Wilson County Tea Party

Michael DelGiorno at
Annual Dinner

Radio talk show host Michael Del Giorno and State Reps. Terri Lynn Weaver, Mark Pody and Joe Carr helped make our annual dinner a big success...

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Joe Carr, Menda Holmes. Michael Del Giorno

Michael DelGiorno and State Reps. Speak at Tea Party Dinner

The theme “Unity through Conservative Principles,” echoed resolutely in talks given by Wilson County Tea Party Chairman Menda Holmes, State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver, Mark Pody and Joe Carr and keynote speaker Michael DelGiorno at the group’s recent annual dinner.

After a delicious meal of ribs, homemade vegetable dishes and tasty desserts Chairman Holmes kicked off the evening with a poignant talk citing how the six foundational principles of the Republican Party Platform embody core conservative values. These principles are faith in God as recognized by our Founders, adherence to the Constitution, peace through strength, fiscal responsibility, equal rights and justice through the rule of law and commitment to the free market. The rift in the Republican Party, she pointed out, occurs because these principles are often articulated but rarely put into action. “Unity can only be achieved through a return to the Constitutional principles that powered the Reagan Revolution,” she emphasized.

Citing the recent U.S. Senate primary race between incumbent Lamar Alexander and Representative Joe Carr, she pointed to the distinct differences between a mainstream Republican and a true conservative. In closing, she encouraged conservatives to seek leadership positions in Republican organizations at the state and local level to build support systems for future conservative leaders while bringing unity to the Republican Party.

Rep Terri Lynn WeaverAfter singing the National Anthem, acappella, Representative Terry Lynn Weaver shared her thoughts about the importance of adhering to core conservative values. She also acknowledged Albert McCall, Sr. who was in the audience, thanking him for the encouragement and support he had given her when she first ran for public office.

Representative Mark Pody opened his talk by reading part of the Declaration of Independence citing it was built on Biblical principles. He followed with a quote from John Adams, ”Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” This constitutional republic our founding fathers ordained will only perpetuate itself if it continues to be served by a moral society, he emphasized.

Rep Mark PodyUnfortunately, as he had noted during his invocation earlier, many in this country have turned away from God and the moral baseline found in His word. As believers, Pody explained, we find ourselves asking for forgiveness for our country as he quoted 2nd Chronicles, 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Returning to the principles of the Republican platform, he pointed out many are based upon Biblical principles just like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. These founding documents have withstood the test of time, thus far, but are being challenged by the moral decay we see going on all around us. He concluded that the only way to regain unity within the party is for all Republicans to adhere to those spiritually inspired, conservative principles upon which the platform is based.

Rep Joe Carr,  Rep. Micah VanHussAfter a warm introduction from Pody, Representative Joe Carr opened his talk by recognizing District 6 Representative Micah Van Huss from Johnson City, not only for his strong conservative support in the legislature, but his service to our country as a U.S. Marine.

“Our principles come from God,” Carr began, “And once we understand this we can talk about unity. These principles are enumerated in the Bill of Rights.” Citing an example, he commended the Republican National Committee for issuing a recent resolution recognizing five states that stood up against Common Core Standards. Tennessee, however, was not one of them.

“A key challenge that will test the party’s principles is looming on the horizon” he continued. “Are we going to redefine what a marriage is or stand behind our principles – one man and one woman?”

“The problem we face is elected officials base their campaigns upon principles which they do not abide by once they are in office,” Carr concluded before introducing the keynote speaker.

Michael DelGiorno, radio talk show host on WTN 99.7, opened by recognizing his wife Andrea and Dr. Carol Swain, conservative talk show host of “Be the People.” He pulled out several sheets of paper, commenting he rarely ever spoke with notes, but was holding the proof that his message would align with the words of those who had spoken before him, almost to the point of being uncanny.

Identifying himself as a Galatians 2:20 Christian, DelGiorno said his faith was preeminent in defining all other principles upon which he stood. He said he was not a member of the Tea Party but supports all that the group stands for and he supports the Republican platform as it is written.

