NASHVILLE, Tennessee–The Tennessee Republican Assembly honored State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) with the presentation of its first annual Gold Star “Principles Over Politics” Award at its meeting in Nashville on Saturday.
TRA President Sharon Ford presented Holt with the award, in recognition of his long standing championship of conservative principles in the Tennessee General Assembly.
“Andy Holt first went to the Tennessee House of Representatives as a legislator,” Ford said. “He has become a statesman.”
Ford said that Holt had been singled out for calling for a stop to tax payers paying for the lavish lifestyles of state legislators.
“Did you know your taxpayer dollars are being used to host fancy parties with open bars, live entertainment, and all you can eat shrimp, steak and other fine eats? Of course, you’re not invited- even though it’s your money… Ruling class only. The culture of elitism is about to come to an end!” the TRA website says of the practice.
First elected in 2010, Holt has become known for his inerrant defense of conservative principles and his uncanny ability to generate publicity for his cause. This personal characteristic, Ford noted, that was not unlike President Donald Trump.
State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), whom organizers of the event described as “The Iron Lady of Tennessee,” a reference to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, also spoke to the gathering.
The TRA made news last month when it called on Speaker Harwell to initiate a conflict of interest ethics investigation into the conduct of State Rep. Barry Doss (R-Leoma), the chairman of the House Transportation Committee and an aggressive supporter of Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increase proposal.
“The Tennessee Republican Assembly (TRA) is calling upon you, Speaker Beth Harwell, to investigate a potential ethics violation by Rep. Barry Doss, who also serves as Chair of the Transportation Committee,” the organization said in a letter dated March 27 signed by its entire leadership team and hand delivered to members of the Tennessee House of Representatives on Tuesday.
“Chairman Doss should have recused himself from the proceedings that could potentially have a direct financial impact on his business,” the TRA said of his oversight of the Transportation Committee as it considered the gas tax increase proposal last week.
“In this role, Rep. Doss has the capability to sway the committee by means of influence or by manipulation of the rules governing the committee derived from Mason’s Manual,” the letter continued.
In closing, the leadership of the Tennessee Republican Assembly “respectfully asks for an appointment [with Speaker Harwell] to better understand what steps you will take to ensure the integrity of our legislative process is protected,” the letter concluded.
Despite numerous follow up requests from the TRA, as well as several requests for comment from The Tennessee Star, Speaker Harwell has not responded to the March 27 letter from the TRA nor has she agreed to a meeting to discuss the letter.