Live from Music Row Monday 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 TN-5 Republican candidate Beth Harwell to the newsmaker line to discuss her support of completing the southern border wall, her opinion on $40 billion in aid to Ukraine, and her next stops on the campaign trail.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line right now by the former speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives and a candidate for the GOP nomination in the new 5th Congressional District, Beth Harwell. Good morning, Beth.
Harwell: Good morning! So glad to join you this morning. Thank you.
Leahy: Well, happy to have you on. You had a press release last week where you called on Congress to finish Trump’s border wall. Tell us about that.
Harwell: Well, you know, Michael, it’s just alarming to me. Honestly, as a mother, drugs and crime are pouring over our southern border as a result of this failed border policy. And so open borders just simply don’t work. And so for the safety of our nation, I think we need to restore what President Trump attempted to do.
Leahy: Now, how realistic is that of happening right now.
Harwell: Honestly, right now I don’t think it’s realistic, but I do believe that if Republicans regain control of Congress, I do think it’s doable.
And we all feel for Ukraine and we want to send them support, but when we’re sending more money to them to protect their borders than we are sending to our own nation to protect our borders, something’s wrong.
Leahy: Well, let’s talk about that, since you brought up Ukraine. Last week in the House of Representatives, there was a vote on a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine. Tim Burchett, congressman from the 2nd district, Scott DesJarlais from the 4th, and Diana Harshberger from the 1st, all voted against that $40 billion, as did John Rose.
So four of the seven members of the Republican delegation from Tennessee voted against it. John Rose, on our air here, said he voted against it because he didn’t trust the Biden administration to administer it properly. Three members of the delegation from Tennessee – David Kustoff, Mark Green, and Chuck Fleischmann – voted Yes on that $40 billion aid package.
If you were now representing the 5th Congressional District in Congress, would you have voted Yes on that $40 billion, or No on that $40 billion aid for Ukraine?
Harwell: I appreciate that question. I’m not going to be critical of any congressman … you have to understand all the facts. But the bottom line is I would not have voted for it.
Leahy: So you would have been in line with John Rose.
Harwell: I’m supportive of Ukraine and how hard they’re fighting, and I want to send them support. But I just understand we also have a lot of things where we need to put America first.
Leahy: Tell us what it’s been like out on the campaign trail. It’s been a while – I guess you were last on the campaign trail in 2018. It’s four years later. What’s it been like out there campaigning? What are you hearing? What are you doing on the campaign trail?
Harwell: Well, I will tell you, people in Middle Tennessee are gracious. They’re kind and they just want someone that could go up there and not get pictures taken, but actually put their shoulder to the grind and say, I’m going to get something done for America, for Middle Tennessee. And I think that’s what people are looking for right now.
Leahy: So give us an example of what you do on the campaign trail. What did you do last week? Where did you go? What are you doing this week?
Harwell: I have to be honest with you. This weekend, my son graduated from college, my youngest. And so I spent four days in Dallas, Texas, graduating my youngest son. But before that, I was on the campaign trail.
We’ve been everywhere. The most important thing to me, honestly, Michael, is meet-and-greets, where we can just go into someone’s home and have people come to that home and get an opportunity to hear what they’re thinking about and what they’re talking about.
Because you know what? Voters are smart. They’re just tired of nothing getting done. And so I think that’s … I hear that more than anything else.
Leahy: Congratulations to your son. Where did he graduate from?
Harwell: He graduated from SMU.
Leahy: Southern Methodist University. I know it. I used to live probably about five blocks from Southern Methodist way back in 1984. It’s a great campus down there.
Harwell: It is a great campus, a great school. And George W. Bush’s library is there, which was fascinating to go through and tour. So we just had a great weekend there with the whole family.
Leahy: This week, where are you going to be on the campaign trail? Where can people talk to you?
Harwell: 917 is having a fundraiser tomorrow night. We will be attending. Then we will be, let’s see, where are we? We’ve got two events this week. So every week we try to have at least two events, if not three. So we keep active. We really do.
Leahy: You said 917. That is the 917 Society. Joni Bryant put that together. It’s a great nonprofit.
Harwell: She did a great job doing that.
Leahy: They hand out Constitutions to every 8th grader, moving up to the 9th grade, around the state. I think they’ve handed out like, I don’t know, 100,000 of them each year. It’s a pretty good event.
Harwell: Yes, it is. And I actually have to give you thanks because you started that, because you have some sort of contest.
Leahy: We have a Constitution Bee. We kind of work hand-in-glove with Joni and her group. They hand out Constitutions in 8th grade. We have a Constitution Bee every October. Our 6th Constitution Bee will be held in October. You’re more than welcome to come and be one of the judges there if you want to.
Harwell: I would love to do that. I would love to do that. Wouldn’t it be great if every young person that graduated from a high school or college learned to respect and love their United States Constitution? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Leahy: It sure would. Let me just check. I don’t know if you can check your schedule, but there is an event, kind of a meet-and-greet that Davidson County GOP is putting together a week from today at a Steakhouse in Hermitage. It’s primarily to support a candidate who’s running, Kelli Phillips, who’s running for school board.
But I think several of the GOP candidates are going to be at that event. I’m going to be the master of ceremonies for that. Is that on your schedule to be there?
Harwell: I have to tell you, Michael, I have sent a check to Kelli. I’m so proud that she is running for the school board. We need qualified, good people to run for the school board. At the end of the day, there’s the glamor and there’s the glitz to federal offices, but nothing is more important than who we elect for our school boards.
I really send out a shout-out to her. I’m glad I could send her a check. I’m not going to be able to be there. I’m actually going to be at an event in Maury County that evening, but I’m so proud that you’re doing that. We need to support our local school board members.
Listen to the interview:
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