Saturday, March 28, 2015

Who is contributing to the Charles Robert Bone campaign for Mayor

Charles Robert Bone
A review of Charles Robert Bone's financial disclosure report for the period ending 1/15/2015 does not show much of interest.

He started the report period with $509,742 on hand, raised $250,224, spent $268,410, leaving $491,556 on hand.

He raised a lot of money from attorneys but being an attorney himself, that is not surprising. Attorney Dewey Brandstetter gave him $250. A lot of attorneys from the firm of Bone McAllester Norton contributed and several from the firm of Butler Snow, LLP.

One of his biggest contributors is Plumbers and Pipefitters which gave him $7500.

He got money from a handful of contributions from out of state including $1500 from Sarah Lowery of New York City, $700 from James Fox of Richardson Texas, $1500 from Webb Sowden of Dallas Texas and $1000 from Dustin Huffine of San Pedro CA.

Other interesting contributions are these: Ryman Hospitality PAC $1000, H.G. Hill Realty PAC $1500, and Ron Gobble, President of Gobbell Hays Partners, Inc. $1500.

I do not know many of the people contributing to his campaign, but others may. To view his campaign disclosure report, follow this link.

One thing interesting about the Bone disclosure is that all of his contributions were marked as contributions for the "primary election." There is no primary election. The August 7th election is a general election.

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Kathleen Starnes seeks position of Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party

Kathleen Starnes has announced she is seeking the office of Chairman of the Republican Party of Tennessee.

Go Kathleen, Go!!

I could not be more pleased. I am enthusiastically supporting her candidacy. Kathleen Starnes made a great Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party. She is qualified, hardworking, knowledgeable and capable and a great friend. She plays well with others. She advanced the Republican Party in the Democrat stronghold of Nashville. Below is her announcement. I deleted her phone number at my own initiative to protect her from unwanted phone calls, but I am sure if you email her, she will return you call. Rod

Kathleen Starnes
614 Summerwind Circle
Nashville, TN 37215
March 2015

Greetings to my fellow Republicans!

Under the leadership of Chairman Chris Devaney and his outstanding staff, the Republican Party in Tennessee has made tremendous progress. As a past Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party, I pledge to work with leaders across Tennessee in advancing the causes and principles dear to the GOP. Most immediately would be to elect and re-elect Republicans to the Tennessee General Assembly, elect a Republican President in 2016 and to continue advancing Red to the Roots. I promise to only serve out this term and not run in December 2016.

2009-2013 Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party (DCRP):
  • Introduced a successful Chairman’s Circle ($1000 per couple)
• Established GOP Breakfast outreach across the county
• Worked on local, state and national campaigns
• Raised funds to keep the DCRP in the black
• Tennessee Republican Party Global Engagement Team 2013-present
• Romney Delegate National Republican Convention 2012
• RNC Blacktop to Blackboard 2012
• Tennessee Republican Party Victory 2012
• Charter Member Middle Tennessee Republican Women in 2014
• Past Board Member and Treasurer of the Nashville Republican Women
• Served as 1st Vice Chair of the DCRP in 2007-2009 Davidson County Poll Inspector

Commission and Boards
Governor appointee to the Tennessee Council for Interstate Adult Offender Supervision;
Charter board member of Tennessee Voices for Victims;
Current member of the Advisory Board of the Rochelle Center;
Former Board member of the American Red Cross, Bethlehem Centers of Nashville, Watkins Institute of Design, You Have the Power, Dress for Success and the Friends of Metro General Hospital.

Business Experience: Owner of Southern Scientific (healthcare) - 1997 - present, K.M.Starnes & Associates (Event Planner), 8 years and Head of Special Events for the Mayor’s office, Nashville

Hobbies -skeet shooting, painting, travel, calligraphy, reading, and spending time with my husband, Larry Maxwell, my family, friends, my Bichons (Belle and Angel). and enjoying 2 granddaughters. Active member of the Cathedral of the Incarnation.

I look forward to talking to each of you in the near future.

