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    Sumner County Democratic Party

    TNDP News April 17th

    April 17th, 2018 by Andrew Hoover

    News clips – April 17th, 2018

    TNDP NEWS

    Statement on the Passing of Justice Frank Drowota

    TN US SENATE NEWS

    Blackburn, Bredesen each report raising $1.8 million from donors, PACs in latest filing US Senate filings

    TN US HOUSE NEWS

    U.S. House passes Rep. Fleischmann’s Cherokee lands re-acquisition bill

    Phillips edges DesJarlais in first-quarter fundraising

    TN STATE LEGISLATURE NEWS

    House lawmakers advance a last-minute bill to increase their per diems

    Former Prison Nurse Tells Tennessee Lawmakers That Officials Covered Up 2013 Homicide

    TN GUBERNATORIAL RACE NEWS

    Local GOP hosts annual Reagan Day Dinner

     

    TNDP NEWS

    Statement on the Passing of Justice Frank Drowota

     

    Drowota served as Tennessee Supreme Court Justice from 1980 to 2005

     

    Following the news of the passing of former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Frank Drowota, Tennessee Democratic Party representatives issued the following statements:

    “Former Chief Justice Frank Drowota was a devoted public servant and outstanding jurist,” said Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini. “We’re grateful for his community involvement, long legacy of judicial achievement, and deep dedication to his craft. We express our deepest sympathy and condolences to his family at this time.”

    “Frank Drowota served ably as a Chancellor in Davidson County and for many years as a judge of the Tennessee Court of Appeals,” added State Executive Committee Member Gary Blackburn. “He was later a Democratic candidate for the Supreme Court and served there ably, including two terms as Chief Justice. Justice Drowota participated in many of the most important rulings of the last four decades and did much to modernize Tennessee law. He was also a consummate gentleman. His influence will be lasting and his memory inexhaustible to all of us who were privileged to know him.”

    According to the Tennessee Journal, services will be held Saturday, April 21.

    US SENATE NEWS

     

    Blackburn, Bredesen each report raising $1.8 million from donors, PACs in latest filing US Senate filings

    U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn raised slightly more money from donors than former Gov. Phil Bredesen during the first three months of the year, according to disclosures from their respective campaigns for the U.S. Senate.

    Bredesen, a Democrat, received more than $1.8 million from donors from mid-January to late March, his campaign said Monday.

    His fundraising effort was bolstered by an additional $1.4 million Bredesen loaned the campaign while seeking to “jumpstart TV and digital advertising.”

    Shortly after Bredesen, who is the lone top-tier Democrat in the race, announced his fundraising totals, Blackburn, the leading Republican, countered by saying she had outperformed the former Nashville mayor.

    “The Marsha for Senate campaign today announced that it raised more than $2 million in the first quarter of 2018, outraising Phil Bredesen’s campaign,” the campaign said in an email, touting her latest totals.

    Prior to Bredesen’s announcement, Abbi Sigler, a spokeswoman for Blackburn’s campaign, said the campaign did not anticipate releasing Blackburn’s totals before they’re on the Federal Election Commission’s website.

    Sigler later provided the USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee a summary of Blackburn’s disclosure, which paints a more complex picture about the fundraising figures.

    The detailed reporting summary Blackburn provided the Federal Election Commission indicates she received $1.4 million in contributions from individuals and another $432,200 from political action committees.

    By comparison, Bredesen’s filing shows he received $1.6 million in contributions from individuals and $151,000 from PACs.

    The disclosures indicate Blackburn outraised Bredesen by $78,200 in terms of donations from donors and PACs during the latest reporting period.

    Since the race began, Blackburn has reported receiving $1.3 million from PACs alone, while Bredesen reported $165,800.

    To get to the $2 million total cited in the email, Blackburn’s campaign included nearly $52,000 that she transferred from the Blackburn Victory Fund, a committee she previously set up related for her House seat.

    The campaign also counted $13,800 in interest and another $64,500 in “offsets to operating expenditures” as part of its latest fundraising total.

    According to the Federal Election Commission, such offsets are “not considered contributions.”

    The FEC defines offsets as “returns by vendors of deposits, reimbursements for expenses shared by committees, vendor refunds and rebates.”

    Bredesen’s personal loan to his campaign comes after he previously said he did not currently plan on contributing money to his campaign.

    “For cash flow purposes I’m perfectly willing to lend money to the campaign,” he said last month.

    The $1.4 million he gave his campaign came in the form of a loan, not a contribution.

