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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senator Hagerty Introduces the Migrant Resettlement Transparency Act as Illegal Immigrant Children Are Flown into Tennessee

Senator Hagerty Introduces the Migrant Resettlement Transparency Act as Illegal Immigrant Children Are Flown into 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. –  host Leahy welcomed TN (R) U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty to the newsmakers line to weigh in on the illegal immigrant minors being flown into Chattanooga, Tennessee, and his proposed legislation to prevent this from continuing.

Leahy: We are joined now on our newsmaker line by United States senator from Tennessee, Bill Hagerty. Senator Hagerty, welcome back.

Hagerty: Great to be back with you. Thanks.

Leahy: Well, lots going on in terms of what the Biden administration is doing with flying illegal alien migrant children into Tennessee. The governor says he doesn’t want them, but the Biden administration is doing it. You’re going to do something about that. Tell us what your plan is.

Hagerty: Senator Blackburn, Representative Fleishman and I introduced new legislation yesterday called the Migrant Resettlement Transparency Act that’s going to prevent this from happening again.

We’ve got to ensure that Biden administration is transparent with us, that Secretary of HHS, and the Secretary of Homeland Security consult with state and state local officials or any jurisdiction that’s going to be impacted by something like this.

And what they’re doing right now is flying these folks in under the cover of darkness. fAnd they’ve got to be able to tell us exactly how many people they intend to bring in to transport or relocate. Are these people being tested?

Do they have COVID or other health crises or illnesses? How many people because our schools, our hospitals, our law enforcement are going to have to deal with all of this. Our schools are going to be overwhelmed by what could be happening.

So we have an incredibly important right to know. And for them to be behaving in this manner is doing exactly what you’re not talked about before Michael. They’re turning every town in America into a border town.

Leahy: Senator Hagerty, I don’t know if you saw this. So Peter Ducey of Fox News was at a press conference yesterday with Jen Psaki, the press Secretary of President Biden, and he asked, well, the governor said we don’t want them in Tennessee.

And she said, well, they’re really just passing through. Passing through at 1:30 a.m. I don’t know. That doesn’t seem very credible to me or transparent.

Hagerty: It doesn’t. It doesn’t to me. And if you hold on a second, Michael, I’m going to read you a text that one of my friends sent me just the other day. He was flying on a commercial flight from Dallas to Chattanooga.

He talked with the escort on the flight, the adult that was escorting these young people. The guy spoke to him in English and he said that he was bringing these young people, again on a commercial flight.

This is not the fourth that was filmed in Chattanooga by the news station there. This is a different flight. But my friend said there were eight to 10 young unaccompanied minors. Let me just read you what he texted me when he saw it.

Good morning. My wife and I were on a flight from Dallas to Chattanooga last Tuesday. We landed in Chattanooga around 1:15 p.m. At the Dallas Fort Worth Airport, I spoke in the adult males that were escorting eight to 10 unaccompanied minor males that were on the flight. He told me he was taking them to a shelter in Chattanooga.

Leahy: That’s where you go. That’s not exactly passing through, is it Senator Hagerty?

Hagerty: It’s not exactly passing through. And we’ve been hearing rumor after rumor about this Temple dormitory facility there that know that’s been rented. It’s being set up. They’re running advertisements for bilingual people.

It certainly seems that that is a location where they’re housing these folks. And they’re not being transparent whatsoever with the local community or with Governor Lee, obviously. And we have demanded the right to know what’s happening.

Leahy: Senator Hagerty, what’s going to happen with your legislation? What committee does it go before? And what are the odds of passing?

Hagerty: We’re pushing it through right now. Again, its committees with jurisdiction over Homeland Security and HHS. I think there are a lot of senators that are concerned about this. Tennessee is the first to uncover it.

But the crisis is one that the Biden administration has caused because they caused our borders to collapse. This is going to put more pressure on them and I intend to put a tremendous amount of pressure on them to address the border situation.

Now, you know, we talked about this. I flew down to Guatemala and Mexico City just a couple of weeks ago to meet with the President of Guatemala, to meet with a foreign Minister in Mexico.

I met with a foreign Economic Minister to let them know this is a matter of utmost urgency to us. The Senate controls the power of the purse here in the United States of America. And I let them know loud and clear that we need this border crisis fixed now.

We need it fixed urgently because what it’s doing is not only increasing the flow of these migrant children, other migrant adults across the border. But it’s increasing illicit drug trafficking in Tennessee.

