Gary Humble of Tennessee Stands Talks Background, Owning a Small Business, and Why He’s Challenging 16-Year Republican Incumbent Jack Johnson

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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 Gary Humble of Tennessee Stands to the newsmaker line to discuss his background and why he’s running for the Senate seat in Tennessee’s 23rd Congressional District.

Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker line Gary Humble, the head of Tennessee Stands and now a candidate for the state Senate here in Williamson County going into the GOP primary against state Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson. Good morning, Gary.

Humble: Hey, good morning to you.

Leahy: We are delighted to have you here. Tell me a little bit about why you are challenging Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson.

Humble: Yes. For one, we’ve been fighting a lot of issues for the last two years in the state capitol, and things just aren’t getting done. Recently, we had two bills, parents’ rights and patients’ rights bills that were structured to secure the rights of individuals that didn’t even get a motion by fellow Republicans to be heard in committee.

So those are the kinds of things that have been going on by leadership for a while. But here in Williamson County, Jack was, as many know, instrumental in raising the gas tax in 2017.

He was part of the leadership move that celebrated giving a billion dollars of our taxpayer money to the Ford Megasite in West Tennessee. That’s not conservative leadership.

That’s not what conservatives do. We don’t pick winners and losers here in Tennessee. Jack refuses to acknowledge, even though there’s a significant group of people in Tennessee that, we think there’s a lot of work to be done to secure our elections.

We’re pushing for hand-marked paper ballots. Those are things that leadership doesn’t want to talk about. And when parents were screaming at school boards about mask mandates and all these things going on in our schools, Jack’s response was, well, you have to go deal with the school board, I’m just a state senator, there’s nothing I can do about that. So I think after 16 years in office, it’s probably prudent that it might be time for a change here in Williamson County. So that’s why I’m running.

Leahy: Let’s tell our listeners a little bit about your background. You have lived in Tennessee since 2017. Five years.

Humble: That’s correct. Yes.

Leahy: So you, under the Tennessee Constitution, you are eligible to run for the state Senate, but not eligible to run for governor. Do I have that right?

Humble: That is correct, yes. Seven years for governor.

Leahy: Seven years for governor. Isn’t your complaint as much with Governor Lee as it is with State Senator Jack Johnson?

Humble: Yes. I think it’s a valid point, and that’s true. It’s not just Jack, but it’s not just the governor, either. I think it’s this entire leadership.

When you walk into the capitol, you realize something when you walk into these committee meetings, bills don’t get passed if they’ve not been brought by the governor’s office, by leadership, or by lobbyists.

And that’s simply the way it works. And there’s a large group of people in Tennessee that believe it ought not to work that way. And so we’re trying to change that from the bottom up.

And there are really good folks this year running all across the state of Tennessee, it’sworth noting. And again, he’s not the only one. Jack, since he’s been in office, he has never been challenged in a Republican primary. So he’s running for his fifth term and has never been challenged.

I think it’s time to challenge those in leadership here in the state, because with better conservative leadership, that’s more interested in listening to the people than the lobbyists that run the halls of the Capitol, I tend to believe we can get a lot more things done up there.

Leahy: Gary, tell us about your background before you came to Tennessee. Where are you from? Where did you go to college? What did you do? What’s your professional and business background?

Humble: I’m originally from South Louisiana. I went to college at Northwestern State University.

Leahy: Where is that? Is that in Monroe?

Humble: No, that’s northeastern. Northwestern is Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Leahy: Natchitoches. Right across the border from Nacogdoches, Texas.

Humble: Which is our big rivalry.

Leahy: Of course.

Humble: That was the first settlement of the Louisiana purchase. So a lot of history there. Went to college there. My wife and I got married there while we were in college.

I’ve been married to my wife for over 23 years. High school sweetheart. And went into ministry for the first 15 years of my adult life. Was a pastor, eventually executive pastor, and did that for quite a while.

Leahy: Where were you pastor — in Louisiana?

Humble: Well, all over for a bit. But for the last few years, after about 2006, I was in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Leahy: So Louisiana and Dallas then. Is that right where you were?

Humble: Yes. I ended up in Dallas right before Tennessee. In my younger days, we moved around a bit. I was recording, did a couple of albums, lived in Rochester, New York, actually for a bit.

Leahy: Rochester, New York! My neck of the woods. That’s cold, brother. That’s cold up there.

Humble: (Chuckles) I’m a Southern boy. Our first winter there, we got 150 inches of snow. We had no idea what was happening.

Leahy: What did you do in Rochester, New York?

Humble: I was a worship pastor up there when we were there.

Leahy: So now at some point you left the ministry and got into business down in Texas. Tell us about that.

Humble: We did. Yes, I did what you typically hear every pastor do when he leaves church ministry. I started a microbrewery. (Laughs) So we owned a microbrewery for about five years –

Leahy: Where was this?

Humble: That was in Grapevine, Texas, right in the middle of Dallas-Fort Worth.

Leahy: So it was called Grapevine Craft Brewery. Is that the name of it?

Humble: That’s it.

Leahy: Tell us about that. How big was it? What became of it?

Humble: It took off like a rocket ship. We did $2 million our first year, built an 11,000 square-foot brewery. We were named the 10th-fastest-growing new brewery in 2010. Won a couple of national awards. And at the time we had our beers in every Kroger across the state of Texas, so it did really well.

After about five years my wife and I decided, while the business was great and we enjoyed it, but being the beer guy is not really what we wanted to do. We think God had some other plans for us, so we did something crazy. We bought an RV and traveled the country.

Leahy: What became of Grapevine Craft Brewery?

Humble: We sold it. The name no longer exists. It’s now called Hop and Sting which I think they should have kept Grapevine Craft Brewery but that’s their business. I don’t own the business anymore but we sold it. Moved on.

Leahy: Did you make any money?

Humble: Not much, Michael. (Chuckles) I wish I had made a lot more. That’s a fact. Anybody who’s made a product and has tried to distribute their wares, understands the chunk that distributors take and the kinds of capital it takes to continue to keep up with production.

You see that on Shark Tank all the time. I needed more money to make more stuff and it’s a constant race to the top and we sort of got tired of it and sold it. Got out with our lives intact and moved on.

Leahy: So if the opposition research goes on and says how Grapevine Craft Brewery worked out will they find anything negative, or basically you succeeded to a degree and then got out and didn’t lose.

Humble: The brewery is still alive today and running and making beer while over 80 percent of microbreweries close. So there’s that.

Leahy: Got you.

Listen to the full interview:

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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.
















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