State Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma) was one of the featured speakers at the regular quarterly meeting of the Tennessee Alliance of Liberty Groups held in Lebanon on Saturday.
Matheny was originally scheduled to speak about the fight over the gas tax in the state legislature this session, and addressed that topic first in his 45 minute talk that featured a healthy exchange of questions and answers with the group, which is made up of local liberty group leaders from around the state.
“I relayed to them we in the Tennessee General Assembly were not set up to ask the public for $300 million in a $2 billion surplus budget,” Matheny told The Tennessee Star.
Matheny also told the audience several anecdotes about the fight against the gas tax, which ultimately was unsuccessful.
“We were a tight group in opposition, but we didn’t have the numbers in the end,” Matheny said.
The conversation soon turned to the race for the Sixth Congressional District Republican nomination. Last month, Matheny announced that he was in the race to win in 2018, whether or not incumbent Rep. Diane Black decides to run for governor.
“As I’ve matured as a state legislator, I’ve tried to create an atmosphere of cooperation between the state legislature and our federal members of Congress,” Matheny said.
Matheny noted that his efforts to create a bilateral session of the Tennessee General Assembly with the members of the Tennessee delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives and the two members of the United States Senate have been positively received by conservatives, but have been blocked by the Establishment.
“When I do get to Congress, I will set a strong example by becoming one of the first members of Congress who will have a full time staffer at the State Capital while the Tennessee General Assembly is in session,” Matheny said.
“I will be in touch constantly with that staffer, on a daily, and even hourly basis, making sure they keep me aware of what concerns the Tennessee General Assembly,” he added.
“I’ve weathered an extra amount of tough times in my 15 years as a member of the Tennessee General Assembly, and I think they’ve qualified me to fight at the national level,” Matheny noted.
Additional speakers at the day long event included gubernatorial candidates Mae Beavers and Bill Lee.