

Leahy: That was it.

Ogles: He was just plain and as a matter of fact about it. And didn’t need anything, didn’t want anything.

Leahy: Oh, don’t you love those kinds of conversations? But you’re actually very good at dealing with people that are asking questions or want something. It’s different. Like doing a radio show, you just get to talk, and you don’t have to do anything. You just get to talk. You actually have to do stuff.

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







Maury County, Tennessee State Rep. Cepicky Reflects Upon the Winding Road to Public Office

Maury County, Tennessee State Rep. Cepicky Reflects Upon the Winding Road to Public Office


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 State Rep. Scott Cepicky in studio to talk about his former life as a professional baseball player and how he came into politics.

Leahy: In studio with us State Representative Scott Cepicky. We’re learning a lot of very interesting things about his career in sports as a professional baseball player. So spring training, what 1980 or something?

Cepicky: We are in 1994.

Leahy: Spring training 1994. You’re down with the White Sox?

Cepicky: White Sox organization, spring training, Michael Jordan is playing baseball.

Leahy: You’re left field, he’s centerfield somebody else is right field.

Cepicky: He’s in right field.

Leahy: He’s in right field.

Cepicky: He’s not playing right field. But he’s in right field.

Leahy: And he loves baseball like you do, right?

Cepicky: Well, he does like baseball. He doesn’t love baseball, but he likes it.

Leahy: He likes it. He’s trying it out.

Cepicky: And he made a promise to his father. And I understand that. And when your a White Sox owner and Chicago Bull owner, and winner of three world championships, and you’re the best basketball player, in my opinion, who’s ever lived, you get to do what you want.

Leahy: You get to do what you want. So there he is. He’s playing the right field. So tell us the rest of the story.

Cepicky: We’re just having conversations with him every day, like I’m having a conversation with you, How’s life going? We are just sitting out in the outfield shagging fly balls. And I’m sitting here with Michael Jordan every day in spring training. I ended up getting traded to the Twins. So the Twins optioned me from AAA down to AA. You know, the movie Bull Durham?

Leahy: I sure do.

Cepicky: Well, my role with the Nashville Express was Kevin Coster.

Leahy: Okay.

Cepicky: I was seasoned baseball player. I knew how to play the game. I knew how to play 142 baseball games a year. And I knew in my heart what it took to be a professional.

Leahy: So there was a very brief period in time where a AA team called the Nashville Express was moved up to Nashville.

Cepicky: Larry Schmittou.

Leahy: Larry Schmittou. Great guy. Former Vanderbilt baseball coach and was involved in the Sounds. And then the Express,.

Cepicky: I believe the Express became the Jackson Generals.

Leahy: I think so. But the Express for two or three years.

Cepicky: Three years.

Leahy: Okay. So you’re back now playing for the Express AA, the same league as the Birmingham Barons. Where Michael Jordan…

Cepicky: Where I just played a year before winning the southern league championship.

Leahy: Right.

Cepicky: So there’s a time when Michael comes to town.

Leahy: And I went to those games and let me tell you what my initial reaction was. Man, that guy is tall and skinny. That was my first thought, watching Jordan play baseball because you watch him on the basketball court and he looks muscular compared to the other guys. But on a baseball field, he looks very skinny.

Cepicky: Well, there was a picture that was circling for a while back then. He had just walked because he wasn’t going to get a base hit to get on base. But he walked. And I teased him all the time about it. He walked in one day when I was with the Express and I’m standing there at first base. I was playing first place in his game. And I was 6’4, 240 pounds.

Leahy: And you knew Jordan.

Cepicky: And he got down to the first base and he’s standing there, and he’s talking to me. I’m like, I just want to let you know that is the most awful swing I’ve ever seen in my life. And I said if it wasn’t for you being able to shoot the basketball, you’d never be standing here. That made him laugh. And he said, Well, I got to go because I’m gonna steal the second base here. And he did.

Leahy: He was fast.

Cepicky: He was fast. But in the day game that night, we played. And the next day was the Sunday day game on their getaway day. And we played there. And if you ever come to my office and everybody you I always invited to it. It’s not my office.

Leahy: It’s the rep office.