Other people mentions for the position  Vanderbilt professor Carolyn Swain, who says, ""I have not actively pursued the state party chairmanship, but I find the opportunity intriguing." State Rep. Ryan Haynes of Knoxville has declared his candidacy.  Rebecca Ann Burke, a sitting state executive committee member, is also being mentioned as a potential candidate. Former state Rep. Joe Carr of Rutherford County, who lost a bid to replace Devaney in  December
says he’s not decided whether to seek the position or not.

The Executive Committee of the Tennessee Republican Party will select a new Chairman at its April 11 meeting.

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Who is financially contributing to the Megan Barry Campaign?

Megan Barry
Campaign financial disclosures reports for candidates for local races are now on-line and I have started the process of reviewing those reports. The first to be reviewed is that of mayoral candidate and current Council member Megan Barry. The report is for the period ending January 14th, 2015. Candidates who had not yet raised money were not required to file a report.

 Below is what I found of interest in Ms Barry’s report. I am sure others would find other things of interest. Some of the people you know may not be the same people I know, so you might find it interesting that certain people contributed to her campaign that I overlooked. If you want to know more about who is supporting Megan Barry’s candidacy follow this link to view her report.

One of the most interesting things I found from reviewing her report is how much money she got from professors and others associated with Vanderbilt University. I have not reviewed the report of the other candidates yet, so I don’t know how her support from Vanderbilt compares, but she is getting a lot of financial support from Vanderbilt.

Lydia Howarth wife of  Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos gave $3000. Other contributions from Vanderbilt, most of them from Vanderbilt professors, include the following: Larry Churchill $500, Gay Welsh $1000, Richard Lloyd $1000, Bill Ivey $600, Vareen Bell $500, Bonnie Dow $1800, Pearl Sims $250, Beth Conklin $250, Dan Cornfield $3000, Ruth Brown $1000, Vicki Green $1000, Jaky Akbari $175, John McCammon $2000, Tae Park $500, Virginia Scott $1000, Ranga Ramanujam $1500, Ray Fiedman $1500, Ellen Clayton $1500, Lou Outlaw $500, Ginny Shepherd $1000, and Ted Fischer $1500.

Out of town contributors include Arthur and Joyce Skodney of New York City who gave a combined total of $6000 to the campaign. I don’t know who they are and a Goggle search did not turn up anything of interest, but I just found it interesting that a New York couple put $6000 into her campaign. Other out of town contributors are Janet Meuller of Overland Park, Kansas who gave $3000 and $1500 from Lanfred Claus of Viena VA and $1500 from Neta Moye of Viena Va.

Other contributions of interest are these: former council member Anna Page $1535, Renato Soto of Conexion America $250, former state Rep Janice Sontany and employee of the Davidson County Clerk's office gave $900, the manager of the Global Mall Ravishanker Shetkar $1500, School Board Member Will Pinkston $500, famed divorce lawyer Rose Palermo $1000, and former council member Betty Nixon $500.

The Venick for Council Campaign gave her $1500. Butch Eley, CEO of Infrastructure Corporation of America and former Chief of Staff  for Nashville Mayor Bill Bonner gave her $250 and philanthropist Martha Ingram gave her $3000. Actress Ashley Judd gave $500, attorney Bob Tuke $1000, attorney Elliot Ozment $500, and former councilman and member of the Planning Commission Stewart Clifton $250.

Community activist Gene Tesselle and his wife gave a combined total of $1100. Rusty Lawrence, Executive Director of Urban Housing Solutions, gave $500. Liza Quigley, chief of staff for Congressman Jim Cooper gave $1600. Women for Tennessee’s Future donated $7900, Gaylord Entertainment Co. PAC $1000, Americana artist Buddy Miller  $1000 and Thomas Wills, Director of Vending for the homeless newspaper, The Contributor, gave $1500.

This one surprised me. Roy Dale, who is a former Metro Councilman, a developer, and someone who I assume is a Republican gave her $1500 and his wife Lisa Dale who is an outspoken conservative and prolific poster on Facebook also gave $1500. Why these two people who I perceive to be conservative are contributing to the most progressive candidate for Mayor in the race, I don't know.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Mayoral Forum at the Urban Land Institue. David Fox is looking better and better.

Fox's star is rising but I am still listening.

