In an exclusive interview with The Tennessee Star, Jeremy Hayes says he will challenge State Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) in the 2018 Republican primary because of her support for Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increase proposal.
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s the dumbest bill,” Hayes, the former co-chairman of the Trump campaign in Wilson County, told The Star’s Laura Baigert when asked his position on the governor’s IMPROVE Act, which raises the price of gas by 7 cents per gallon and the price of diesel fuel by 12 cents per gallon.
“You do not need a math degree to understand that this thing does not make sense,” Hayes said:
One, they’re telling us that they’re going to save half a cent in the grocery store, on your food tax.
Well then, proposing raising the fuel tax 7 cents the first year, the diesel tax 12 cents the first year.
What’s that going to do? . . . They’re going to pass that tax on to the consumer.
“In addition they want to put it an index,” Hayes added, citing another feature of the governor’s gas tax proposal he opposes.
Hayes also noted that the gas tax increase is unnecessary, since the state currently has a $1 billion surplus.
“That’s a billion of our money,” Hayes said.
His opponent, the incumbent State Representative in the 57th District, Susan Lynn, is a strong supporter of the governor’s gas tax.
Last month, Lynn asserted the governor’s proposal was revenue neutral, an argument 99.7 FM WWTN’s Ralph Bristol, host of Nashville’s Morning News, disputed in his testimony before the State Senate Transportation Committee on Monday.
“The Governor’s plan is revenue neutral but that is not what I am seeing in the news tonight,” Lynn wrote in a Facebook post on January 19:
Our road construction needs are great in Mt. Juliet and Lebanon – indeed – in the entire state. The Governor had wanted to simply raise the gas tax however a group of us has been supporting a revenue neutral adjustment to the tax collections. That way the over-collections we are experiencing will be reassigned in a revenue neutral way to the road fund and in a way that supports our two main principles for our road construction – pay with cash and users pay for the roads – e.g. we do not want food taxes or the Hall Income tax building our roads. Road building should remain funded by those who use the roads.
“The Governor’s proposal today is a revenue neutral proposal. It proposes lowering taxes in areas where we have had large surpluses and proportionally adjusting the taxes that fund our roads,” Lynn concluded.
On January 24, while visiting Washington, D.C., Hayes was attacked by a man who did not like the “Make America Great” hat Hayes was wearing, according to News Channel 5.
“The man, unproved and without warning, then punched Hayes in the face breaking his glasses and took Jeremy’s Trump hat off and threw it and then turned to flee,” according to one report.:
While most people would have been too stunned to react, Jeremy grabbed the man and brought him to the pavement and pinned him. The thug then started crying and begging Jeremy to let him go. The police were summoned and Jeremy held the man to the pavement until police arrived. It took the police about 40 minutes to arrive and Jeremy Hayes missed the swearing in of the President.
The young man who attacked Hayes “was charged with simple assault.”
Hayes faces an uphill challenge against Lynn, the incumbent, who is better financed and is also well connected with the Gov. Haslam wing of the Republican party.
“Our campaign is going to be focused on representing those people who have been forgotten,” the long-time Trump backer said, echoing a theme of the man and thousands of others like him helped catapult into the White House.