You talk to any sheriff, they’ll tell you that overdoses are up. Death from fentanyl is up since the borders collapse. We’ve got human trafficking in our state. This is precipitating crime throughout America, and we’ve got to bring it to an end.

Leahy: But Senator Haggerty, the President to Biden has said that Vice President Kamala Harris is right on the job. She’s been doing it for more than 45 days, I guess, is in charge of solving the border crisis. Has she done has she gone to any of these countries? Has she gone to the border? I don’t think so.

Hagerty: She’s scheduled to follow my footsteps next month.

Leahy: Next month.

Hagerty: I am a full month ahead of her. And I led the very first official delegation from the United States Senate since the Pandemic shut everything down. I don’t know why the White House has not been able to have a greater sense of urgency.

Leahy: I’ll give you one possible hypothesis to explain it. They want this crisis. They don’t want to solve it. They want it to continue. That’s my hypothesis.

Hagerty: I think your hypothesis has a high probability of being correct.

Leahy: (Laughs) Said with great caution, but accuracy by Senator Hagerty. (Hagerty chuckles) What does Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer say about your legislation?

Hagerty: Schumer is going to be under pressure from his members. Think about Mark Kelly, who’s in Arizona. He’s going to be up this cycle. He’s already criticized President Biden for his treatment of the border situation.

We need to make more and more senators understand that just like Chattanooga towns and their jurisdictions are going to turn into a border town too. They’re going to be overwhelmed the same way we are. Does their school have the capacity?

Do their hospitals have the capacity or will they be overwhelmed again? Law enforcement certainly wants to know what’s happening on a local basis. So everyone is going to be affected across the nation.

I predicted this when Biden let the border-collapse. We’ve got to go back to the policies that we’re working under the Trump administration. We’ve got to secure our border first, and then we can look at the longer term, the medium-term issues that are causing problems in those countries. But we cannot deal with that as long as this border is open.

Leahy: Have you asked Democrat Senator Mark Kelly from Arizona, to co-sponsor your bill?

Hagerty: We just put the bill out last night. Senator Blackburn and I did. And I think that is a great suggestion. Our teams are working right now to get co-sponsors today.

Leahy: Have your office let us know.

Hagerty: We’ll do it.

Leahy: He’s up for reelection in 2,022, isn’t he?

Hagerty: He is. And I think this is going to be a real issue for the people of Arizona. They’ve seen it manifest at the border. But now we’re seeing it manifest right here in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Leahy: Do you see perhaps Kristen Sinema, another Democrat Senator from Arizona, have you talked to her about possibly supporting those?

Hagerty: I talked with her last night. She is one of the people who tend to see things more as we do from time to time. Joe Manchin similarly. We get a couple of those Democrats sentence those who have voters more like our voters in Tennessee.

We may be able to get the type of bipartisan support that we need. But just as a matter of principle, as a matter of fairness, the administration shouldn’t be operating this clandestine transit operation under the stealth of night.

These people are entering our country illegally, and it’s not that Tennesseeans don’t have a heart. It’s not that we don’t care for people, but we need our laws followed. We don’t want to encourage illegal activity.

And by doing this and by continuing to make the border work like a turn style and resettle people in the interior of our nation, we’re just putting a big magnet at our Southern border, attracting more and more of these illegal activities to continue.

Leahy: When you talked last night with Senator Sinema, the Democratic Senator from Arizona about this, bill, what did she say?

Hagerty: She didn’t commit, but she was interested in hearing about it. What’s happening in Chattanooga is what I think has got a lot of people’s ears perked.

Leahy: That sounds like Senator Sinema. She’s very smart but very cautious. And she’s a Democrat. She didn’t commit, but she listened. I would be very curious to see what Senator Sinema says in the future and Senator Mark Kelly in Arizona. Are there any other Democrats you think might support this bill?

Hagerty: It’s going to depend on how the situation evolves over the next week or two. But what we’re seeing in Chattanooga has sensitized the rest of America to what can happen.

And I’ve got to believe that this is not the only situation. So as this unfolds  I’m going to be aggressively reaching out to those senators that are affected, just like we are in Tennessee.

Leahy: Senator Bill Hagerty, I think this is a great bill that you’re introducing. Thanks so much for joining us today and talking about it. And please come back again and talk about what you’re doing up there in Washington.

Hagerty: Certainly. All the best. Thank you.

Listen to the full 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor Andy Ogles on Moving Past COVID with Trace Adkins and MuleFest

Mayor Andy Ogles on Moving Past COVID with Trace Adkins and MuleFest

 

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 detailed the upcoming performance by Trace Adkins at MuleFest and moving on from COVID.

