Live from Music Row Thursday 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 Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles to the newsmakers line.
At the top of the second hour, Ogles explained his recent proposal to Governor Bill Lee suggesting Tennessee discontinue doing business or any investing in support of companies that advocate for censorship. He continued to voice his concern noting that the United States is in a situation where non-governmental agencies and government tell you what you can and can’t say and when you can and cannot say it.
Leahy: And our guest on the newsmaker line Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles. Welcome, Andy.
Ogles: Good morning. How are you?
Leahy: I’m great. Yesterday you made some news and you sent a letter to Governor Bill Lee and Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally and Speaker of the House Cam Sexton. I’ll read from this and then just get your reaction. ‘Tennessee and should not be forced to invest in support the very companies that are conspiring to silence them.
Furthermore, the state of Tennessee should refrain from doing business with these companies by way of prohibition of advertising on Google, Facebook or Twitter. And a prohibition of Amazon Services until such time these companies admit their errors and remove said censorship and prohibitions from their respective platforms. Have you received any response to this proposal yet Andy?
Ogles: Not directly from leadership. But last night I had several members of both in the Senate and the House reach out to me thanking me for taking a bold stance and thought that it would be great and that they were going to work on legislation to try to get introduced. Now just to set expectations, you know, they convened for session. They are in their organizational phase but then next week they go into special session which will last three to five days. and then they’ll recess till probably March or April. So there’s not much going to be done from the legislature outside of education just because of the way it’s structured this year.
Leahy: Gotcha, so, What would be the very specific proposals? And has anybody said I’m going to sponsor such a proposal?
Ogles: Not yet. But you know, when you think about it and a lot of people realize that states across the country they have retirement plans and they have huge cash amounts dollars that they have to invest. They have budget surpluses etc. And so the state of Tennessee, the state of Florida, Utah, South Carolina, etc., they’re all huge institutional investors.
So, you know up there, you know in Nashville, you know, we’ve got 100 or 150 or so in a department and that’s all they do is invest Tennessee’s money. and so, you know these states have a lot of power. And look you can like Trump you can hate trump. It doesn’t matter. The fact that they have censored the president of the United States is incredibly concerning, period.
And that’s why you’re seeing the chancellor of Germany, the president of France, the president of Mexico and Brazil all saying hold on a minute. This is wrong. You can disagree with this man. and you know in France and Mexico their respective leaders don’t like President Trump, so it’s not like they’re in love with this man, but they understand we’re in a state where suddenly the President of the United States can be blocked, banned, censored and there’s no recourse.
They just have all the authority. And this is a scary time. We’re an Orwellian time today. I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but now we’re in a situation where you have non-governmental agencies and the government telling you what you can and can’t say and when you can and cannot say it. And that’s the United States, I’m not talking about Venezuela. I’m talking about here in our country now.
Leahy: How big is this investment fund that the state of Tennessee has under its control? Is it like 100 million a 150 million? How big is it?
Ogles: Well, yeah, I don’t know the answer to that. We have a rainy day fund and we have budget surpluses. We have funded pension funds. So you’re talking upwards of a billion dollars.
Leahy: There’s a let’s say there are a billion dollars. And that billion dollars is typically invested in bonds and stocks. and a lot of that if it’s a typical stock portfolio, you would have a lot of investment I would think in Google and Facebook and Twitter, I would guess right?
Ogles: You would assume. And so once these states and it would only take a handful to suddenly pull out of Twitter to pull off some of these technology companies and hits them and punish them through their stock. The other thing that can be done is just simply not Google advertising. Don’t advertise it on Twitter or Facebook. And you know, what’s unfortunate is that you know, Facebook has become and Twitter has become a major form of communication.
So they have gone beyond just being a business being part of the media. And so they’re in a hybrid situation of where yes their company. You know, it’s one thing to let’s say you were I or on Twitter or on Facebook and we post something that’s inflammatory or shouldn’t be posted. I get it. They have the right to delete that particular post. But to blatantly block and then delete the President of the United States again, I don’t care if you’re a Republican or Democrat or Independent, that should concern you to a degree that you can’t sleep at night.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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