Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed creator of The Huey Report and direct mail expert, Craig Huey, to the studio to discuss his reasons for leaving California and moving to Middle Tennessee.
Leahy: We’re joined in studio by our good friend now and our new friend a refugee from California who left California because it was untenable. And he is finding Nashville and Middle Tennessee to be a great home. Craig Huey, welcome to Nashville. You’ve moved here in June?
Huey: Right. I moved here in June. It was a major move, Michael. I was born in California. I love California. And you know, the weather in California is great. But the oppression, the regulations, the crime, the homelessness, and the taxes. There are so many reasons. Five-point five businesses a week leave California. You’re talking about close to a million people in 2019 who left California.
Leahy: Well the good news is they’re being replaced by illegal aliens. (Laughter)
Huey: To some extent. But California is going to lose one or two, maybe three congressmen in this new census redistricting.
Leahy: Their population growth has not been sufficient compared to previous years. So tell us about your life and where you grew up. Tell us where you were born and where you went to school. And tell us about your business. You have you now have 25 employees working here in Middle Tennessee. And you moved from California. Tell us your story.
Huey: Well, I thought for sure I would never move out of California. You know, I started my company out of college in a recession.
Leahy: So this would be in the 1970s, 1980s.
Huey: Yeah. Late 1970s.
Leahy: In the late 70s and you went to Long Beach State.
Leahy: It’s right on the coast.
Huey: Right on the coast.
Leahy: I’ve been to Long Beach.
Huey: Fresh air and cool breezes.
Leahy: Kind of a port city there with a lot of port activity there.
Huey: Los Angeles Harbor is right near there. My house in California overlooks LA Harbor.
Leahy: Now you still own that house in California?
Huey: I still do but I am going to be selling it because what has happened in LA County is a degeneration of the infrastructure and of the entire society. Michael with the way I described it is it’s now either a free state of Tennessee versus a slave state of California. When I go to California, and I’ve been there several times since I moved here, it’s like oppression exists over there. Oppression of fear and anxiety.
And the area where I live used to be a safe area. The gang unit has been abolished by the LA police force in part of their defunding of the police. A radical George Soros district attorney has been elected. The homeless encampment is all around me. One of my business clients is a wealthy entrepreneur, multi-millionaire in Bel Air, California. He lives in a beautiful brand-new home.
The homeless are starting to encamp up in the Bel Air area. When the riots took place in the summer, Beverly Hills, and on Rodeo Drive, the stores were broken into and everything robbed along that drive. And protesters coming up into Bel Air and the police doing nothing. He’s moving to Tennessee.
Leahy: Is he moving to Middle Tennessee?
Huey: He’s moving to Middle Tennessee.
Leahy: Well, why wouldn’t you? Now the thing is the people moving from California, what would be your guess of how many people are moving to Middle Tennessee from California are coming with conservative values? And how many are trying to take the California values that have destroyed California and are trying to transplant them to Tennessee? What would be your guess?
Huey: Michael, I would say since I’ve been here in June. I have had 20 to 25 people look me in the eye and say I I hope you’re not bringing California values to Tennessee.
Leahy: 26 now. (Laughter) I know you’re not.
Huey: And so I know that’s it’s a concern. Where I’ve moved to everyone I’ve met…
Leahy: In Williamson County.
Huey: In Williamson County, everyone I’ve met is a conservative. They are refugees just like me. Many owners of companies.
Leahy: They are capitalists fleeing California, and coming to Tennessee.
Huey: Totally. It’s unbelievable who’s coming here and they have to because of the regulation and taxes.
Leahy: So as you decided to flee California, a wise decision on your part. I fled California back in 1990, by the way. And I saw it coming. I could see it coming at that time. I had a small business there. And it wasn’t a small business-friendly at all. I could see that. It’s a venture capital, you know, sugar daddy shall we say friendly environment. So if you’ve got a venture firm back in there with 10 million dollars it’s great. But if you are a small business it’s virtually impossible…
Huey: That’s right.
Leahy: To do business in California and it’s gotten worse every year.
Huey: It is so bad.
Leahy: So you looked around the United States of America. You have a successful business, and we’ll talk about that business in a bit. And now you have 25 employees here in Middle Tennessee,
Leahy: We’ll talk about that as well. You had 49 other states and the District of Columbia from which to choose. How did you go about choosing Middle Tennessee?
Huey: Well, my wife and I went to Texas. We looked at Arizona. We looked at a variety of different states and Tennessee had an advantage. I have five children and one of them worked for my ad agency. His name is Caleb. And Caleb goes, Dad, I’m leaving California. I said Caleb why? You like to surf and you love the sun.
Yeah, you know you love California. Why are you moving? He says well, Dad, I’ve got to move to Tennessee. I’m going to go to Nashville. I said why Caleb who’s going to pay your bills because I’m not paying you in Nashville. And he said, listen, I’ll start an office in Nashville. And we’ll have an office in California and an office in Tennessee. And I said well, okay. We’ll try this.
Leahy: Well, why did he want to come to Nashville?
Huey: I asked him that and he said Dad if I stay in California, I’ll have to pay taxes. In Tennessee, I don’t have to pay income tax.
Leahy: By the way. Yes! That was why back in 1990 I chose Tennessee. It came down to North Carolina moving from Sonoma, California. The choice was North Carolina or Tennessee. Both good states but North Carolina has a state income tax and Tennessee also had a pastor by the name of Rubel Shelly. The combination of Rubel Shelly as a pastor and no state income tax. It was a no-brainer. Second best decision I ever made in my life.
Huey: Yep. Well, I’m sure that this is going to be one of my top decisions for sure. Then he goes, Dad, in California I can’t live. In Tennessee I can all of my bills will be 40 percent less. And then he said finally Dad, if I stay in California, I’ll never own a home. And in Tennessee, I can. So he moved out here last year and he got his first home and it was a great decision. And so as I kept seeing California falling…
Leahy: So your son is having a good experience in Nashville, Tennessee?
Huey: Exactly. Exactly. And I’m starting to see you know the potential here. And so we decided after a lot of investigation, Nashville would be the place.
Leahy: A wise choice.
Huey: Yes. (Chuckles)
Leahy: A wise choice. And so tell us a little bit about your business. You have 25 employees. You started it in the late 1970s when you got out of college at Long Beach State. what does your business do?
Huey: Well, we started off with political and Christian groups and then we transitioned into what was investment newsletters at a time of hyperinflation in the U.S.
Leahy: Jimmy Carter days. (Laughs)
Huey: All those days. And so I was talking about politics and economics in marketing these newsletters. And from there we grew clients. We launched businesses. We turned small companies into multi-million dollar corporations and over the years we’ve won 97 awards for the marketing we’ve done turning entrepreneurs into multimillionaires.
Leahy: That’s one of my favorite topics. Go on the web at CraigHuey.com, you can sign up for The Huey Report there.
Listen to the full second hour here:
– – –
Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Tennessee Welcome Sign” by formulanone. CC BY-SA 2.0.