    In March, the former Nashville mayor began airing TV ads on stations throughout the state, including the Fox News Channel.

    In recent months, Blackburn has also made several appearances on national TV and begun running ads on radio.

    Bredesen previously reported raising $518,000 in the first 24 days of entering the race.

    Blackburn previously reported raising $2 million in the first two months of her campaign, which launched in October.

    As of publication, neither Bredesen or Blackburn’s financial disclosures are available on the Federal Election Commission’s website.

    The race between the two is expected to rival the most expensive election in state history, which was the 2006 U.S. Senate election between Bob Corker and Harold Ford Jr. That race featured an estimated $34 million in spending.

    The following is a summary of totals by category in the latest financial disclosures for Blackburn and Bredesen:

                                  Latest disclosure                Total to date

    Total individual contributions

    • Blackburn   $1,461,684                               $3,627,205
    • Bredesen       $1,636,417                              $2,134,586

    Contributions from PACs

    • Blackburn       $432,204                             $1,337,654
    • Bredesen        $151,350                             $165,850

    Total contributions

    • Blackburn       $1,893,888                            $4,964,860
    • Bredesen        $1,815,665                            $2,333,735

    Money transferred in

    • Blackburn        $51,909                             $216,655
    • Bredesen         $0                               $0

    Loans

    • Blackburn        $0                               $0
    • Bredesen         $1,405,000                           $1,405,000

    Offsets to operating expenditures

    • Blackburn     $64,593                               $65,279
    • Bredesen          $192                              $192

    Other receipts (dividends, interest)

    • Blackburn          $13,881                          $45,343
    • Bredesen           $0                               $0

    Total disbursements

    • Blackburn        $761,186                          $2,039,550
    • Bredesen         $1,973,857                         $1,998,380

    Current cash on hand

    • Blackburn   $5,906,913
    • Bredesen    $1,740,547

     

    US HOUSE NEWS

    U.S. House passes Rep. Fleischmann’s Cherokee lands re-acquisition bill

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill that returns 76 acres of land in Monroe County, Tenn., to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, according to a news release from the office of Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.

    “Tonight, the House voted to keep a promise to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians by rightfully returning 76 acres of sacred land in Monroe County, putting the land back in tribal hands,” said Fleischmann upon the passage of his bill H.R. 146, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Historic Lands Reacquisition Act.  “The Cherokee have a rich heritage in the Third District and I am thankful to have played a part to ensure the story of the Eastern Band is preserved in the Cherokee towns of Chota and Tanasi, and allow our future generations to understand and appreciate the heritage of the Eastern Band in East Tennessee. In fact, the history of Tennessee cannot be told without mentioning Tanasi, the origin of the name of our great state. I thank Principal Chief Sneed for his support and advocacy in getting this legislation to where it is today. I hope my colleagues in the Senate recognize the importance of H.R. 146 and act quickly to move my bill through their chamber and on to President Trump’s desk.”

    “We are one step closer to completing reacquisition of historical Cherokee lands in East Tennessee. These lands are culturally and historically important to all Cherokee people,” said the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed. “The protection of Cherokee historic sites is critical to understanding our shared history. Congressman Fleischmann and the people of East Tennessee have been remarkably hospitable to us, and we look forward to new investments in East Tennessee when the bill is enacted into law.”

    In detail, H.R. 146, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Historic Lands Reacquisition Act, will:

    • Impact approximately 76 acres of land along the Tellico Reservoir and Little Tennessee River in Monroe County, Tennessee;
    • Include lands from the Sequoyah Museum, the Chota Memorial, Tanasi Memorial and land to provide support for these properties and cultural programs;
    • Place impacted land into trust for the benefit of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

    Phillips edges DesJarlais in first-quarter fundraising

    The Democratic challenger to Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais said she raised more money than he did in the first quarter of 2018.

    The Mariah Phillips for Congress campaign raised more than $59,000 in the first quarter and has raised over $200,000 so far, according to a news release detailing filings with the Federal Election Commission.

    “I’m humbled by all of the grassroots supporters that are fueling our campaign, their investment is essential,” Phillips said in the release. “People in the 4th District are looking for a change and together we’re going to make that change happen. I’ll be working hard every day from now until November to carry our message to every part of the district.”

    Phillips’ overall fundraising, though, lags DesJarlais’ by more than a third, according to his own FEC filing..