Leahy: In studio, our very good friend, the mayor of that bastion of freedom, Maury County, Andy Ogles. This is my fault because it’s just so much fun talking to you but we got a little bit off track.

We are going to start at 6:05 talking about MuleFest, and we’ve talked about it on the edges. But now let’s really talk about exactly what’s going to be happening this Friday down at the square in Columbia. Tell us everything about MuleFest.

Ogles: MuleFest is a music festival taking place in Maury County this weekend. It’s hard to believe that it’s here. But Friday and Saturday, we’ve got three stages, a couple of dozen bands.

It starts at 6 p.m. on Friday evening, and we’ll run till about 10:30 Friday night. We have a couple of hundred vendors, food vendors, crafts. I mean, it’s going to be amazing. You’ll be able to get a wristband for those who want to partake of some of the artisan beers and brews that we have.

And you’ll be able to walk around from the various stages. And then Saturday morning, we have a parade at 11 o’clock. The stages fire back up at 10 a.m. in the morning and run until four o’clock in the afternoon.

And then in the evening, all of the restaurants and the breweries and such, they all have live music as well. On Saturday you’ll be able to come starting at 10 in the morning until about 10, 11 o’clock at night and hear live music.

And you’ll have a dozen different choices as to what you might want to listen to. And, of course, the main event is Trace Adkins. He’s performing Friday evening. It’ll be huge. I’m expecting a tremendous crowd.

And then Saturday, he’s the Grand Marshal in the parade. It’s a lot of fun and a huge event. The community is pumped and our small businesses. It’s been a tough year. And this is a way to just kind of spike the football, if you will, to say, hey, we’re moving past COVID.

We’re opening our economy. Keep in mind, Maury County never shut down, but we’re ready to come together as a community and celebrate. Memorial Day is about our veterans in particular it’s about those who have fallen in service to the country.

We’ll have some time there in the middle where we will have a service to honor those who have fallen serving this great country that we have.

Leahy: Trace Adkins is at what time?

Ogles: We’ll do the ceremony for our veterans around 7:55-8  o’clock. And then he’ll be right after right after that.

Leahy: And that’s just around sunset, right?

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: You got all the lights in the stages set up.

Ogles: Oh, yeah. It’s going to be amazing. And this is a full production. And when we first started talking about this and planning it. I was thinking maybe scale down an acoustic type of set, but they literally bring in a tractor-trailer that’s a stage. And then on either side of the stage, there’s these, like, 10 by 22 TVs.

Leahy: Really?

Ogles: Real monitors on either side.

Leahy: This is going to be something.

Ogles: This is big.

Leahy: So it seems to me, though, that this is the kind of stuff that people in the support people in the music industry have done for years and years and years are very good at it. They really haven’t been able to do it during COVID. But now I think in a way, this is a signal to the entire country live performances are back.

Ogles: When you look at some of the unintended consequences of the shutdowns and the closures, et cetera the entertainment industry has been decimated.

Leahy: Absolutely.

Ogles: Obviously, you have your big stars. They make a lot of money and have a lot of money. But you have all these layers of folks that put on these productions, from the person that rents the speakers to the guy that loads them into the back of the van, to the people that are working the concert, and everything in between.

All of that support staff, they’ve been out of work for a year. But you’re starting to see some of your more outspoken performers, like Trace and others, are getting back on the road. A lot of states have started to lift the restrictions.

They can kind of go out there, and you have now opportunities for them to perform in a stadium safely, et cetera, and put people back to work.

Leahy: And the key to all this, I think from a public health perspective, has been the widespread availability of vaccines.

Ogles: Oh, sure. Even Maury County, I refused to shut everything down. Last year, most of your county fairs, state fairs, were canceled. We had ours. That was during the summer peak. That was during September. It was an outdoor event.

There were no vaccines at the time, but with social distance, and we had hand sanitizer. And the Tennessee Department of Health said it was not a spread event. Now you had the CDC coming out and saying, oh, by the way, your chance of getting covet and an outdoor event is, like less than one percent.

And that’s basically if someone sneezes in your face. It’s one of those things that the data was there back in September when I made that decision. But the media got in the way of the truth. And the economic consequences are immeasurable.

Leahy: Absolutely. Well, here’s the thing, Andy. You use common sense and you look at the data. You are unusual for a political leader today because they all seem to be following the wind of whatever Dr. Fauci is saying at that moment in time.

