Dear Tennessee Star,
Some of my best memories are from the time I spent with my great-grandparents as a child. Both grew up on farms in East Tennessee, and my papaw served in WWII. I was blessed to have them in my life, and it is my great hope to honor them by carrying on their legacy of self responsibility, hard work, and charity. They taught me much about life. Whether I was helping them string beans or talking to my mamaw as she cooked Sunday’s dinner, there was always something to learn. Really, the way they lived was the biggest lesson of all. They showed me the importance of working hard, pinching pennies, and helping those in need.
I was raised by a single mother who did her best, but if it weren’t for them my family would have lacked some of life’s basic necessities. I’ll never forget one time a vacuum salesman showed up, and they would not let him leave until they made him a sandwich and a glass of sweet tea. That is the kind of people they were. They worked for everything they had and never went into debt for anything. Their motto was, “We will buy it when we have earned it.”
I tell you this to help paint the picture of why I have always been passionate about limited government and individual liberty. I wasn’t converted by a conservative lecturer nor did my passion ignite when I began reading the writings of William Graham Sumner. My political views were instilled in me while stringing beans as a child in East Tennessee. These views are not only what I believe but they are part of who I am. Hard work, frugality, and charity are essentially what it means to be a Tennessean.
These values attracted me to the Republican Party at an early age. Back in East Tennessee, being a Republican is only second to cheering for the Vols. Phillip Fulmer, General Neyland, President Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and the Duncan family were my heroes growing up. Every time I listen to a Reagan speech or hear Rocky Top play, it takes me right back home to the barefoot summers I spent in Lenoir City.
I write you this letter with a heavy heart. Our reality in Tennessee is that the Republican Party is fractured, and Republican Leadership has directed the party away from its roots. Republican Leadership has grown our state budget by close to $10 billion, raised taxes on hardworking families, stopped pro-life legislation, blocked pro-2nd Amendment legislation, and much more. This is unacceptable and is contrary to what we, as Republicans, claim to be.
It is long past time for the Republican Party in Tennessee to come home. It is time to return to the values that make this state great, the values that Tennesseans hold dear. It is up to us to be the voice of the common man. Tennesseans are the most grace-giving people in the country, but I know for certain that they will not tolerate their values and hard work being maligned.
I believe and have faith that the PEOPLE OF TENNESSEE will cause our party to return back to its roots.
Will you do one thing? Look within yourself and see if you can honestly say that the Republican Party in Tennessee is everything it claims to be. If the answer is no, I invite you to come alongside those who are working to change that. We will return to our limited government and individual liberty roots. I hope that I will be able to say that you chose to be a part of this homecoming. If you are already working toward this goal, know that the people of Tennessee are with you.
For me, going back home has always ended up a being a good thing.