This mayoral forum which occurred on March 24th was organized and sponsored by the Nashville chapter of the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to the responsible use of land and to creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. To learn more about the Urban Land Institute follow the link.

All of the mayoral candidates except Kenneth Eaton took part in the forum.  The candidates each answer five questions; questions about traffic and parking, affordable housing, regional multi-modal mass transit, infrastructure, and the roll of government in building a healthier community.

On most issues the candidates were indistinguishable. Fox scored a point with me when in his comment on affordable housing said, I am more of a "carrot" person rather than a "stick" person and I oppose mandatory requirements on developers making them do things. I could support incentives that entices developers to develop affordable housing by awarding them density bonuses for building affordable housing, he said. He went on to say, it is simplistic to look at affordable housing as simply a "supply" problem, saying it is also a "demand" problem. He said that by improving education, that will negate much of the problem by giving people the means to afford housing.

On the mass transit problem, Bill Freeman scored a point when he said the "AMP was a solution looking for a problem." He said the AMP was a colossal waste of time and that we must look for a regional solution.

Howard Gentry lost a point when he bragged about the Music City Star as a success. These are the facts about the Music City Star:
The commuter line starts 30 miles east of Nashville in Lebanon and runs into downtown. When it launched seven years ago, proponents promised that 750 people per day would ride the train. Yet, an average of less than 550 riders climb aboard daily. And those riders catch a break, because they pay just 15 percent of the total cost to run the train round-­‐trip from Wilson County into downtown and back once per day. Ticket fares are expected to rake in a measly $779,400 this year, a fraction of the train’s $5.1 million operating budget. Where does the rest of the money come from to cover the difference? The pockets of federal and local taxpayers. Nashville taxpayers alone fork over some $1.6 million a year to keep the train on time. The Star has the second worst ridership in the nation. (link)
If Howard Gentry thinks The Star is model for solving our transportation problem, he does not need to be mayor.

Fox scored another point with me when he said the World War II culture of planning is what got us to this point to where we are. "It was a culture that separated everything we do; where we live, where we work and where we shop. It has maximized our need to get in the car and go everywhere." He said we need to encourage nodes of development where you live, work and shop in close areas. I think he is exactly right. What was considered the most enlighten progressive ideas of the time led us to the car-dependent urban sprawl culture of today. I could expound on this with examples but am pleased to see we have a candidate for mayor who recognizes it. Fox went on to say we need to "harness the private sector" in developing mass transit. Fox is looking more and more like my preferred candidate. I would like to see Nashville do something outside the box when it comes to mass transit. Fox appears the only candidate thinking outside the box. To see Fox's remarks about mass transit go to time stamp 49:25.

On the question of health, Jeremy Kane lost a point when he commended the role of Meharry-General hospital. In my view, just as we got out of the nursing home business, it is way past time to get out of the hospital business. For more on this issue follow this link. Bill Freeman scored a point when he said, "I have no idea on how to solve the obesity problem in Nashville."  Sometimes saying you don't have a solution to a problem is the best answer. I am tired of politician claiming they can solve every problem.

I am not yet to the point to where I know who I will support for Mayor but the field is narrowing. Megan Barry was never in the running as far as I am concerned and I am ready to remove Howard Gentry from consideration. Fox gave several answers that pleased me in this forum and said nothing that disappointed me. Fox's star is rising but I am still listening.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

School Choice One Step Closer to Reality in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, TENN. (Mar. 24, 2015) - ​Today, Tennessee's State House Education Administration & Planning Committee approved the Gardenhire/Dunn school voucher bill with 8 yea votes and 5 no votes. So far, the legislation has 26 co-sponsors and has received 32 out of 40 votes in committees this session. The Tennessee Federation for Children released the following statement in support:

"Parents and children are one step closer to finally having the opportunity to choose to get a high-quality education in Tennessee," said Tony Niknejad of the Tennessee Federation for Children. "Rather than being restrained by their zipcode or their income, this bill will allow parents to send their children to a school that best fits their needs. 60 percent of Tennesseans have said that they would consider using an opportunity scholarship if given the chance, and that chance is one step closer for children in struggling schools." ​

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Campaign financial reports for candidates for mayor, vice mayor, and metro council are now available.