    The incumbent took $55,450 in the first quarter at 378,840.01 in the election cycle to date. He spent $28,206.56 in the period and has $331,932.52 cash on hand.

    TN STATE LEGISLATURE NEWS

    House lawmakers advance a last-minute bill to increase their per diems

     

    House lawmakers on Monday made a last-minute change to a bill, adding language that would increase their daily living allowance by as much as $60 for legislative business days.

    The measure, sponsored by House GOP Caucus Chairman Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, and Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, was originally a bill to ensure the official flag of the General Assembly is flown outside the Cordell Hull Building.

    But just before the State Government Committee closed for the year, an amendment was added that would increase lawmakers’ per diems. The committee passed the measure, advancing it on to the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee.

    “This bill, all it really is, is kind of like my business,” Williams said later Monday afternoon. “My employer reimburses me 100 percent the hotel rate when I go and stay out of town. What’s happening right now is because the federal rate is so low, it doesn’t cover the cost of staying in Nashville.”

    Currently, lawmakers use an average of hotel prices for all of Davidson County to arrive at their per diem for hotel expenses.

    Lawmakers living within a 50-mile radius of Nashville are eligible to receive a per diem of $59 per day for meals, according to to Connie Ridley, director of the office of legislative administration.

    Legislators who live farther away are eligible for another $170 for hotel reimbursements for a total per diem rate of $229 set for the Nashville area by the federal government.

    The bill, which Williams brought before the committee, would instead take an average of hotel prices around downtown Nashville, known as the central business district.

    This would create an increase of between $30 and $60 in per diems, depending on the time of year, for hotel reimbursements.

    The area around Nashville’s downtown is also where the city’s most expensive hotels are located.

    Rep. Bill Sanderson R-Kenton, who sits on the committee, said he is completely supportive of the measure.

    “The rates in Nashville change,” he said. “The are so volatile based on when the marathon is in town, when the big conventions are in town. It does make it difficult for members.”

    Sanderson said he knew of a lawmaker recently that was forced to get a room downtown this year and pay $600.

    “Until we get more hotels built and the rates adjust, I think this is a good bill because it does put hardship on some folks,” he said.

    Lawmakers sometimes get state employee rates, but Sanderson said the discount is negligible.

    Sanderson said taxpayers will understand the need for the increase because of the prices for downtown hotels.

    Both Sanderson and Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Ramsey, R- Maryville, said the bill’s last-minute change on the last day of committee was not out of the ordinary. They said outside of leadership of the two bodies they have not heard much else about the bill.

    Williams said the bill was changed last minute when another, similar measure failed.

    He said he has been told that if the measure advanced in the House, a committee could be reopened in the Senate to hear it.

    Former Prison Nurse Tells Tennessee Lawmakers That Officials Covered Up 2013 Homicide

     

    A former prison nurse accused state officials Monday of covering up the circumstances of an inmate’s death in 2013, laying out the allegations in testimony before a state legislative panel.

     

    Jessica Jobes, a one-time member of the medical staff at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary, says she was on duty the day 55-year-old Elbert Thornton was found unresponsive in his cell, and that she attempted CPR.

     

    The state lists Thorton’s death as coming from natural causes. But Jobes says she saw evidence of extreme injuries, including scars and burns on his genitals.

     

    “He had been whipped and tortured for at least a few weeks. I saw bruises in various stages of healing. It was awful. I’ve never seen torture before or since in my life. I’ll never forget it.”

     

    The testimony came as lawmakers are debating how tight a leash to keep the Department of Correction on, amid concerns about staffing and safety in the state’s prisons. Much of the focus has been on the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, where former employees, the families of inmates and state auditors have described a dangerous environment.

     

    Monday’s testimony before the House Government Operations Committee went back farther, to the murky circumstances that surrounded Thornton’s death. The Tennessean investigated the case in 2015, finding that despite the state’s determination that he died naturally — and a local prosecutors decision not to pursue charges — many people who examined Thornton’s body were prepared to declare his death a homicide.

    Jobes placed the blame on officials within the Department of Correction, who overruled the medical staff. She says they threatened to fire anyone who spoke out about Thornton’s death.

    A spokeswoman for the Department of Correction told The Tennessean in 2015 that Thornton’s injuries could have been the result of seizures and a spilled cup of hot water shortly before he died.

    The panel cut off Jobes’ testimony when she told them she’d spoken to the FBI about the incident. Lawmakers said they wouldn’t want to interfere with a potential investigation.