Cepicky: Well, it’s District 64’s office.

Leahy: There you go.

Cepicky: And so if you come to District 64 is office up in Cordell Hull. You’ll see the newspaper article from The Tennesseean and back then that he signed. And it’s a picture when he first got into town the night before of me and Michael just having a conversation. And so it’s in my office, one of my prize possessions. He was a super good guy.

I finished that year with the Express. Like Bull Durham, they were going to release me at the end of the year. And you know what? As I’ve told your listeners, I’d done everything I could to get to the big leagues. And I called my dad on the phone and I just said, I’m done. I’m going to leave the sport on my terms. I’m not going to hang around forever. I was 28 years old by then.

Leahy: You put six years in. You don’t make the big money in the minors.

Cepicky: You make some.

Leahy: You make some.

Cepicky: You don’t make a lot of money. And so I just decided I was going to move on with my life. And it was the best thing I ever did. I met my wife. We were living in Atlanta, Georgia, and people said, well, how did you get to Tennessee? I said, well, we had a cattle farm in Southeast Missouri, and I’m a cattleman right now driving back and forth from Atlanta to Southeast Missouri every week.

And it got old. My wife was pregnant. And we’re like, look, we’ve got to either live on a farm or we got to move closer. So we happened to be in Nashville when she said that to me. And I said, well, we both like country music. And so we decided to move to Nashville. And I found my way in a couple of different areas. And finally, in 2008 we moved to Maury County. In 2010 I ran for the County Commission.

Leahy: In 2008 you moved to Maury County. And what do you do there for a living?

Cepicky: I’m a banker.

Leahy: Oh, that’s your primary job.

Cepicky: I’m a banker. And in 2010, I was sitting there next to my very good friend and neighbor complaining about the situation of our county, our state, and our county. And he said, I’m tired of you complaining about it. Why don’t you fix it. So I put my name on a ballot in 2010. I was elected to the County Commission and served as their chairman for four years. I served as a chairman for two years. And then I ran for County Mayor in 2014 and I lost by 137 votes in the primary.

Leahy: Close race.

Cepicky: Sheila Butt was the state representative.

Leahy: Well known to us.

Cepicky: She asked me if I would be the chairman of the Republican Party. And so I did that for another four or two years. And then in 2018, I got a phone call from Representative Butt saying she’s going to retire. And I said, That’s a shame. I wish you wouldn’t. She said, Well, it’s okay because I want you to run.

Leahy: There you go.

Cepicky: So I ran in 2018. The people of Murray County decided that they wanted to send me up to Nashville to fight for them and the people of Tennessee. And I’ve been doing it ever since.

Leahy: But you also owned a beef cattle farm.

Cepicky: My wife and I own a cattle farm in Culleoka, Tennessee.

Leahy: In Culleoka. You have a full-time gig as a banker.

Cepicky: I also do a radio show.

Leahy: Where’s your radio show on? Is it the Columbia station?

Cepicky: WKLM.

Leahy: Good station down there.

Cepicky: Every Friday I give a legislative report. Talk about sports. I used to coach little football. I dabble in high school football and a little bit helping out of Columbia Academy, wherever. A

Leahy: Columbia Academy. The Bulldogs down there.

Cepicky: And just do a lot of stuff.

Leahy: Yeah, you’re a busy guy. So what’s interesting about this is you started off, though, at the county commission politically. Now tell us about that job. To me, it looks like an awful lot of work and a lot of responsibility and not a lot of kudos.

Cepicky: It is the purity of politics at its greatest because you walk amongst your citizens, your electors every day of your life. They have direct access to you. Which I tell people all the time, the federal government can hurt you. The state governments can hurt you a little bit more. But the ones that can really affect your lives are your County Commissions and City Councils. They have direct taxation over you.

Leahy: So in Maury County now, I think in Williamson County, where I live, that’s like 25 members of the County Commission. Something like that. How many members of the County Commission in Maury County?

Cepicky: 22.

Leahy: 22. Now, that’s a lot of people to get something done.

Cepicky: It’s tough. It’s tough. You got to be very persuasive in your argument.

Leahy: So this is interesting, though. The big benefit, and it’s very time-consuming from what I can tell.