Ogles: As a county mayor, I’m very active. I’m very accessible. I think I told this story before when we knew COVID was coming. It was jumped upon and then you have cases in Washington and New York, and it’s going to spread through the states.

And so you’re anticipating that first case in Tennessee or that first case in your community. And ultimately, when I made the decision to work with the Superintendent to close schools because ‘it was here.’ That evening, I went to the grocery store.

So up into that point, everything had been normal in Middle Tennessee and Maury County. So I held a press conference, and we announced that we were going to close schools and for the remainder of the year because, again, of the unknowns.

Everybody was terrified in March and April if you think back to the beginning of COVID. So that evening, I went to Kroger Walmart and all this, and it was sheer panic, literally had people just grabbing armfuls of cans and cereal, having no idea what they just picked up.

And we’re dropping it in buggies. I remember Walmart distinctly that I looked at the meat department. There were like three packages of liver on the far end. And that was it. That’s the only meat that Walmart had.

People were scared. But the data started coming in very quickly from Europe, out of Asia, not China, but out of Japan and South Korea. But the media doubled down on Fauci and they doubled down on fear, and they doubled down on just hyping this thing up.

And you hate to veer off into the conspiracy, but they had an intent to affect an election. And they did.

Leahy: Yeah, they sure did.

Ogles: Whether you believe it was stolen or not, that’s a conversation for another day. But there’s no denying that what the media did during COVID and they’re guilty, guilty as charged had an effect on the election.

Leahy: Yeah, no question about that. But now it’s May of 2021.

Ogles: And MuleFest!

Leahy: Not March 22.

Ogles: And it’s MuleFest.

Leahy: And so old Trace is ready to give an outstanding and energetic life performance Friday night, about eight o’clock.

Ogles: What’s great about Trace is he’s just a great American. And I’m not just saying that to promote the event, I’ve gotten to know him. And so even during some of this shutdown, and there weren’t a lot of venues to perform at, he was still going around to bases and performing for soldiers just because he loves our country, and he loves our troops.

So you may not be a country music fan or even a Trace fan, but if you want to come to support just someone who loves this country, believes in Liberty and freedom he’s the guy to get behind because his actions reflect what he believes and he supports our troops.

Leahy: Now, this about Trace, I did not realize this, but he’s actually done quite a bit of acting as well. He was in The Lincoln Lawyer, the Michael Connelly thriller in 2011.

Ogles: And then he has a TV show on Paramount or one of the cable networks. I think they’re looking at another season. So he’s getting some TV time.

Leahy: Very interesting. Plus, he can sing like the dickens.

Ogles: Well, he’s a great entertainer. And again, he’s a big dude. He’s a big personality. He’s got a big heart.

Leahy: He’s America! He’s American.

Ogles: He’s fun to be around. I’m so excited about the concert.

Leahy: I am, too, because Let’s get out of this COVID craziness. Let’s have some fun!

Ogles: I think for a lot of people, this is going to be one of those moments when they’re just a big sigh of relief.

Listen to the full second hour here:

– – –

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor of Maury County Andy Ogles Talks Tennessean Frustration and Transgender Bathroom ‘Campaign’ Bill

Mayor of Maury County Andy Ogles Talks Tennessean Frustration and Transgender Bathroom ‘Campaign’ Bill

 

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 discussed the growing frustration of conservative Tennesseans and the transgender bathroom bill.

Leahy: We are joined in studio by our good friend Andy Ogles, Mayor of Maury County. That bastion of freedom in Tennessee. Now, speaking of freedom, I can’t wait. I got to hear all about this. MuleFest is coming to downtown Columbia this Friday. (Deep voice) Trace Adkins.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: Trace Adkins. I can’t do that voice.

Ogles: No.

Leahy: Only one person can do that voice.

Ogles: Trace Adkins is distinct. So we went to this little restaurant a few weeks ago, and, of course, he’s a big fella. He’s kind of hard to miss.

Leahy: He’s like 6’4? 6’5?

Ogles: Something like that. So you are hanging with Trace.

Leahy: And Scooter is saying, you know, he’s really good pals with Trace Atkins.

Scooter: What I tell ya? I feel like it.

Leahy: He can feel it. So you’re hanging with Trace? (Laughs)

Ogles: One of the nicest people that you’ll ever meet.

Leahy: And he lives in Maury County? Where does he live?

Ogles: He actually lives in Williamson County and during COVID and the way that Davidson and Williamson and some of the other more liberal counties bent over to COVID (Leahy laughs) he came down to the bastion of freedom.