    But some did question state Correction Commissioner Tony Parker, who was the state’s assistant commissioner of prisons at the time of the incident. He says he’ll review the case.

    At the end of the hearing, the House Government Operations Committee recommended extending the Department of Corrections authorization for two years, instead of the usual four. They say that’ll give them greater oversight of prison officials.

    TN GUBERNATORIAL RACE NEWS

    Local GOP hosts annual Reagan Day Dinner

    On Saturday, April 14, the Dyer County Republican Party held the organization’s annual Reagan Day Dinner inside the First Citizens National Bank Grand Ballroom at The Farms. Over 175 local residents attended the dinner, which paid honor to the 40th President of the United States, and heard from 5 Republican Candidates throughout the evening. This year, candidates that addressed the audience included governor candidate Randy Boyd, current U.S. Rep. for the 8th Congressional District of Tennessee David Kustoff and candidate Dr. George Flinn, as well as current Tennessee State Sen. for District 27 Ed Jackson and candidate Brandon Dodds.

    Following a reception and dinner, Dyer County Republican Party Vice Chairman LeAnn Childress welcomed those in attendance and recognized the local elected officials present. The opening ceremony also included an invocation given by Howard McBride, the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by David Fowlkes, and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, led by former Dyer County Mayor Richard Hill.

    Childress then introduced State Rep. Bill Sanderson who served as the Master of Ceremony.

    Sanderson then introduced each candidate who was allotted 8-10 minutes to speak.

    Tennessee governor candidate Randy Boyd:

    The seventh-generation Tennessean mentioned that Saturday’s appearance marked his ninth trip to Dyersburg. The Knoxville businessman and former Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner has roots in West Tennessee, particularly in Crockett and Obion counties, where six generations of his family resided. Boyd was the first generation of his family to be born in East Tennessee.

    He added that the evening was marked as one of his top 5 days, as he and his wife, Jenny, welcomed their first grandchild earlier in the day.

    “I’m a Christian, I’m conservative, I’m a businessman, and I am not a professional politician,” stated Boyd.

    He answered three primary questions during his speech:

    • What do you believe?
    • Who are you?
    • What are you actually going to go do?

    “I believe in smaller government, lower taxes, fight for the right to life, and for the Second Amendment,” stated Boyd. “I also believe in a balanced budget. I look forward to working with President Trump and Congressman Kustoff in the fight against illegal immigration and make sure that Tennessee never, ever, has a sanctuary city.”

    Along with being Christians, Boyd said, “We believe that God has blessed us beyond our wildest dreams. We have more than we could have ever imagined.”

    Boyd mentioned that he and Jenny believe in giving back to the community and added, “The best place [to give back] is in public service. I believe through public service we can do more for more people than any other place.”

    He also added he supports adoption, and noted how much joy his wife, who happened to be adopted from Germany when she was two weeks old, has brought her parents, their children, and himself as his reasoning.

    “In the state of Tennessee, adoption is too expensive and it takes too long, so as governor, we want to make Tennessee the most adoption-friendly state in America.”

    Boyd was also instrumental in the development of the Drive to 55 campaign and TN Promise, which using no taxpayer dollars allows every student in the state to attend technical or community college free of charge.

    As an entrepreneur, Boyd added he started his first company at the age of 23 and failed. His second company, Radio Systems Corporation, which owns 4,600 products including Invisible Fence, eventually grew to house over 700 employees. However, the company’s beginnings included the sinking of the family’s life savings and Boyd selling items out of the back of a van.

    “I believe it is important that the next governor has actually ran a business before,” said Boyd. “The state of Tennessee is 40,000 employees and a $37 billion organization. You need someone that’s actually ran something before. I think it’s good [if the next governor] has made a payroll before. I also think it’s good if they are an entrepreneur and have had public service experience.”

    He noted, if elected, he would not accept pay.

    When discussing what he would do, Boyd said, “I want to make Tennessee the state of opportunity – opportunity for better education, opportunity better jobs, and opportunity for everyone. For education, we are going to make sure that everyone graduates with the skills for a great job. Not everyone is going to go to college, but everybody needs to be able to get the skills they need to get a great job. I plan to work with technical colleges and build a satellite campus on every high school campus in our state. If we do that, then opportunity for better jobs – it’s going to keep companies live Develey Mustard and others coming to our communities, but you also want to fight for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Finally, we want to make Tennessee the state of opportunity for everyone, not just for Nashville and those wealthy counties.”

    He noted the importance of investing in infrastructure in the rural counties in the state.

