Pro-2nd Amendment State Rep. John Mark Windle Leaves Democrat Party, Will Run for Re-Election as Independent

Former Tennessee House Majority Leader and current State Representative John Mark Windle (I-HD41) is now a former Democrat.

Known for being a defender of Second Amendment rights, Windle switched his partisan status to Independent effective immediately and is running for reelection as an Independent as well.

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Source: Tennessee Democratic Leaders Plan to Take Iraq Vet State Rep. John Mark Windle off Ballot

After bouncing five Democrats off the ballot in the 2020 cycle, a source familiar with the workings of the Tennessee Democratic Party’s executive committee told The Tennessee Star their next target is State Rep. John Mark Windle (D.-41th District).

The source said Windle, who has served in the state’s House since 1991, is on the block because he supports gun rights.

The plan, if executed, is to have the committee vote to remove Windle from the ballot, in effect declaring him no longer a valid Democrat, after the April 7 deadline for candidates to qualify for the ballot, the source said.

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Remains Silent on Forced COVID-19 National Guard Vaccinations, But Certain Legislators Are Speaking Out

Staff for Tennessee Governor Bill Lee won’t comment on the matter, but State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) said Thursday that members of the Tennessee National Guard should decide on their own whether to vaccinate against COVID-19. Tennessee National Guard officials said in November that their troops must take the COVID-19 shot or face discharge. This, per a mandate from the U.S. Department of Defense and President Joe Biden.

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Governor Lee Will Send Tennessee National Guard Troops to Texas Border

Governor Bill Lee announced Tuesday that in early 2022, he will send approximately 50 additional members of the Tennessee National Guard troops to the Texas border to help with the growing drug crisis.

“An open border has far-reaching consequences that are fueling a drug crisis impacting both our national security and the safety of our state,” Governor Lee said.  “I have authorized additional Tennessee Guard support at our Southern border as we look to address drug trafficking at the source.”

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Tennessee National Guard Says It Will Not Follow Oklahoma and Resist DOD Vaccine Mandate; Gov. Lee Silent

The head of the Oklahoma National Guard won’t require his troops to comply with the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, but Tennessee National Guard (TNG) troops should not expect their superiors to follow the Oklahoma’s commander’s lead.

TNG spokesman Darrin Haas said Monday that his commanders will enforce Biden’s vaccine mandate.

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Tennessee National Guard Troops Who Decline COVID-19 Vaccine to Face Discipline

In line with Department of Defense policy, staff at the Tennessee National Guard (TNG) will punish members who do not vaccinate themselves against COVID-19.

TNSG personnel will discharge any members who decline to vaccinate themselves, said TNG spokesman Darrin Haas.

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Governor Lee Visits Border, Calls Situation a ‘National Security Crisis’

Gov. Bill Lee, on the right, sitting down in a room. Lee recently visited the southern border

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee visited the Southern border over the weekend and toured various sections of the area. Upon examining the situation, Lee called the state of affairs a “national security crisis.”

“What I saw at the border is unsustainable for our country and should be number one priority for national security. Tennessee will always step up and serve, but we need immediate reinforcements, like a finished border wall, to ensure our men and women in uniform have the tools they need to do their job,” Lee said.

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Governor Bill Lee to Visit Tennessee National Guard at Southern Border

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced on Thursday that he will travel to the southern border to visit the members of the state’s National Guard that have been deployed there since October.

The members of the National Guard are assisting in attempts to reduce the large surge of illegal immigration and drug trafficking, which has increased in recent months.

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300 Tennessee National Guard Troops Remain at Southern Border

A Friday report revealed that 300 Tennessee National Guard troops are deployed to the U.S. southern border with Mexico, and that they’ll likely remain there until October. 

“We’ve had National Guard on the border on and off for many months, if not years,” Gov. Bill Lee (R) told The Tennesseean. “There’s a break in service between them, but right now we have 300.”

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Tennessee State, National Guards Helping Handle COVID-19 Vaccinations

For about a year now, both the Tennessee National Guard and Tennessee State Guard (TNSG) have been mobilized for COVID-19 efforts – which now includes vaccinations. The Tennessee National Guard began assisting with COVID-19 testing on April 1 following the tornado cleanup efforts, while TNSG joined in nearly a week later. Since December, both of the guards began transitioning to begin assistance with vaccine administration throughout the state. 

Established by the General Assembly in 1887, The Tennessee National Guard differs from the TNSG in that the latter is composed of volunteers underneath the state. That means that TNSG answers to Governor Bill Lee. Unlike the Tennessee National Guard, TNSG can’t be federalized or deployed outside of the state. The Tennessee National Guard can because it’s part of the U.S. Army and National Guard. Both are branches of the Tennessee Military Department.

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Tennessee National Guard Troops Deployed to Middle East

After an airstrike in Syria at the end of February, the Biden administration is mobilizing the National Guard – including one unit from Tennessee – for deployment to the Middle East. 

“Soldiers from the Tennessee National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 181st Field Artillery Regiment, deployed on Sunday for a 10-month tour of the Middle East,” Associated Press reported. 

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Gov. Lee ‘Very Disappointed’ over Treatment of Tennessee National Guard Troops in D.C.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) said he was “very disappointed” with the way the state’s National Guardsmen were treated when they were deployed to Washington, D.C. for President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“It’s time to welcome our TN National Guard soldiers & airmen home today after their mission in DC. Very disappointed in the way this mission came to a close & the overall treatment of the National Guard in DC. Tennesseans are proud of our men and women in uniform,” he said Friday on Twitter.

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Tennessee National Guard to Send Troops to D.C. for Inauguration

The Tennessee National Guard will send troops to Washington, D.C. for the Presidential Inauguration. The measure is in concert with increased security preparations spurred on by the Capitol Hill riot and current reports of planned protests nationwide.

According to reports, the Tennessee National Guard will supplement additional personnel to include communications specialists, chaplain support, and Military Police.

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Lee Authorizes Tennessee National Guard to Serve in Hospitals as COVID-19 Surges

National Guard personnel with appropriate training soon will be deployed to Tennessee hospitals to relieve capacity strain brought on by a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Gov. Bill Lee issued an executive order Friday permitting National and State Guardsmen with appropriate training and skills to serve as nurses and ambulance drivers, and to conduct COVID-19 testing in hospitals, emergency rooms, and alternative care facilities.

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