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2024 Reagan Day Dinner: Meet the candidates

Posted on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 8:00 am


The Bedford County Republican Party held their annual Reagan Day Dinner Thursday evening in Bell Buckle.

The event focused on “meeting the candidates” for the upcoming state and federal elections in August.

Guests heard short speeches from State Sen. Shane Reeves, State Rep. Pat Marsh, 4th Congressional District candidate Thomas A. Davis, and Congressman Scott DeJarlais.

April 4 was an appropriate day to meet the final candidates as it was the deadline for anybody running on the state and federal level to turn in their petitions.

Marsh has not opponents to his seat, which he has held since 2012.

“We’ve got the super-majority of Republicans in the Senate–27 republicans and six democrats. We’ve got 75 republicans and 24 democrats [in 113th General Assembly House of Representatives], and if we didn’t have that, there’s no telling what would be going on in our state,” said Marsh.

“They [democrats] want immigrants coming in. I don’t understand that. They talk about unions and race and all kinds of things that we’re fighting against every day.”

Marsh said he appreciates a complimentary vote.

Reeves, who was elected to the 14th District in 2018, has one opponent, a democrat in Rutherford County.

Reeves said, “I’m just proud of Bedford County. There’s so many good things that are happening here that is a product of so many people working together.” Reeves cited the new Bedford County Higher Education Center on U.S. 231, Middle Tennessee State University’s aerospace program coming to the Shelbyville Airport, and the work of Vanderbilt Bedford Hospital.

“We have 85,000 people moving to Tennessee every year and most of them are moving to Middle Tennessee,” said Reeves, who added he’s met families from California, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

“I said why, and they said they’re taxing us to death in Vermont and they wanted to come to Tennessee.”

DesJarlais also spoke during the dinner, highlighting the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (H.R. 3090/S. 4004).

“We have a lot of misconceptions in Washington. I carry the Horse Protection Act, which is the right bill for everyone to support,” said DesJarlais.

He went on to talk about his concern in the relationships among Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea. “It’s almost reminiscent of World War II with Germany, Italy, and Japan. And it’s really frightening,” said DesJarlais.

“We can’t let our guard down. We have to modernize our nuclear force. We have to get up to speed on hypersonics. That’s really important here in our district because of Arnold Airforce Base and the ground tests they do.”

He also pointed out the issue with the war in Ukraine and how there was “no strategy to win” even though funding keeps going to Ukraine.

“So they’re basically in a World War I trench warfare state right now in western Ukraine, and they’re wanting $65 billion in funding,” said DesJarlais. “…We need to know what money is going where before we give another dime.”

He also touched on Iran’s support of terrorist groups, such as the Houthis, Hamas, and Hezbollah, while 90% of Iran’s oil goes to China.

‘We need to quit worrying about wokism and DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion] in our military, which is destroying our recruiting,” said DesJarlais.

He said the biggest issue, however, is securing the southern border, which is seeing a mass of illegal immigration and drugs coming across.

“Right here in Bedford County, we’re being impacted. So every state is a border state,” he said.

Running against DesJarlais for the 4th Congressional seat is combat veteran Thomas Davis, who touched on the country’s debt.

“If we keep doing what we’ve doing, we are going to keep getting what we’ve been getting, which is $34 trillion in debt and rising. We’re going to continue to be invaded at our borders and our rights and liberties are going to continue to be assaulted and taken away,” Davis said.

The audience also heard video messages from Sen. Bill Haggerty and Sen. Marsha Blackburn.

In her video, Blackburn said, “As republicans, we’ve got a lot to do this year, and we’ve got to make certain we keep those super-majorities in the state house and state senate. That we keep all of our members of the US House.

“And while we’re at it, let’s send President Donald Trump back to the White House.”

The Regan Day Dinner went without much incident. However, there was one protestor who stood outside of the venue holding up signs that said “All Politicians Lie.”