    “In this part of the state, it’s like finishing I69 and the Port of Cates Landing. The thing to drive the economy in West Tennessee for years to come is finishing the megasite,” said Boyd.

    United States representative

    Current U.S. Rep. (TN 8th District) David Kustoff:

    Rep. Kustoff noted that he ran for U.S. representative 2 years ago to make the country better, and added he was proud to work with President Donald Trump.

    “I really support our nation’s military. I think we all do,” said Kustoff.

    He mentioned he had spent Thanksgiving with troops in Afghanistan and stated, “I told them there are people who agree with the mission in Afghanistan, and there are those who don’t agree with that mission. But unlike Vietnam, they respect you and that uniform. The president has backed them up and given the military everything they’ve asked for. We know what happened last night [Syria bombings Friday evening], and we know the years before President Trump that President Obama drew lines in the sand continuously. It’s good to have a president that honors his commitment and commands international respect – and that man is President Donald Trump.”

    Kustoff added that he also supports President Trump’s effort in the building of the wall along the nation’s southern border.

    “First, we’ve got to stop the flow of illegal immigration from our southern border. Second, we need to prevent the drug traffickers who are coming in from our southern borders.”

    During his speech, Rep. Kustoff stated that he and his wife, Roberta, are 100 percent pro-life and stands behind the Second Amendment.

    He noted that President Trump supports and is committed to the nation’s farmers and added that he has a direct line with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue.

    Kustoff also spoke on tax reform, calling it the “the hardest vote he has had” while in office.

    “It was hard because there was not one Democrat vote in the House or Senate to get it done,” said Kustoff. “You look at companies all across the country who are giving bonuses to their employees or raising their minimum wage. They have raised their minimum wage because of tax reform. That’s the Republican way to raise minimum wage.

    “I will continue to work hard like I do every day. It’s a fight every day,” stated Kustoff. “It’s an honor to represent you.”

    Candidate Dr. George Flinn:

    Dr. Flinn opened his speech discussing special interest money in politics.

    “That’s the money that comes from lobbyists, political action committees, super packs,” said Dr. Flinn. “These groups use their power and their money to sway and influence our representatives in Congress. There’s so many groups lobbying Congress – lawyers, communication companies, energy, real estate, finance, Big Pharma, healthcare, even 7-11s. The list is endless. The problem is political insiders and special interest groups no longer sway Washington – they control it. The deeper they sink their claws into the backs of elected officials, the longer they are in there, and the less likely our representatives are going to care about us.

    “They [representatives] care about fighting for special interests, an outsider who’s not about our West Tennessee values. The sad truth is that they really don’t care about us at all.”

    Dr. Flinn noted, if elected, he would not quit on West Tennessee.

    “What I care about is protecting you,” he added. “Many of our elected officials are happy to raise money for special interest groups.

    “I am a blessed man, and I thank my Lord Jesus every day for giving me the ability to build companies and a medical practice. I am going to fund my own campaign, and this means I’m not obligated to any special interests. I’m going to be obligated only to West Tennessee. I’m here to give you a clear choice. On one hand, you have someone who embraces special interest and lobbying groups, and on the other, you’ve got me.”

    State senator

    Current State Sen. (TN District 27) Ed Jackson:

    “Dyer County and northwest Tennessee are so important to me that I want to announce here, first tonight, that I am running for my second term to represent you in the State Senate in Nashville,” stated Sen. Jackson. “I would appreciate your help and support.”

    According to Jackson, jobs and personal income growth are up under conservative leadership.

    “We have the lowest unemployment rate in the state’s history and job growth is regularly 17 percent with nearly 400,000 new private sector jobs created,” said Jackson. “Tennessee has seen strong rural job growth with 31 percent. Forty-five percent of Tennessee’s new job commitments are located within our rural communities.

    “We need rural growth. Nashville and middle Tennessee and East Tennessee are experiencing a lot of growth. West Tennessee has pretty much been left out.”

    Speaking on education, Jackson noted that under conservative leadership, the state has the fastest improving scores for students in the nation in math, reading and science, as well as have the highest high school graduation rate in state history.

    “With the proposed year 2018-2019 budget, it’s nearly $1.5 billion invested in K-12 grade education with $500 million going to teacher raises,” added Jackson.