The campaign financial reports for candidates for mayor, vice mayor, and metro council are now available on line. Candidates who had raised money prior to Jan. 16 were required to file a report. Also before a candidate was permitted to raise money they were required to appoint a treasurer. You can view the campaign finance reports for the period ending Jan. 15th at this link.

The next financial reports are due April 10th and will cover the period of January 16th 2015 through March 31, 2015.

If anyone examines the reports and finds any thing interesting, please post a comment and share it.

I commend the Election commission for making campaign financial reports available on line and I thank Councilman Tim Garrett for his effort in encouraging the Election Commission to make the reports available on line.

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Devaney: It’s Time to Embark on a New Journey

Chris Devaney
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The individual who has been part of the Tennessee Republican Party’s rise to dominance is stepping down.

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney today announced to the members of the State Executive Committee that he will be resigning his seat effective April 11th. That is the same date as the next meeting of the TNGOP SEC.

On a phone call with the SEC, Devaney announced he has accepted a position to lead CNP—the Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti, a faith-based nonprofit headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee where Devaney and his family call home.

“We have had quite a ride. I have been honored and humbled to be a part of this remarkable history, but it is time for my family and me to embark on a new journey. Saturday, April 11, will be my final day as chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party,” announced Devaney.

At the conclusion of his tenure, Chairman Devaney will be remembered as one of the longest-serving chairmen in TNGOP history and the one who guided the Party to new heights.

Since 2009, when Devaney began serving as chairman, the TNGOP has become synonymous with success in the Volunteer State:
  • In 2010, the Party gained a working majority in both chambers of the General Assembly. 
  • In 2010, the Party helped turn our Congressional delegation to a 7-2 Republican majority. 
  • And, in 2010, the Party elected a Republican governor. 
  • In 2012, both the State Senate and State House attained supermajority status.

And just this past year, in our Red to the Roots program, we elected county and judicial candidates across the state, in some districts that haven’t had Republican representation since Reconstruction. In all, nearly 750 Republican candidates were elected at the statewide, federal, legislative, judicial, and county levels in the 2014 election cycle—a record for the Tennessee Republican Party.

“As a Christian and an American, I believe it is our duty, if we are fortunate enough, to help those who can’t help themselves, regardless of borders,” Devaney remarked about his next step. “Earlier this year, I traveled to the country of Haiti on a mission trip. It is a country where I have been on other similar visits. Haiti is a country that is a short plane ride from Tennessee. Yet, it is the most impoverished nation in the western Hemisphere.”

He continued, “That trip had a major impact on me and I feel it is time to get personally involved to help the children and families of Haiti. The CNP has a mission that I firmly believe in. As such, I have agreed to become the organization’s Executive Director. While it is in Chattanooga, its work is based out of Haiti. CNP’s mission applies, in my view, conservative principles to achieve its goals. It is not providing handouts, but is working to educate mothers and improve the health and development of Haitian children, particularly those suffering from malnutrition. I am excited about this new challenge and ready for the next chapter of my life.”

For more information about CNP, please visit

In keeping with the procedure when Devaney was first elected in 2009 in a special election, he called a special meeting of the SEC to immediately follow the TNGOP’s regular session on April 11th. The special meeting of the SEC will be conducted by TNGOP Vice Chairman Betty Cannon.

Reacting to the news, Governor Bill Haslam stated, "During his time as Party Chair, Chris has helped lead Republicans to historic victories. He has been a driving force behind the history making streak the Party is on and Tennessee is a better state because of it.”

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander remarked, “The Tennessee Republican Party has become one of the country's most successful, and Chris Devaney deserves great credit for this. His leadership has encouraged diversity of opinion and welcomed new voters. As a result, our party is larger, more successful, and more conservative.”

"Chris has done an outstanding job of leading our party and building it so that it is strong for the future," said U.S. Senator Bob Corker. "Chris's tenure as chairman has been marked by tremendous success, and now, as he and Heather begin this new chapter of public service, I could not be more excited for them and their family."

Devaney concluded his announcement by saying, “The Republican Party of Tennessee has a long proud tradition. I am confident that tradition will continue.”