Cepicky: If you want to serve people correctly, you have to devote your life to it. You have to devote your life to it because they expect you to be well versed in as many things as you possibly can because most people won’t call their neighbor for the answer. They’ll call their elected official for the answer.

Leahy: Yeah, exactly.

Cepicky: You either have to know it or find it.

Leahy: So you represent a district there.

Cepicky: Spring Hill.

Leahy: So you represent Spring Hill and how often do you meet?

Cepicky: You meet once a month. But you have committee meetings, probably three or 4 times a month. Plus, you have other one on 1 meetings with other commissioners.

Leahy: So it’s a big chunk of time. What’s the biggest thing that you learned from that process?

Cepicky: School boards and county commissions don’t like each other.

Leahy: You said something very important there. Very important. Why do they not like each other?

Cepicky: Well, school boards have the job to run the school systems, and they have to manage their school system. You have to figure out how many teachers you need. What buildings you are going to build. Things you are going to purchase. But the people who hold the purse strings are the county commission. And the county commissioners have to make sure that they run the County in a fiscal way, that it’s going to survive. And sometimes those two ideas don’t mesh.

For instance, the school board may say, hey, we need to build a new school. And the county commission says, look, we can’t afford a new school. And the school board says we’ll just raise taxes. And the county commission, depending on who you elect, may say yes or may say no. So there’s an adversarial relationship kind of established in the way it’s all set up. Good county commissions overcome that and figure out what’s best for the people.

Leahy: That’s playing out in 95 counties in Tennessee every day.

Cepicky: It’s very difficult. Tough job.

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









Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Discusses Mule Day in Columbia, Tennessee and Its Origins

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Discusses Mule Day in Columbia, Tennessee and Its Origins


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 to discuss the tradition of Mules Day and it’s history in Columbia, Tennessee.

Leahy: In studio with us our good friend Mayor of Maury County Andy Ogles. You know, Andy, we were talking off the break we’re probably going to be adding a live video streaming portion to the program. And you come in here at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. You’re dressed very professionally. You look like you could argue a case before the Supreme Court right now. (Ogles chuckles) Me, I’m bleary-eyed and need a shave. I’m a wreck. When we have the live streaming people will be able to see that contrast. It will probably get you re-elected Maury County Mayor.

Ogles: This is one of those days. I’ve got a crazy day. So obviously my morning starts here and I’ve got to turn around and drive back to Maury County because we have an organizational meeting for Mule Day. As soon as that’s over I’ve got to hop in the car drive up to the legislature because I have been asked to testify.

Leahy: Oh really?

Ogles: Do that. Then turn around go back to Maury County for meetings. And then I have to go to Franklin. And I’m speaking this evening to several conservative groups. And so it’s the bouncing around all over the Middle Tennessee area. And there’s just no downtime. It’s like I had to hit the ground and be ready to roll.

Leahy: You’re going to sleep soundly tonight.

Ogles: Absolutely.

Leahy: I’ll get back to the issue of your testimony before the state legislature in a bit. I want to go back to Mule Days. Now in terms of a community event I just think Mule Days is such a great concept because who wouldn’t want to go to a Mule Days event because it’s celebrating mules. It’s agricultural but I guess there are other places in the country that celebrate mules and that have Mule Days. But to my mind, the premier Mule Day event is in Colombia. Tell us the history of it. How did this come about?

Ogles: One, we have to acknowledge the fact that some of your listeners some of our friends from New York or California have no idea what we’re talking about. (Leahy laughs) So we’ll probably just start there.

Leahy: For the new people who have come into Tennessee from California, and there are a lot of them…

Ogles: There is a lot.

Leahy: Let’s do a little Tennessee historical translation about Mule Days.

Ogles: You have horses you have donkeys you have mules. But the Mule Day celebrations that take place all over the country really it’s a throwback to your agrarian society and your livestock auctions that would take place literally on your town square. And so in Maury County, Columbia was the mule capital of the world. So during the first world war hundreds of thousands of mules were used during the war effort.

Leahy: During World War I.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: To transport goods and services. Mules being a great pack animal.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: And known for their strength persistence and stubbornness.

