“As a member of the Republican Party and the GOP, I’ve always been a little concerned and also as a marketer, having a brand being the ‘Grand Old Party’ isn’t something that people necessarily aspire to, but I think the ‘Great Opportunity Party’ can stand for something,” gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd told Knoxville radio host Jim Brogan during an on-air interview in May (beginning at the 42:50 mark in the interview).
And when I think about opportunity I think about this opportunity for a better education. Wouldn’t it be great if people from around the country they think of Tennessee, they think yeah, that’s the land of opportunity. That’s where you go to get a great education. You can go to technical community college free even as an adult now as a result of this past legislation.
It’s where you can go to get great jobs. They’ve got factories and companies all across the state willing to pay top dollar. It’s the place to go to get great jobs. And also it’s the place where you can go to rural communities and live a great quality of life because they’re not leaving people behind. It’s an opportunity, a state of opportunity not just for people in the urban areas, but for people all across the state. And that’s what it means to me.
Boyd has described himself as a political “moderate” in a state where conservative Tennesseeans and the rural counties helped Trump win with a significantly wider margin than predicted. And following eight years of the Haslam administration, Boyd also faces the challenge as Brogan put it, of people who may be “weary” of East Tennessee candidates.
While vehemently rejecting any support for Trump, Boyd said he “aspire[s] to be like” Mitt Romney. When asked what separates him from the opposition, he told Brogran that he is not a professional politician, but is, an entrepreneur which he says is “innovative and disruptive.” Trump’s supporters have described the President in similar terms.
Boyd has aligned himself with organizations that, unlike either Trump or Romney, advocate for an amnesty based immigration reform plan. And unlike Romney, who opposed in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students, Boyd is a named member of an organization that pushes state and local policymakers to support giving the publicly subsidized benefit to illegal immigrant students.
Boyd has used his philanthropy to help expand an entrepreneurship program whose services are available to illegal aliens.
Taken together, Boyd’s actions and comments suggest that his version of the GOP- his “Great Opportunity Party”-is one that provides the same opportunities for illegal aliens that it does for American citizens.
On the campaign trail, Boyd has largely avoided making definitive statements about his past support for organizations that promote publicly subsidized benefits to illegal immigrant students or make their services available to illegal aliens.
The first public indication that Boyd might be backing off policies that support illegal aliens came on June 27, when he released the following statement “regarding proposed Metro Council ordinances and current Sanctuary City debate in Nashville.”
Sanctuary Cities are illegal. Washington has made a complete mess of our immigration system. But here in Tennessee, we will follow the law – and must say NO to illegal immigration and Sanctuary Cities.
I encourage everyone in Metro Nashville/Davidson County to quickly contact their Metro Council members and encourage them to strongly oppose these Metro ordinances that would ignore the law.
I commend our state’s legislative leaders for speaking out. If I’m elected Governor, I will work with them to make sure there are no Sanctuary Cities in Tennessee on my watch.
But a closer reading of the statement suggests a very careful parsing that is consistent with Boyd’s past support for organizations that promote publicly subsidized benefits to illegal immigrant students or make their services available to illegal aliens.
In his statement, Boyd declares we “must say NO to illegal immigration,” in other words, we must not allow illegal aliens to enter the country.
He offers no suggestion, however, that publicly subsidized benefits to illegal aliens who are already here should not be allowed, or that illegal aliens who are here unlawfully should be deported.
Between now and the August 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary, Boyd will have plenty of opportunities to clarify the details of what he means when he says we “must say NO to illegal immigration.”
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