Leahy: Bend over to COVID. (Laughter) No, that’s a good phrase. You are on a roll with phrases today Andy Ogles. (Laughter)

Ogles: Oh me. My filter is off. He’s got his back to the restaurant or to most of the people in the restaurant and then he speaks. Then just, you see, basically every head in the restaurant turn.

Leahy: They know. So there he is. You hear him speak. It’s Trace.

Ogles: Its Trace.

Leahy: So now how did you become pals with Trace Adkins? What’s the story there?

Ogles: Well, during COVID, he started coming down to Maury County and just kind of fell in love.

Leahy: And what’s not the love in Maury County, though?

Ogles: Well, I’m biased. I grew up in Franklin. My wife and I did a dated in high school.

Leahy: Increasingly Liberal Williamson County.

Ogles: Well, it was very rural back in the day. A lot of people see Franklin today, and it’s a cool town, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the town I grew up in. It was kind of a Mayberry community, very rural, with a lot of cow fields and pastures.

But Franklin outgrew us, and we moved further South. My great-grandmother was born in Maury County in 1904. My grandmother 1924. So I had roots in Maury County. So it was familiar. And our son passed away a few years ago, our third child.

And if there’s ever a time when you’re going to do something kind of radical, because if you had asked us prior to that, would we ever leave Franklin? I think the obvious answer would have been no.

But we’d always talked about buying a place a little slice of heaven, raising the kids on the farm. And it was that moment we took inventory of life and said, you know what, if we’re ever going to do this, we need to do it now. And we did. And we’ve never looked back.

Leahy: And let me just put a little caveat on that characterization of Williamson County because I live in Williamson County, the people who live in Williamson County are largely conservative.

Ogles: Oh, sure. Yeah. Absolutely.

Leahy: The leadership of Williamson County, I’m talking about you, Williamson County School Board. This is me, not you. And the leadership in the County tends to be more Liberal. That’s just the reality of it.

Ogles: There was a Mom’s for Liberty meeting at The Factory.

Leahy: We covered it.

Ogles: And I don’t know the official count, 350 to 400 people showed up.

Leahy: Big crowd, basically talking about, in general opposing of the imposition of Critical Race Theory in the curriculum of Williamson County schools.

Ogles: That’s right. And let me tell you, so the moms, in particular, are disproportionately women. I was at the meeting, they’re fired up. And I think you’re going to see, of course, we mentioned MuleFest, but we kind of move past it and we’ll come back to it.

Leahy: We’ll come back to MuleFest. We got a full hour.

Ogles: That’s right. Well, I think there’s the potential across the state of Tennessee. And I’ve been traveling the state quite a bit here lately, primarily between Knoxville and Jackson. So the edges of East and West.

Leahy: The edges of East and West.

Ogles: In Middle Tennessee, and there’s a lot of angst, there’s a lot of frustration. And pretty much wherever I’m going going to speak, it’s 100 and 250 people showing up on a Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday night, and they are frustrated.

And so I think you can see across Tennessee something building that if you have a candidate that’s primaried, whether it’s school board or County Commission or Alderman or state rep, that you’ll see a wave, a change over against incumbents.

Leahy: And that’s at the local level because in many cases, the local school boards have gone woke.

Ogles: That’s right. And I think there’s this, again, this sense that the legislature, we have a Supermajority in the state of Tennessee, hasn’t done enough and hasn’t taken the necessary measures to protect our children from a whole host of issues, whether it’s LGBTQ curriculums or transgender issues or CRT. Only 34, 35 percent of kids read on the level in the third grade. We’ve talked about that before.

Leahy: Which, by the way, you would think, Andy, that would be the job of the Tennessee State Department of Education to make sure that, oh, I don’t know, kids at the third grade, 100 percent would read at a third-grade level.

Ogles: Right. But what we’re doing is we’re pushing wit and wisdom, which is the foundation of CRT.

Leahy: I think isn’t a big champion of that Penny Schwinn, the Commissioner of Education?

Ogles: Yeah. Well, and that’s the irony of the CRT bill in the state of Tennessee is that the enforcement mechanism against CRT say, in Nashville and Shelby counties, Memphis is the person who’s laid the groundwork for CRT in the state of Tennessee.

Leahy: What I think is likely to happen is the following. I think after this school year starts if the governor signs the bill, which sources tell me he will.

Ogles: Yes, I think he will.