Ogles: And stubbornness. That’s right. (Leahy chuckles) And so Maury County as being the mule capital of the world our livestock auction kicked off those sales across the country. So everybody would come to ours and then each week thereafter there would be these auctions for various parts of the country. And so there’s this tradition to have it in late March-early April, you’ll have Mule Day.

Leahy: Which started off the farming season shall we say. Let me just step back even further. How is it that Columbia, Tennessee became the mule capital of America? How did that happen?

Ogles: How that exactly happened, I have no idea other than the fact that we just had a lot of mules.

Leahy: Had a lot of mules around.

Ogles: We had an entrepreneur that began the marketplace and just kind of the rest is history. So we’ve continued to honor that tradition. It brings in a lot of revenue and a lot of tourism to Maury County.

Leahy: Now let’s just stop for a moment. To a modern Californian or a modern New Yorker just coming to Tennessee, they would say mule days?

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: Why would Mule Days bring in revenue? If you look at it from 2021 you’d say okay. But if you look at it from the historical context of the period of 1900 or so, you can see exactly why when we were very much an agricultural country.

Ogles: Going back in time because of the auctions of the sales and the economy that is generated. In modern times you have the people and they come into town, they stay at the hotels, they eat at the restaurants, they buy souvenirs etc. But you really have two types of activities that take place during your traditional Mule Day. You’ll have the parade and the things that take place in downtown Columbia and then out at the Agriculture Park, you’ll have the again agricultural stuff that takes place.

Leahy: Just for those of our listeners, here’s an overview from the visit Columbia, Tennessee website. Mule Day is an annual celebration of all things related to mules held in Columbia, Tennessee the mule capital of the world. It began in 1840 as a Breeders Day a meeting for mule breeders and now attracts over 100,000 people taking place over four days. There you go. The old days way back. So it’s rooted in the agricultural economy here, which makes an awful lot of sense to me.

Ogles: Again going back to 1840 and so when they decided to cancel it I’ve been fairly stubborn through this process.

Leahy: Now, there’s a line I could use Andy. But I’m not going to use it. (Laughs)

Ogles: No, I’ve just refused to do the mask mandate. We have this thing called the Constitution and I support it and I protect your right to wear a mask and I protect your right not to because you can social distance and you can do other things to protect yourself and others. And the same thing here with our activities, when all the other counties and states were canceling their fairs back in last this past summer I refused to cancel ours because  I was convinced there was a way to do it and do it safely.

And we did and it was successful. It was the largest fair we’ve ever had and we’re going to do it again this year. And so the same thing here with Mule Day. I refuse to let this tradition die. I’m not going to let it be canceled two years in a row. Now, we’ll call it something else so that we understand the sensitivities of the event that takes place in March and April. But come May we’re going to have a celebration. We’re going to celebrate our heritage. We’re going to have a concert. And if I have my way we’ll have fireworks and we are going to have a parade. We’re going to have a good time.

Leahy: So come on down. I’m coming to it and the fireworks, I love Fireworks. Is there any kind of COVID constraint on fireworks? I didn’t know about it, but maybe there is well.

Ogles: I’m sure if you are Nancy Pelosi sure, that’s a condition of the constraint of anything that has to do with freedom. No, not at all. Especially not Maury County.

Leahy: Well that makes an awful lot of sense to me. So instead of March-April in the more traditional Mule Day event, there will be a Memorial Day event in Columbia and it will combine a very well-known musical performer.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: Can I get you to say. You won’t say it yet.

Ogles: Once I have their press release and it’s approved, it’s going to be fun. It’s Memorial Day weekend. It’s a time to celebrate our heritage. It’s also time to remember those who have fallen serving our country, Memorial Day. Which again is why I want to layer in some fireworks. There’s a budget involved and I’ve got to get sponsors and raise those funds and etc.

Historically we’ve had a lot of festivals in Maury County that over time they just kind of have fallen by the wayside. And so this creates the opportunity to okay next year we’re going to have our traditional Mule Day at the end of March first of April. But next year we’re going to have our May celebration and we’ll do something in June.

Leahy: Where will this concert be?

Ogles: Downtown Columbia.

Leahy: Right downtown on the square?