“Standing up for what is right day after day starts easy but gets tough”, DelGiorno said. “Over time, the truth divides people.” He went on to name a number of high ranking Republicans who did not follow the Party’s platform to bolster his point.

Returning to his notes, he said, “Unity is defined as the the state of being united. Synonyms for the word are union and confederation. A little ironic,” he pointed out, “When you look at the history of our nation.”

“We each face one of two paths, capitulate or follow ‘salt and light.’ Capitulation,” he defined, “Is the action of surrendering or ceasing to resist an opponent. We cannot unify behind anything other than the truth and that starts with choosing the Living God.”

He urged the audience to resist capitulation knowing that they would be pressed. “The Platform is the only vestibule to shepherd us to unity within the Republican Party,” DelGiorno said, “And it needs to be patriotic unity.”

He encouraged everyone to return to the documents and principles of our Founders to strengthen their understanding of what made this country great. And when it comes to elections, ”Don’t fall for personalities, focus on principles to make your decisions,” he urged.

“You are the few who get it,” he said in closing. “Please continue to pray for our leaders and our country. And remember, God changed the world with only twelve – the right twelve.”

Dr Carol Swain at Next Meeting Nov. 24th

Dr. Carol Swain The next Wilson County Tea Party event will meeting will feature Dr. Carol Swain, Professor of Political Science and Law at Vanderbilt University and host of the conservative talk show, “Be the people” on Monday, November 24 in the School House, Building G at the Ward Ag Center in Lebanon. All are welcome.

More to come on her talk as the time draws nearer...

Amendments 1,2,3 and 4 - What are We Voting For?

In addition to selecting candidates this November, the General Election will present voters with four amendments to the Tennessee State Constitution upon which they shall decide to accept or reject. In order for an Amendment to be accepted it must receive 50% of the votes cast in the latest Governor's race plus 1. Since Governor Haslam is up for re-election, no one will know exactly what that number will be until after the polls close on November 4th.

One of the biggest challenges to making an informed vote on something as important an amendment to our State Constitution is to clearly understand what the Amendment language really means. The "legalese" may be clear to the author, who is often a trained attorney, but to the rest of us it can be somewhat confusing. Below, is the actual language that will be presented on the ballot in November for Amendment 1, 2, 3 and 4 followed by an explanation of what each really means.

Amendment 1

"Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother."

After the Tennessee legislature passed reasonable laws to protect the unborn back in the 1970's, 80's and 90's such as a waiting period and informed consent laws, our State Supreme Court adopted a broader right to abortion than appears in the U.S. Constitution in the year 2000. This "right" struck down informed consent laws, laws that require a woman to wait 48 hours from the time they were informed to the time they had the abortion and laws that require a woman to have a late term abortion in the hospital. A Constitutional Amendment is the only way any of these laws can become eligible for re-instatement through the legislative process. That Amendment now stands before us as Amendment One. Visit yeson1tn.org for more info.

Amendment One does not restrict or prohibit abortion as some pro-choice groups may try to lead you to believe. It simply states that there is no Constitutional Right to an abortion in the state of Tennessee. It takes our State Constitution out of the abortion business. People are free to make sensible laws through the legislative process as to how they wish to treat abortion issues in this state without fear of being trumped by a judicial ruling that does not necessarily reflect the view of the majority of the populace.

As Conservatives who place high value on the sanctity of life, we encourage you vote YES for Amendment 1 and share your view with others.

Amendment 2

Current language:
"The judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state. The Legislature shall have power to prescribe such rules as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of section two of this article."

Proposed Language
"Judges of the Supreme Court or any intermediate appellate court shall be appointed for a full term or to fill a vacancy by and at the discretion of the governor; shall be confirmed by the Legislature; and thereafter, shall be elected in a retention election by the qualified voters of the state. Confirmation by default occurs if the Legislature fails to reject an appointee within sixty calendar days of either the date of appointment, if made during the annual legislative session, or the convening date of the next annual legislative session, if made out of session. The Legislature is authorized to prescribe such provisions as may be necessary to carry out Sections two and three of this article."

