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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Smith, Wamp stress GOP values

Monday, February 23, 2009

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp and Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Robin Smith rallied the GOP faithful Saturday night as the guest speakers for the annual Bedford County Republican Party dinner.

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp speaks as State Sen. Jim Tracy listens.
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney)
Wamp is a candidate for governor in the 2010 election.

State Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville, who was also seated at the head table, claimed he had no connection to "JIM TRACY FOR GOVERNOR" bumper stickers which someone placed at table settings throughout the Blue Ribbon Circle on the Celebration grounds. Banquet organizers hastily removed them from the head table before Wamp's arrival, although they remained at the other tables.

"I had no idea," said Tracy, when asked about the stickers. "I'm concentrating on being a state Senator."

Tennessee was one of only two states to move more towards the Republican party in the 2008 election, in which Democrats made advances nationwide. Wamp said that several major industries hurt the party's nationwide chances with their abuses, and called for a return to middle-class values. He said the GOP's success in Tennessee was due to the state's focus on what he called "constitutional issues," such as abortion, immigration, gun rights and gay marriage.

Wamp decried what he called the "radical left turn" taken by the new administration, and the new spending provided for by the stimulus package. He said the U.S. has the second words debt-to-gross-domestic-product ratio in the industrialized world.

Tennessee Republican Party chair Robin Smith
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney)
But the GOP's success in Tennessee was tempered when its apparent 50-49 majority in the state House of Representatives wasn't enough to ensure full control. State Rep. Kent Williams was elected speaker with the support of all 49 Democrats, and Smith made the decision to exclude him from the party. Williams still identifies himself as a Republican, but the party says he cannot run under its banner. Smith discussed the decision to oust Williams. She said he'd expressed no interest in running for speaker during any previous Republican meetings, and said he wasn't a moderate or centrist who might side with the opposing party for ideological reasons. She said he then met with Gov. Phil Bredesen on budget issues, presenting himself as the Republican representative of the House but not discussing the meeting with any of his Republican colleagues after the fact.

Smith said the GOP hopes to get full control of the house in the 2010 elections. The 2011-2012 legislative session will be charged with re-drawing legislative and congressional districts based on the results of the 2010 Census. Smith claimed that Democrats had not drawn such districts fairly when they controlled the legislature in the past, and said that the GOP would have a clear majority of the legislature today if districts had been drawn up fairly and logically.

Smith, too, criticized the Obama administration, and said it would raise taxes on all income levels.

"It's not just the rich, ladies and gentlemen," she said.

David Evans of Wartrace, chairman of Bedford County Republican Party and a candidate to challenge U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon in 2010, was the master of ceremonies for the evening.

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