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. – guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to discuss migration to Middle Tennessee, record-breaking growth, and the Freedom Matters Tour’s unusual large amount of attendees.
Cunningham: My name is Ben Cunningham and I’m sitting in for Michael Patrick Leahy. Joined in studio this morning with Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and Grant Henry with Americans for Prosperity.
Guys, good morning. Thanks so much. You were just commenting, Andy, about the traffic. I saw the same thing coming in from Gallatin. I don’t know. Maybe that’s a good indication that things are picking up.
Ogles: I don’t know what was going on this morning. I don’t know if we all left three minutes late and it created this log jam, but, it takes me about an hour to get here, give or take, but it took me an extra 10 minutes or so just because the traffic getting to the interstate was heavier than normal.
Cunningham: I saw the same thing. And of course, Middle Tennessee is booming anyway, I saw where you guys had, like, $4 billion in new investments in Maury County. I mean, you all are just killing it down there. New battery plant. People are moving. They’re moving everywhere in Middle Tennessee. It’s an amazing phenomenon in –
Ogles: I think when you look at total investment for the last 12-month period, we’ve had about $4.5 billion investment in Maury County per capita when you look at per-capita growth. So that’s a percentage of the population with the fastest growing county in the state of Tennessee.
Cunningham: Oh, you are now?
Ogles: Yes. And number one in manufacturing job growth. So we’ve become one of those economic engines for the state. So we’re a small county that punches way above our weight class.
Cunningham: You’re doing a great job in Middle Tennessee in general. I saw where FedEx was going to hire 1,000 new people in Middle Tennessee. And, of course, Amazon can’t get enough people. They’re just begging for people to come work for them. It’s an amazing time to be in Middle Tennessee.
And I get on the Nashville Tea Party Facebook page. I get almost daily messages of people saying I’m in upstate New York or I’m in Ohio and Illinois.
And what can you tell me about good areas to live in Middle Tennessee? And I tell them, heck, any area you choose, except you might want to stay out of Davidson County. Haha. (Laughter)
Ogles: I was thinking, I just wasn’t going to say it.
Cunningham: And so many things going on. You’ve got an event coming up. You, Tennessee Stands, and Robby Starbuck have been going around the state.
Ogles: Freedom Matters Tour.
Cunningham: And you’ve got an event coming up tonight.
Ogles: That’s right. So we’ve been traveling the state. The first one was up in Kingsport and had a little over 400 people. And then last week, we were in just outside of Knoxville and the Tellico Village retirement community.
Again, we had about 420 show up there. Then tonight in Mount Juliet, I’m expecting 450. I don’t know. 550. It’s kind of hard to tell sometimes.
Cunningham: Can people just walk up and walk in? Is it general admission?
Ogles: Yes. It’s a free event. You can go online and get tickets. We have ample space. (Inaudible talk) So we do have room. Of course, we’ll register you at the door. Whereas, like Tellico Village, we had to cut off registration about two weeks prior to the event because we’re just out of space.
And, but there’s just a lot of pent-up angst. You guys are talking about the Senate budget and these bills that are coming forward. When you look at Critical Race Theory and kids being out of school and all these Covid restrictions and impingement on freedoms, people are frustrated.
And I think that you see that manifesting itself. When was the last time you have a town hall in previous years, and you’d have 400 people show up?
Ogles: It’s crazy. And I’ve been doing grassroots for a long time. We all have. And to have 400 people show up to an event on a Tuesday night or a Saturday afternoon is insane. And like I said, Tellico Village, if we would have had another two weeks, we would have had another 100, 200 people there.
Cunningham: What is resonating with people? Why are they motivated to show up?
Ogles: I think for different people, it’s different issues. And some of the aforementioned, like Critical Race Theory. You knew the scores were going to be bad, but now you see them with the school testing and the numbers coming out. I don’t know, the election.
I think a lot of people, myself included, know that there was election fraud and feel that the election was stolen and they want to know that they still have a voice. And that’s what the Freedom Matters tour is about. Tonight we’ll be in Mount Juliet. And then on Thursday, I’ll be up in Greenville – so, Upper East Tennessee again.
Cunningham: Wow. That’s great. You’re right. I don’t think I’ve seen this level of angst amongst the electorate in a long, long time, maybe ever. I don’t know. There are so many things that got people really angry, and they’re just very worried about the future of the country.
Listen to the second hour here:
– – –