Leahy: I think he’s not signed it yet. But if he signs it, and the bill basically says the enforcement mechanism for any school system that violates these tenants is to withhold money.

And the person who designs that is Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. She’s going to be loathed to do that, frankly. So what I think is going to happen is she won’t enforce it. We’ll see.

Give her the chance. But then the General Assembly would come back in, generate and they’re going to have to fix it.

Ogles: I think I think you’re right. I think the governor will sign it because it’s a half measure, like so many other pieces of legislation that he signed this year.

There are a whole bunch of do-nothing pieces of legislation. So there’s no downside for him to sign it because it actually doesn’t accomplish anything now.

Leahy: Didn’t he just sign this big anti-transgender bill. Or is that a half measure, too?

Ogles: Oh, it’s certainly a half measure, because rather than banning that altogether the way we should.

And I think I made the comment two weeks ago. If you’re a dude in a dress, you’re still a dude. Go use the men’s restroom.

Leahy: If you are a dude in a dress, you are still a dude.

Ogles: That’s right. And look, it’s a free country. California has the right to be Liberal. I have the right to be conservative. You want to wear a dress, wear a dress. Free country. You’re not using the bathroom with a little girl in Tennessee.

What we’ve done and they’re calling it a bathroom bill. But all it requires is for the business to put up a sign. So basically, what you’ve done is codified that a man could use the restroom with a little girl.

Leahy: They’ve codified that unless the local business puts up a sign of opposing. Is that how it works?

Ogles: Well, again, it’s one of these grey areas.  If you’re going to address an issue such as this, why don’t you actually address it instead of skirting around the edges so you can campaign on it?

And that’s all this is. This is a campaign bill versus an actual bill that does something, and he needs to be called out on it.

Boy did we veer off of we started with Trace Adkins and MuleFest. And here we are, dabbling.

Leahy: The coffee is good, though. It’s the early morning. And I keep telling our listening audience the way the best way to experience this program is, this is a three or four-person conversation every day.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: I have a conversation with you. We sit here and we drink our coffee. And our listening audience, they’re getting up, and they’re saying, I wonder what Mike and Andy, you’re gonna talk about today.

And so they’re drinking their coffee, and they’re saying, well, that’s interesting. I wonder where this is leading.

Ogles: (Laughter) You just never know.

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 “Mule Fest 2021” by Beth Zaunbrecher.

 

Rutherford County Mayoral Candidate Joe Carr, ‘We Are More Than Middle Tennessee’s Trash Can’

Rutherford County Mayoral Candidate Joe Carr, ‘We Are More Than Middle Tennessee’s Trash Can’

 

Live from Music Row Wednesday 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 Joe Carr to discuss his run for Rutherford County Mayor and why he is the best candidate and his top priorities if elected.

Leahy: We are joined our newsmaker line now by our good friend, former State Representative Joe Carr, who’s now running for Rutherford County Mayor. Good morning, Joe Carr.

Carr: Good morning Michael, how are you today?

Leahy: I’m great. Joe, you and I have been friends for a long time. (Carr chuckles) I want to start out with this, in the words of Ronald Reagan, (Reagan’s voice) well, there you go again. You ran for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

You and I worked very closely at that time. I ran a little PAC called Beat Lamar, and we looked at a couple of candidates that would be worth endorsing. We looked at Kevin Coates and you, and Kevin, chose not to run.

Our group endorsed you and we had a group of kids that docked on doors and had a lot of fun. You did very well. You beat Lamar Alexander in 2014 soundly in Middle Tennessee, but you lost in East Tennessee and in West Tennessee.

You ended up coming very close. You lost 49 to 40. And that was, I think a lot of people would say the apex of your political career. Then in 2016, you challenged Diane Black. You got beat about two to one. In 2018, you ran for State Senate.

I don’t remember the exact numbers, but Shane Reeves defeated you handily then. Why, Joe, do you think it’s time for you to run again for office? And why are you choosing the Mayor of Rutherford County for that?

Carr: Well, first of all, you emitted a couple of things. First of all, in 2012, I was elected in the sixth congressional district as the only state Newt Gingrich delegate to the 2012 convention.

And then again in 2016, I was elected to the statewide convention as a convention delegate for Ted Cruz, getting more votes than anybody.

So what that illustrates, I think, is my desire to serve. And in every case, that you outlined, whether in victory or in defeat, as a state rep, as a delegate, as a candidate for U.S Senate, Congress, or State Senate, I’ve always been the underdog.