Chris Devaney has been elected Chairman four separate times: 2009 (to fulfill an unexpired term), 2010, 2012, and 2014.
Devaney, originally from Texas, graduated from the University of Oklahoma began his career in journalism working for NBC Radio News in Washington. His interest in politics led him to a job in the U.S. Senate Republican Conference. Eventually, he would work for three U.S. Senators: Phil Gramm of Texas, and Fred Thompson and Bob Corker of Tennessee. He and his wife Heather live in Chattanooga with their four children and are members of the Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church.

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Tennessee GOP Chairman Chris Devaney resigning

GOP Executive Director Brent Leatherwood confirmed Devaney is stepping down effective April 11. Leatherwood didn't immediately cite a reason for Devaney's departure, but said a statement is coming soon. (link)

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(Update #2) Bob Ries elected Chairman of the Davidson County GOP

Bob Ries
Update #2: I received this report from a friend who attended the convention:

Bob Ries won by five points over Tres Wittum. Robert Duvall did not make the runoff. 

These are the other officers who were elected: 
1st Vice Chair - Connie Hunter, 
2nd Vice Chair - John Wang 
Recording Secretary - Diana Cuellar 
Corresponding Secretary - Joshua Rawlings 
Treasurer - Michele Waddell
Associate Treasurer - Aaron Snodderly. 
Regional Vice Chairs - Sabrina Orr, Tony Roberts, John Goetz, Big John Smith, and Chuck Grimes. 

The convention was a real mess. I have never seen such an unorganized mess and we could contest the whole thing but I'm just glad it is over. 

 I will continue to update as more information becomes available. If any one else would like to shed light on what happened, I would welcome hearing from you.

In a contest between Robert Duvall who was seeking a second term as chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party and challengers Bob Ries and Tres Wittum, Bob Ries won.

Robert Duvall has served as chairman of the Davidson County Party for the past term of two years.  Duvall is a member of the Metro Council who is serving his second council term and has previously unsuccessfully sought election for a State House seat. He is termed-out from seeking reelection to the Metro Council as a district councilman and is running for an at-large Council seat.

Bob Ries was the Republican nominee running against Congressman Jim Cooper in the last election and he has been an unsuccessful candidate for a Metro council seat.

I do not know Mr. Wittum.  In the first round of balloting, incumbent Chair Robert Duvall was eliminated and in a second ballot between Wittum and Ries, Ries prevailed. 

I did not attend this year's convention due to my wife's illness and having out of town guest.  I was selected as a delegate however and got the below solicitation of support from Mr. Ries, but did not receive a solicitation of support from Mr. Duvall.
Delegates to the Republican Party Convention:
My name is Bob Ries. I am running for County Party Chairman and I am asking for your vote tomorrow morning. A lot of you may know me and may have supported my candidacy for US Congress.
For those of you whom I have just met - I have Degrees in Business & Economics. I have started 3 businesses, built them up and sold them. I have been Director of Sales for a Micrographics Company and a major hotel, a Vice President of Sales for an Insurance Company, a Business Consultant and a military veteran.
From 1968 to the time I moved to Tennessee in 1978, I was involved in political party organization as a Precinct Captain and Ward Chairman. I have not only seen how party politics is done, I have helped make it work. In a nutshell, I have a lifetime of experience in successful marketing and organizing political parties. That is what it is going to take to grow and organize this County Party so we can elect more Republicans. Success for Republicans in Davidson County will take 100% dedication to the task of turning the ship around and I have the time and energy to do it.
I am not running for any other office other than party chair. My only aspiration is to build the party for the next slew of candidates from the upcoming council races to the next candidate for US Congress. I believe I can make a difference; we can change the direction of Davidson County and we can be successful in the next two years with Republican Victories.
I am asking for your vote tomorrow and look forward to speaking with anyone who may have questions about the plan I will lay out for the future of the Republican Party in Davidson County.
Thank you for your consideration.
Bob Ries
Robert Duvall is a solid conservative and is generally well-liked. The only criticism I have heard of him as chairman of the Party is that he is too close to Mark Winslow and that Mark Winslow had too much influence over Duvall. You may recall, that Mark Winslow is the Republican member of the State Executive Committee who campaigned for a Democrat nominee for a Davidson County judgeship instead of working for the Party's nominee.  By virtue of his position on the State Executive Committee, Winslow has a seat on the Davidson County Executive Committee. There was one particularly contentious Executive Committee meeting where  Winslow's conflict of interest became an issue and Duvall sided with Winslow.  When Winslow was seeking his reelection to a seat on the State Executive Committee in a contested race, Robert Duvall endorsed him which some content was improper. The County chair is supposed to remain neutral in contested Republican primaries.

