Live from Music Row Wednesday 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 Americans for Prosperity’s Tennessee State Director Tori Venable on the newsmaker line to discuss the endorsement of Andy Ogles for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District and what their organization looks for in a candidate.
Leahy: We are joined on the newsmaker line by our good friend Tori Venable, the Tennessee state director for Americans for Prosperity here in Tennessee. Good morning, Tori.
Venable: Good morning, Michael. How’s everybody today?
Leahy: We’re doing great. It’s been a while since we’ve talked, but today as sort of grassroots Wednesday, what is on the agenda for Americans for Prosperity Tennessee these days?
Venable: I’ve got to say, I’m actually in my capacity as the Americans for Prosperity Action senior advisor, and I’m happy to announce that we are endorsing Andy Ogles for Congress for Congressional District 5.
Leahy: Well, there you go. Yes. And that’s an important distinction to make. You’re a senior advisor to Americans for Prosperity Action.
That is a PAC. There are nonprofits and PACS, and Americans for Prosperity Action, which gets involved in endorsements. Andy Ogles, a friend of this program, has been on the program many a time.
I think he’s going to be in-studio here next week. Tori, tell us a little bit about the criterion Americans for Prosperity Action used in endorsing Andy Ogles, Mayor of Maury County, for the Republican nomination in the 5th Congressional District here in Tennessee. That primary takes place on August 4th.
Venable: That’s right. So we looked for policy champions, and Andy has really been a tireless advocate for economic freedom and stopping government overreach. We know that inflation is crushing the American dream for so many folks.
And Andy understands that everybody is paying more and getting less. And that is because of Washington, D.C.’s reckless spending spree. And we know that we can count on him to uphold Tennessee’s values and stop that spending spree.
So we also have no secret about our long track record with Ogles. He was our former state director for Americans for Prosperity when our state chapter first launched many years ago.
And so we know him and we know him very well. He worked to repeal the Hall Tax. I worked with him directly for four years to stop the gas tax, which, yes, we did eventually lose on.
And as mayor, he is one of the few individuals that can look back at the pandemic and say “I got it right” when so many individuals abandoned their principles and abandoned the Constitution.
And he did not. He made sure that he was giving all the information to his constituents. But he opposed economic lockdowns. He stopped any mandates from happening in his county.
And that’s exactly the kind of thing we’re looking for. Someone with bold leadership that will stand on principle even when the going gets tough.
Leahy: Yes. And Andy’s support for limited government concepts go way back here in Tennessee. Of course, he was born in Tennessee and went to Franklin High School, and went to college here in Tennessee.
But he was involved in the anti-state income tax Tennessee tax revolt way back in 1999, 2000, and 2001. That’s how I first got to know Andy.
Venable: Oh, wow! So that was my first taste of Tennessee politics. I was quite young then, but I do remember circling the capitol and blowing my horn because I was livid at the idea of paying income tax.
Leahy: So you were one of the horn-honkers as well?
Venable: (Chuckles) Yes, I was. Yeah.
Leahy: And by the way, if you look at the current economic success of Tennessee, I think that grassroots engagement with, of course, leadership from a lot of … Marsha Blackburn was involved, Diane Black, Mae Beavers – the so-called Killer Bs in the state House of Representatives at that time … led the revolt against a Republican governor who wanted to jam through a state income tax here in Tennessee. That grassroots uprising, which culminated in all of these horn-honking events. Describe for our audience a little bit what that horn-honking was like way back then.
Venable: It was chaos, and I was quite young at the time and didn’t know a thing about politics. But I heard it on the radio and I thought, well, I didn’t want to pay income tax.
So I drove down there and it was magical to have that many people driving around the Capitol blowing their horns. That’s the kind of grassroots movement we haven’t seen since.
The closest thing that comes to that is when Americans for Prosperity joined forces with people across the state to stop Obamacare’s expansion. And we did that under Ogle’s leadership.
Leahy: And it’s interesting, because if you look at it, the lack of a state income tax here is probably the single biggest driver in the economic growth of the state of Tennessee. And it’s that general attitude that you see from Andy Ogles, I think.
And that would be the reason why Americans for Prosperity Action has endorsed him. I’m guessing that’s one of the key reasons. That attitude against the overreach of the federal government, overreach of regulations, and overreach of state government as well.
Venable: That’s exactly right. And what we really look for is people that can build broad policy coalitions that are going to remove barriers to help people live that American dream. And so often the government gets in the way.
The government does things the government shouldn’t be doing, and it stifles business and it stifles American ingenuity. And so we really look for those people that are going to uphold those constitutional principles.
As I said, even when times get tough or there’s uncertainty because so many, even Republicans will abandon those principles when the political winds seem to be blowing a different way.
And he’s got a track record that he did not do that. And that’s really something for us. So as Americans for Prosperity, we have one of the largest grassroots networks in the entire state. We claim roughly 46,000 volunteers.
We knock on doors, we make phone calls, we host events. But really, if anybody is interested in Andy Ogles for Congress, we are hiring part-timers, too.
So please reach out to us. If you’re, if you know anyone looking for a summer job and that loves talking to people at the doors, we are paying, and we have internships available as well.
To get involved, contact Americans for Prosperity at Americansforprosperity.org.
Listen to the interview:
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