I’ve always been outspent, in some cases, 10 to one. And the reason that is is that I’m an outsider. I’ve always been an outsider. I’ve always been willing to take on the establishment. And the thought of losing doesn’t deter me from the task.

And the task is to do what’s right. And so while I hear what you’re saying and I hear it a lot, I’m not persuaded that it matters, especially when I am reminded of the words of Teddy Roosevelt in the Man in the Arena. And that gives me great comfort and encourages me.

And I would encourage your listeners to Google Man in the Arena by Teddy Roosevelt, because essentially what it’s saying is the victory is to those who try, not but to those who stand on the sidelines and critique having never tried.

And so I don’t want to be one of those who stand on the sidelines and critique having never tried. I’m proud to be in this race like the other races, but I feel strongly this is something I should do and I’m not going to be deterred from it.

Leahy: So tell us about the incumbent. Who your challenger there Bill Ketron, the Mayor of Rutherford County. Now Rutherford County, growing like crazy, bigger than Chattanooga now, I think. And why is he doing a bad job? We got one minute, but just do the highlights and we’ll come back after the break with more.

Carr: Real quickly. It all has to do with his leadership and leadership style, and his inability to be transparent, open, and honest. And more specifically, on how Rutherford County is going to move forward in dealing with the solid waste management at Middle Point Landfill.

He has an RFP process that their request for proposal doesn’t solve the core problem in Rutherford County about what we’re going to do with all the trash that’s coming in from other counties into Rutherford County. I’m going to solve that problem.

(Commercial break)

Leahy: Joe, when is the election going to be held?

Carr: The primary is May 4, 2022.

Leahy: May 4, 2022. So you’re running in the Republican primary against Bill Ketron. Is that right?

Carr: That’s correct. Always a Republican. (Inaudible talk)

Leahy: Are you the only announced challenger as of this moment?

Carr: As far as I know. Yeah, that’s correct.

Leahy: So make the case. Why will you do a better job as Mayor of Rutherford County than Bill Ketron, who’s had a series of difficulties, both in terms of his own insurance companies?

His daughter got in some trouble, significant trouble, actually. And then also some election law irregularities that have kind of haunted him. But why would you do a better job?

Carr: My candidacy is certainly not in response to the long list of challenges and problems that Mayor Ketron has had both personally and financially. I want to make that really clear.

This candidacy is not a response to that, but it is a reflection of his leadership style, where there seems to be a lack of transparency and honesty, and openness.

And I think it’s very, very important for our elective leaders, whether it’d be our governor or the members of Tennessee General Assembly or our local elected leaders, to be open, honest, and transparent.

And to that point, my whole campaign and candidacy is based around being more collaborative with regard to reaching out to the city mayors and reaching out to the constitutional officers that are elected in Rutherford County.

Reaching out to faith-based organizations, and getting stakeholders in the county at the table to solve our biggest challenges and problems.

At the top of that list is the Middle Point Landfill that receives seven of the trash that comes into that landfill, which is 4,500 tons a day from outside the county.

Leahy: Why is that? Why has Rutherford County become the depository for all the trash outside of Rutherford County?

Carr: Great question. Currently, we receive trash from 37 counties outside of Rutherford because in 1996, Democrat County Mayor Nancy Allen and the County Commission, of which Bill Ketron was a member, voted to allow at that time BFI the right to bring as much trash from wherever they want, whenever they want, and how much they want into Rutherford County.

In exchange for that, Rutherford County received no tipping fees. But what that has effectively done is that we now have the largest class one landfill in the entire state by far at Middle Point.

And that contract is binding. The Rutherford County government has no authority or control over how much trash is brought in, where it comes from, or what’s deposited in the landfill.

And so we need somebody who’s going to take that matter seriously. And if we can’t shut the landfill down, we can certainly do something about making a Rutherford County only waste center.

Leahy: Where is Middle Point in Rutherford County?

Carr: It’s in the Walter Hill Community just North of Murfreesboro on Highway 231. If you know where the Alvin York Veterans Facility is, it’s just North of the Alvin C. York Veterans Facility on Highway 231, going North toward Lebanon.

Leahy: Would it be fair to say then that your campaign theme might be some variation of throw the trash out?

Carr: (Laughs) Excellent. I hadn’t thought of that.

Leahy: You like that?

Carr: I’m not going to borrow it. I might just steal it.

Leahy: You can steal it if you want to.

Carr: That’s exactly right. Because we do have a serious problem. And I mentioned this at the end of the last part, we get 4,500 tons of trash into Middle Point every day. This is according to Republic. 3,000 to 3,500 tons of that comes from outside our county. And so we have a huge, huge problem.