While the party grew rapidly under the previous two terms of Kathleen Starnes, my understanding is that party growth has declined in the last two years.  Someone who attended the caucus the previous Saturday said attendance was considerably less than the previous three caucuses.  That may not solely be attributable to the role of the Party chairman however but may simply be due to the political climate or other factors.

I do not know the vote totals for the candidates but will update this post when such information becomes available.

I extend by congratulations to Mr. Ries and thank Robert Duvall for his service to the Party.

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Ramsey: Dickerson Could Be Convincing on Taking Next Step on Medical Marijuana

Discussing a couple of medical cannabis proposals with reporters in his office, Lt Gov. Ron Ramsey says he's in favor of the bill to legalize low-THC cannabis oil for use in treating intractable seizures in Tennesseans.

Below is a an excerpt from Nashville Post on the medical Marijuana bill being co-sponsored by Senator Steve Dickerson:

Dickerson, an anesthesiologist, is the only Republican of three senators representing Davidson County.
“There are a number of illnesses which medical science has not gotten enough answers for yet, so as a physician, I’m always interested in exploring new options for my patients,” said Dickerson. “One might think if it was a life-threatening illness you might be a little bit more willing to be experimental. If it’s something that’s less of, then you’ll probably be a little bit more mundane in your treatment.” (link)
I am pleased to see this proposal advance and pleased to see Senator Dickson sponsoring it. Apparently, cannabis oil has proven effective treating seizures and its use for that purpose has been endorsed by the Epilepsy foundation.

Actually, I think marijuana is relatively harmless and we should legalize recreational use of marijuana but we should certainly allow the medical use of marijuana.  Legalizing cannabis oil is a very small step and is a much more modest step than allowing general medical marijuana for treatment of an array of  medical reasons, such as combating nausea in cancer patients, but it is a start.  I commend Senator Dickson for taking the lead on this issue.

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President Obama recently suggested that voting should be mandatory in the U.S. It's already mandatory in 26 countries, in bastions of democracy such as North Korea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Egypt . Some agree with Obama and think everyone should vote. I actually think that is a terrible idea. Mandatory voting is a basic denial of freedom of expression. Sometimes one may not vote because their is not much choice and none of the candidates represent your point of view.  One may not vote because you know you are going to vote Republican and your wife is going to vote Democrat so if you both abstain you have the same impact as if you had both voted. One may not vote because one simply does not care and pays no attention to politics or current events and feels unqualified to choose their leaders.

Not only do I think mandatory voting is a terrible idea, but I think pressuring people to vote by making them think it is their patriotic duty and making them feel guilty is a bad idea.  The Tennessean ran an essay recently and lamented Tennessee's low voter turnout.  "Civic engagement and voter participation are essential to preserving and protecting our democracy," the author said.  I don't agree.  I don't think simply having a greater number of voters helps preserve and protect our democracy. I would prefer a smaller number of informed voters rather than a larger number of uninformed voters.

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Membership Deadline is March 31st! Join MTRW today.

If you haven't joined the Middle Tennessee Republican Women for the new year, join now! Membership is open to women in the Middle Tennessee area including Davidson, Williamson, and surrounding counties through March 31st. Annual membership is only $25 for voting members and associate membership is $20.
Your yearly membership includes invitations to our luncheons where you will hear great speakers and learn what’s going on in the Tennessee legislation, and you will also receive discounts on special events. In 2015 we are planning a few evening events to socialize and hear informative speakers with wine and hors d'oeuvres.
Please join today! Just click on the link below to pay online, or send a check to:
Middle Tennessee Republican Women
P.O. Box 158365
Thank you,
Stachia Graham

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