Live from Music Row, Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed State Representative Bob Freeman (D-Nashville) in studio to discuss his background and legislation that he’s passed in the Tennessee General Assembly.
Leahy: We are delighted to be joined in our studio right now by the bravest Democrat in the state of Tennessee, State Representative Bob Freeman. Good morning, Bob.
Freeman: Good morning. Thank you for having me.
Leahy: You are the second Democrat ever to come in studio and talk to us.
Freeman: Well, maybe if you talked a little nicer about us, we would come on more often.
Leahy: (Laughs) Now that’s a very good answer. That’s a very good answer. So the rumor, and I’m not going to ask you the big question yet, is that you are considering running for mayor.
Freeman: I’ve heard that rumor.
Leahy: You’ve heard that rumor. And we’ll ask you the big question in our next segment. But now we want to kind of get to know you a little bit. And mentioning that you’re a Democrat, I have two questions for you. Number one, this Chinese spy balloon thing. Have you followed that story?
Freeman: Just on the news.
Leahy: First question, did you vote for Joe Biden for president?
Freeman: I did and I supported him pretty heavily.
Leahy: You supported Joe Biden heavily. And do you think that he handled the Chinese spy balloon incident properly?
Freeman: That’s a good question. I don’t know that I have enough information to say yes or no. What negotiations were going on behind the scenes? When did they spot it? There are so many decisions there that we can play Monday morning quarterback, but I don’t know that we’ve got the information to discern.
Leahy: If I were to say that he’s entirely compromised by the Chinese Communist Party and that the fact that he failed to shoot this spy balloon down the minute it came into American territory and that’s an impeachable offense, would you agree or disagree with that?
Freeman: I think you could write 1,000 narratives based on your cherry-picking of facts to create whatever story you want. I stand by that. I don’t think that we know the information.
I think we know bits and pieces of it. And if somebody would like to bring impeachment charges, I would welcome that and I think he would defend himself and walk away from that.
Leahy: We’ve established that you are a Democrat and a supporter of Joe Biden. (Freeman chuckles) Now let’s ask the other question. It’s interesting, Bob, you are in the Tennessee House of Representatives. You served there since 2018.
Leahy: You’ve got a real job. In addition to that, your father is Bill Freeman and you helped build a huge real estate empire in Middle Tennessee. You run that now, right?
Leahy: That’s a pretty big job.
Freeman: It’s a big job. We’ve got 526 employees.
Leahy: That’s a lot.
Freeman: In five different states. So, yes, it’s a big job.
Leahy: You got that big job, probably making pretty good money at it. And you’re also in politics now. I want to talk about the political side. There are 99 members of the Tennessee House of Representatives. They’re what, 25, 20? How many Democrats are there?
Freeman: 24. We lost one.
Leahy: 24. The Republicans have a supermajority not only in the House of Representatives but also in the state Senate. What kind of strategy do you have with 24 members of the House? You seem to be a pretty sane person.
I can’t say that about most of your colleagues and maybe some of your Republican colleagues are the same. But you know, generally speaking, there’s a lot of common sense among the majority. But my question to you is, what is your strategy to accomplish anything legislatively as a member of the minority party?
Freeman: That was something that I thought about before I ran. Why did I run? And I ran because it’s important. We make decisions that have effects or affect the state of Tennessee for generations to come. And what we’re doing is important and doesn’t need to be trivialized and turned into this partisan bickering. And I kind of take that approach when I bring legislation.
Leahy: Is there any legislation that you’ve introduced that has been passed?
Freeman: A ton of legislation.
Leahy: A ton, that you’ve introduced.
Freeman: Yes. One example is I wrote a bill that allows for rape kit tracking across our state.
Leahy: Were you the lead sponsor?
Freeman: I was the lead sponsor and it passed.
Leahy: Well, congratulations on that. I’ve learned something, Bob Freeman.
Freeman: I’ve passed probably 25 bills or so.
Leahy: So you have been a productive state legislature?
Freeman: I’ve been a productive state legislator.
Leahy: I’ve learned something.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Bob Freeman” by Tennessee General Assembly. Background Photo “Tennessee State Capitol” by Andre Porter. CC BY-SA 3.0.