Leahy: Do residents of Rutherford County consider the landfill issue the number one issue in the county right now?

Carr: Yes, that is the absolute number one issue. But as you move away from the landfill, especially if you get towards the Blackman Community in Rutherford County, the second issue is the urban sprawl and growth, as demonstrated by all the apartments that are going up, because the apartment construction in Rutherford County is not paying for the infrastructure that it needs to support it.

We are horribly out of balance with regard to the type of development that is going on. And the fact is it’s not paying for itself. Property owners are paying for the development of apartments and we need to recalibrate that.

Leahy: Isn’t Rutherford County going to be for the next decade, perhaps the fastest-growing county or one of the fastest-growing counties in all of the United States of America.

Carr: It is. And that is what is projected which is why we need a Mayor who takes a much more collaborative approach to solve the problems. And that Mayor needs to bring the stakeholders together, the city mayors, the constitutional officers, the organizations, the Chamber, those leaders in the community and say, let’s put a plan together about the vision of who we want to be.

We’re more than Middle Tennessee’s trashcan. (Leahy laughs) We’re more than a bunch of apartments going on. We’re more than urban sprawl and a suburb of Davidson County.

We’re much better than that. We’re greater than that. And I think somebody was a vision to bring those groups and people together that can help us to find that moving forward. We are at a critical point right now.

Leahy: Do you get a sense that among Rutherford County voters, they’re not happy with Bill Ketron’s leadership?

Carr: I think there is great disappointment in his leadership and his inability to cast that vision and work collaboratively and solve these problems that I’ve outlined, which is exactly why I’m running.

Leahy: So what are you going to be doing on your campaign? Do you have events scheduled? What’s your first event? Do you have a kickoff event?

Carr: We’re just getting started. And so we’re going to put all that together. And, of course, with your permission, I’d love to come back on from time to time and share those things with you and how the campaign is going.

And as issues arise, how we can address some of those through your microphone, because you have a very strong a loud voice here in Rutherford County. But we’re just now putting all that together.

We’re going to raise a good bit of money and we’re going to have obviously a strong volunteer grassroots ground game. You taught us that in 2014, Michael, how critical that is to be successful.

And I want to say that even though we lost in 2014, that was absolutely a monumental and wonderful experience for me personally, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything even though I was defeated, it was a wonderful experience.

Leahy: It’s interesting you talk about the ground game because, in 2014, it was very effective in your campaign against Lamar Alexander. But it’s interesting in 2020 with COVID, I mean, there was no ground game whatsoever. Do you see that changing in 2021?

Carr: Yes, we’ve already seen that change. As a matter of fact, last year, we saw that change in the summer of last year in August. As you probably know we did our T-Bones event, and we supported Manny Sethi.

And for the first time, our T-Bones and politics supported a single candidate. And in late July or early August, we had the largest crowd ever at a T-Bones event where we had over 900 people who attended.

Leahy: It was a big crowd. A very big crowd.

Carr: It was great. And so I think people are ready to get back out and return to normal. That old version of normal. The people aren’t interested in new normal if you know what I’m saying.

Leahy: I hate the new normal. I like the old normal.

Carr: (Laughs) I’m fine with the old normal. We’re going to be sensitive to people’s requests about door knocking and facial covering. We’re going to be respectful because you’re on their property and you want to be respectful of those rights. But I think we’re getting close to the old normal.

Leahy: Well, I think you’re probably right about that. I think people are very eager to get out and get back to doing things. So I think the face-to-face connection that has been traditionally part of the plan for political candidates is one that I think will be making you come back here. How do people get in touch with you, Joe? And how do they reach out if they’re interested?

Carr: Currently we have our website, which is Carrformayor.com  And then we’ve got our Facebook page, which is my personal page, Joe Carr, and also Joe Carr for Tennessee Facebook page.

There are multiple ways they can get in touch with me directly, and I will be glad to communicate with them directly. Again, I’m going to be out there myself, along with a lot of volunteers. But I grew up in this community.

My family goes back six generations in Rutherford County. I know the people here. I grew up here. I went to grade school, high school, and college here. This is my home, and I want to preserve it.

Leahy: Former state representative Joe Carr just announced he’s running for Rutherford County Mayor. Thanks for joining us. And come back again in studio, please, if you would.

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.
Background Photo “Rutherford County courthouse” by Pollinator. CC BY-SA 3.0.