Language Common to Both: Every judge of the Supreme Court shall be thirty-five years of age, and shall before his election have been a resident of the state for five years. His term of service shall be eight years.

Think of Amendment Two as an "Election Vote vs. Rejection Vote" for judges. Our State Constitution was set up with very clear and simple language that says judges shall be elected by qualified voters. However, for the past two decades there has been in place a convoluted procedure where the Governor appoints Supreme Court and apellate court judges recommended by the Judicial Selection Committee who's members are also selected by the Governor. These judges are then approved or rejected by the legislature. Judges automatically retain their confirmation if not rejected through a retention vote every eight years. This procedure was set up when the Democrats controlled the Tennessee State House and Senate and now mainstream Republican leadership wants to make it permanent.

Amendment Two does away with the Judicial Selection Committee but changes the State Constitution to give the Governor the power to appoint these judges at his or her discretion, subject only to approval of the legislature. Confirmation remains in place so long as the judge receives the retention vote. Essentially, Amendment Two attempts to "grandfather in" current practices being done contrary to our State Constitution.

Proponents claim we are not giving up our voting rights because we vote for the Governor, we vote for our State Senators and Representatives and we have the retention vote. Ask yourself, when was the last time the Governor, my State Senator and my State Representative all agreed with my personal viewpoint? A retention, or rejection vote of someone selected by a political official is not the same thing as simply voting Yea or Nay for a judicial candidate at the polls.

Since Amendment Two takes away our right vote for judges directly and replaces it with a convoluted procedure of political appointments and approvals we encourage you to vote NO on Amendment Two.

Amendment 3

"Notwithstanding the authority to tax privileges or any other authority set forth in this Constitution, the Legislature shall not levy, authorize or otherwise permit any state or local tax upon payroll or earned personal income or any state or local tax measured by payroll or earned personal income; however, nothing contained herein shall be construed as prohibiting any tax in effect on January 1, 2011, or adjustment of the rate of such tax."

Amendment Three does away the threat of a state income tax for the State of Tennessee well into the foreseeable future. Over 10 years ago our own Senator Mae Beavers and a handful of other leaders fought diligently to keep a state income tax out of Tennessee. Now, it will reach the point of permanence as an amendment to our State Constitution. We encourage you to vote YES for Amendment Three.

Amendment 4

"All other forms of lottery not authorized herein are expressly prohibited unless authorized by a two-thirds vote of all members elected to each house of the general assembly for an annual event operated for the benefit of a 501(c)(3) or a 501(c)(19) organization, as defined by the 2000 United States Tax Code, located in this state."

The language of Amendment 4 simply adds "a 501(c)(19)" after the 501(c)(3) and replaces "or as may be amended from time to time" with "located in this state" at the end of the last line. If you are not familiar with the term 501(c)(3) or the lesser known 501(c)(19) the language not going to make much sense.

A 501(c)(3) is an IRS designation for a non-profit, tax exempt organization that allows donors to write off donations on their federal income tax as charitable contributions. Churches fall under this category along with other certain other non-profit organizations that do not get directly involved with promoting political candidates or legislation.

A 501(c)(19) refers to a veteran's post or organization, such as a local VFW, that exists for the propose of helping veterans or active members of the US Armed Forces and their families.

Amendment 4 simply allows these Veteran's organizations to use lotteries for fund raising, just as 501(c)(3)'s can do, provided both houses of the State legislature approve such action by a two-thirds majority vote. Since this Amendment provides an added benefit to our veterans and their families we encourage you to support it by voting YES to accept the change in language noted above.

Recap and Recommendations

Amendment 1 - Take the "right" to an abortion out of our State Constitution. Vote YES
Amendment 2 - Replace the Election Vote with a "Rejection Vote" for Judges. Vote NO
Amendment 3- Keep a State income tax out of Tennessee permanently. Vote YES
Amendment 4 - Allows Veterans organizations to use lotteries for fund raising. Vote YES.