Ogles: It’s just one block off the square. We have a giant parking lot so we can get a big crowd there.

Leahy: I will say this, the square in Colombia is really quite a nice place to visit.

Ogles: Obviously I’m biased because I’m the mayor there. There are two or three squares in this state and really in the South that are arguably the most beautiful and ours is one of them.

Leahy: I’m not going to disagree. I’m not going to disagree.

Ogles: I’m a very pragmatic practical person. If I say look, it’s the third prettiest because we are in the top three. And of course, I’m biased and I’d say we are the prettiest. Especially if you look in the contrast of what we have going on, it’s booming.

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 “Columbia, Tennessee” by jdj150. CC BY 2.0.












Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Reviews the Emergency Powers Granted to Governor Lee by Statute but Limited by The Tennessee Constitution

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Reviews the Emergency Powers Granted to Governor Lee by Statute but Limited by The Tennessee Constitution


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 reviewed the Tennessee Constitution by articulating the specific guard rails of which the governor may exercise emergency powers.

Leahy: We are having an anti-lockdown party with California Refugee Mark Pulliam in the studio and Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio. Andy, you were talking a little bit about what emergency powers the governor of Tennessee really has under the Constitution and we were talking about the language of the Constitution. I wonder if you could read what the Constitution says again about those powers.

Ogles: Yeah. So before we get to the Emergency Powers Act, Article 7 Section 1  Tennessee’s Constitution states and this paragraph is talking about your constitutional officers. I as the county mayor the CEO of Maury County, I am the chief constitutional officer for the county.

And it says, “Their qualifications and duties shall be prescribed by the General Assembly.”

Period. And that’s it.

There’s a period.

And Mark Pulliam, you’re an attorney you can talk about the importance of where the period are where the comma is in a sentence. But if you any question or doubt as to who has domain over your constitutional officers in the counties the next sentence, the last sentence of the paragraph states any officer shall be removed from malfeasance or neglect of duty as prescribed by the General Assembly.


Leahy: Another period not a comma. Not a “but,” not an “and,” and not an “if.”

Ogles: The governor has the powers or it’s the voters during an election or it’s the general assembly. Period. That’s who gives me or takes authority as county mayor. Now when you go to 58 – 2107 that’s the Emergency Powers Act. It states very clearly that an executive order as prescribed by the governor has an effect of the law period. It just says it and it says such executive orders proclamations and rules have the force and effect of law. However, under 58 – 2107 there’s some caveats.

And they are lettered and numbered. And when you get down to H, it talks about those dang constitutional officers again. I’m a subdivision of the state of Tennessee. And it says the governor can delegate new authority to me. And again the words matter. And again Mark you’re an attorney so you can speak to this. But prior to an emergency or threat of an emergency. In other words before. I can’t be given a new authority during a state of emergency.

Why? Because the General Assembly has the final say. And so one would presume that under a state of an emergency your General Assembly could not meet and could not affect their duties there go any new authority granted to me must fall under their domain, not during a time where the governor has assumed total authority. And so it’s nuanced. It’s nerdy. It’s convoluted. I get it. But it is in black and white. And if you take the time to read it, you’re like, holy crap.

Leahy: So how then does the governor have the legal authority to give county mayors the right to determine whether or not masks will be mandated or not.

Ogles: He doesn’t.

Leahy: I don’t think he does either.

Ogles: A mask is by definition by our federal government is now considered a medical device. As a county mayor have no authority under the law of the state of Tennessee to prescribe a medical device.

Leahy: We have to now turn to counselor Mark Pulliam. What’s your take on that? You spent 30 years as an attorney in California. What’s your take on that?

Pulliam: Well, we have constitutions for a reason. They are the rule book of how elected officials interact with each other, what powers they have, and which powers they don’t have. And we have to take these rules seriously because if we don’t take them seriously, then elected officials can do whatever they want.

And a lot of people and this was probably the worst thing that came out of this COVID crisis is people sort of saying well, this is different. This is an emergency. We don’t really have to pay attention to the rules. Well, it’s exactly when you have a so-called emergency that the rule book becomes especially important because in normal times we can trust the government. But not an emergency.

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