COOKEVILLE, Tennessee–State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), who announced she is a candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination on Saturday, told the Tennessee District 6 Patriots meeting at the Southern Hills Golf and Country Club in Cookeville on Thursday that, unlike other candidates who label themselves as conservatives but don’t walk the walk, she is the real deal.
Though she did not specifically name either of her two other announced opponents–Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd and Williamson County Bill Lee–Beavers noted that just saying you are a conservative does not make you a conservative if you do not have a track record to support that claim.
Beavers said that the gas tax increase, which she has vowed to repeal if elected governor, is one key issue upon which a candidate’s true conservative credentials should be measured.
“As for that gas tax increase, 6 cents gas tax and then ten cents on diesel, there was no way I was going to vote for that,” Beaver said.
“There was a lot of opposition to it until Governor Haslam tried to make it palatable to the legislature by saying, ‘OK, we’re going to reduce the food tax by one cent, we’re going to reduce the Hall Income Tax,’ which is a little disingenuous because we voted to do that last year but he’s counting it as part of his tax reduction this year,” she noted.
“Then there was an F and E tax reduction for manufacturers that was going to affect about 113 businesses in Tennessee,” she pointed out.
“The truth is most of us are never going to see those reductions. In fact, when you go to the store, you’re going to be paying more for your food, you’re going to be paying more for your clothes and everything else because of the cost of transporting those things,” she said.
“I voted against the gas tax, and I voted against the bloated budget. I voted that we should not break the Copeland Amendment,” Beavers added.
The Copeland Amendment is an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution “named for its author former state Representative David Copeland of Ooltewah,” as The Tennessee Star reported in April:
Governor Haslam’s 2017-18 budget that incorporated IMPROVE Act and other spending promises now exceeds the constitutional budget growth limit established by the 1978 amendment to Article II, Section 24 of the Tennessee Constitution that states, “In no year shall the rate of growth of appropriations from state tax revenues exceed the estimated rate of growth of the state’s economy as determined by law.”
Beavers noted that she was the only Republican in the State Senate who voted against Governor Haslam’s budget in its final form.
“I stood my ground, even though I was the only Republican to vote against it,” she said.
She noted with irony that the Republican leadership backed Governor Haslam’s “bloated budget.”
“There was one Democrat who voted against the budget and actually gave a Reaganesque speech, and I thought isn’t this amazing? We hear a Democrat get up and make a speech like that and my Republican leader is up touting the gas tax, and saying things about it. I’m sitting there thinking, you know that’s not true,” she added.
Beavers also explained why she got into the race for governor.
“A lot of people started asking me if I would consider running for governor,” she said.
“We’ve got to have a conservative run. We’ve got to have someone that will stand up,” she noted, adding that “so far, we didn’t have a conservative in the race.”
That lack of a true conservative in the race, she said, prompted her to toss her hat in the ring.
Now that she has announced, she told the enthusiastic crowd, she is in it to win it.
“I’m not even thinking about losing. We’re going to win. We can point out where the others are not telling you the truth about things, or where they won’t take a stand.”
“They’re all saying they’re conservative,” she said of her opponents.
“But, if you want some bold conservative leadership, you need to support me,” Beavers concluded.