Wilson County conservatives coalesced Thursday at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center to raise money for conservative candidates while honoring two men for their contributions to conservative ideals in Tennessee.
Featured speaker Steve Gill, a WKRN political analyst and former radio talk show host, touched on the government shutdown and offered words of encouragement at the Freedom PAC fundraiser dinner.
“I think this is a win for Republicans,” said Gill. “By making Obamacare the central issue, [Democrats] will lose elections next year.”
He predicted the shutdown would last at least a few more days.
“To make sure we fully ingrain the idea that we’re the ones against Obamacare; they’re the ones that shut down the government.”
He said that next year, when people realize how bad Obamacare is, people will remember that Republicans were against it.
“We need to make sure we play the ‘I Told You So’ card,” said Gill.
He also praised the several Republican legislators gathered for the event, including Sen. Mae Beavers, likening her to Great Britain’s “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher.
“I can’t think of anyone who’s been a better representation of Margaret Thatcher in Tennessee than Mae Beavers,” said Gill.
He said that while some of her political stances have cost her in Nashville, Wilson County appreciates her.
“I know she gets the respect she deserves here,” said Gill.
Beavers then took the podium to introduce one of the two recipients of the inaugural Freedom PAC Awards.
She said that in her time in office, she’d worked extensively with John Harris, founder of the Tennessee Firearms Association. She said he’d helped on legislation involving guns in bars, reducing handgun permit fees and laws to protect firing ranges, among many other bills.
Harris, a Nashville-based attorney, specializes in part in guns-rights cases.
Harris said Second Amendment issues can serve as a litmus test for conservatives.
“You need to know if you’re looking at a real conservative or not,” said Harris.
He said if a candidate starts talking about guns rights and hunting, then move on to the next candidate, they don’t have a true understanding of what the Second Amendment is about.
“It’s about the ability of the citizens of this country to own weapons specifically for military use to use those weapons against our government should we ever need to displace our government like they did in the 1700s,” said Harris.
Lou Ann Zelenik, a 2010 Republican candidate for Tennessee’s sixth Congressional district, introduced the second honoree, Andy Miller.
Miller, executive director for the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, said that the country is facing “horrific challenges.” He also said that while Islam ideology is an issue for the country, it’s not the biggest one.
“Our biggest challenge is our loss and our lack of faith,” said Miller.
He said had there been that faith, “Islam would not stand a chance.”
He continued on, saying that although he used to focus on national elections, he now focuses almost exclusively on the state level.
“We’ve lost Washington D.C.; it no longer functions,” said Miller. “I know where the real leading is being done; it’s being done at the state level.”
He said Tennessee is a model for the rest of the country.
“You don’t have to move mountains, but you have to get up every morning and give a damn,” said Hill.