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Local GOP is not tired of winning, Mr. President

Kevin Cole, Guest Commentary • Sep 29, 2018 at 8:00 AM

We proudly welcome President Trump to Johnson City. We are the heart of the 1st Congressional District, which overwhelmingly supported him to the tune of a 79-20 percent margin over Ms. Clinton. We are conservative, yet open-minded, and fiercely supportive of our Constitution as it was written.

We believe, along with many of our Democratic friends, that conversation, debate, and reasonableness are necessary to facilitate public discourse. Unfortunately, the political climate these days is much more adversarial than in times past. No one seems to listen to different ideas anymore. As Hubert Humphrey, a revered Democrat, once said, “Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.” We should all be able to agree that we need more open discussion aimed at mutual understanding and respect.

We don’t always have to agree, but we all owe it to each other to disagree agreeably when we do. We can put our thoughts on ice when we enter into the heat of debate, and maybe we can learn something from each other. Aristotle is quoted as saying, “It is the mark of a mature mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

The bottom line is that we ought to be able to honor our fellow citizens enough to respect the office and welcome the person who holds it when he visits our region. We warmly welcome America’s president and our non-Republican friends who we hope will be willing to listen to what he has to say.

The occasion for President Trump’s visit is Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race. Marsha Blackburn, a constitutional conservative, needs strong support, and perhaps more importantly, high turnout from this area. Winning the most Republican part of the state simply isn’t enough. President Trump carried the 1st District by 59 percent and the entire state by 26 percent. Marsha’s margins here will matter immensely to the result statewide and may very likely determine control of the U.S. Senate for the next two years.

Tennessee is the tipping point, and everything we elected President Trump to do is at stake. That’s why it’s so critical for Republicans to go to the polls and vote for Marsha who will vote to confirm originalist judges and continue the economic expansion we are experiencing.

The tax cuts, the regulatory rollbacks, and consumer optimism have created a robust environment in which the GDP is over 4 percent, unemployment for all racial groups is at or near an all-time low, and personal income in Tennessee has increased almost 6 percent. We’re not tired of winning yet, Mr. President.

Phil Bredesen has taken many bows for the relatively conservative policy outcomes that occurred while he was governor, but when your friends and neighbors say, "Bredesen was a conservative governor," remind them that he was restrained by a Republican legislature dominating what scholars note is one of the constitutionally least powerful governorships in the nation.

His true partisan leanings will be on full display if he wins this pivotal seat. If elected, we don’t know for sure what Bredesen will do because he will be playing for the team led by Chuck Schumer, a team whose values and priorities are diametrically opposed to what most of us believe here. By contrast, we know exactly what Marsha Blackburn will stand for if elected. She won’t bend, bow, or burn. She will be the most conservative Senator we’ve ever elected from Tennessee, which means she will help Republicans do what they were elected to do. It matters who governs. But it also matters how Republicans govern when they do.

Kevin Cole is a member of the Washington County Republican Party.

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