     

    He also noted that under conservative leadership that “taxes are down. We’ve cut taxes by $572 million annually. We reduced the sales tax on food by nearly 30 percent, implemented a complete phase-out of the Hall Income Tax, eliminated gift taxes, cut business taxes on manufacturing, and phased out the inheritance tax. In fact, the Frazier Corporation announced they were going to move to Dyer County the day after we reduced the tax on manufacturing.

    “In Dyer County, the unemployment rate in 2012 was 11 percent,” said Jackson. “Today, here in Dyer County, it has shrunk to 4.9 percent and it is still falling. Dyer County Highway Department, with funding from the Improve Act, Dyer County alone has over $53 million going toward transportation projects. In this year’s budget, the state plans to rebuild 9 bridges in Dyer County at a cost to the county of $400,000.”

    He also spoke on the Interstate 69 project.

    “The governor just announced last week that the 3-year plan to include construction of pavement and environmental studies for I69,” said Jackson. “So that’s in the works.

    “We are so lucky to live and work here,” concluded Jackson. “We have been working hard in making this the best state in the country, but we still have work to do. That’s why I want to represent you for another term.”

    Candidate Brandon Dodds:

    Dodds, a local optometrist and Dyer County Commissioner, opened his speech by noting he is conservative, pro-life, defender of the Second Amendment, and against illegal immigration, common core, and Obamacare. He also added he is for lower taxes and limiting government.

    “The thing I believe that sets me apart from most candidates is my passion for state’s rights,” said Dodds.

    While referring to the Tenth Amendment, he stated, “Our founding fathers must have been geniuses. They understood things then that we are still going through today. Each state is different. Today, the things we hold dear, people in California or Rhode Island may be opposed to.”

    He spoke on the need to have representation that would defend state’s rights.

    “We need guardians of those rights,” continued Dodds. “We need men and women to pour every ounce of their being to protect the rights of the state of Tennessee.”

    Speaking on a map made in England in the early 1500s, which included the phrase ‘Hic sunt dracones’ (Here be dragons), Dodds noted that sailors and explorers were scared to travel to the destination where the phrase was listed.

    “The reason why I tell you this story is because there are people in America today that are dead set in destroying the moral fabric of our country. I want them to know in Tennessee – we need to elect people who circle our state and say ‘Here be dragons. It will not happen on my watch’.”

    Former U.S. Sen. candidate Dr. Rolando Toyos was also present at the dinner. He officially dropped out of the senate race against Marsha Blackburn within the past few weeks. Dr. Toyos was named as one of the speakers prior to forfeiting his 2018 campaign.

    Dr. Toyos, who described himself as a lifelong Republican, spoke on President Ronald Reagan and his own personal life story.

    “My parents escaped communist Cuba to come to this country, and they came here as legal immigrants. When my parents came here there wasn’t a social welfare – it was either sink or swim. My parents came here with nothing and had to take any job they could get. What they emphasized in us is that this is a great country. My mom used to say all the time ‘This isn’t a land of guarantees. This is a land of opportunities, you’ll get obstacles in your way, but just fight through them’. My parents raised my brother and I very conservative.”

    Toyos noted his parents telling him to be aware of socialism.

    “The government will say that they will take care of you, but eventually what happens is that they will take away your freedom of liberty, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and take over your life. When people asked why I decided to run that is what I was seeing.”

    He encouraged all Republicans to band together. He then spoke on the reason why he is no longer running for state senator.

    “The reason why I’m out is because I didn’t vote in 1 of the 4 primaries. I voted in the generals.”

    He also added that his mother had been sick and had passed away last year.

    “When you have someone you love that much go through that, your mind isn’t on the things you would normally think about,” added Dr. Toyos. “In her memory, we should fight against socialism. She would say all the time, and this is what President Reagan said as well, ‘If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is last stand on earth.’

    Dr. Toyos received a standing ovation from the audience.

    Following the speeches, audience members completed a straw poll. The straw poll results were as follows:

    Governor candidates:

    Randy Boyd – 121 votes (70 percent)

    Diane Black – 24 votes (14 percent)

    Beth Harwell – 4 votes (2 percent)

    Bill Lee – 22 votes (13 percent)

    U.S. representative (TN 8th District):

    David Kustoff – 123 votes (69.5 percent)

    Dr. George Flinn – 54 votes (30.5 percent)

    State senator:

    Ed Jackson – 106 votes (62 percent)

    Brandon Dodds – 65 votes (38 percent)

    Childress and Rep. Sanderson offered closing remarks and following Mark Thompson’s performance of ‘God Bless the USA’ the dinner concluded.

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