I enjoyed the Statesman's Dinner last night, the annual Tennessee GOP fundraiser and celebration. At $250 it was the upper limit of my price range for political events, and while there was no free booze or free parking, it was for the cause and there were lots of political celebrities and good speeches and fellowship with fellow Republicans. I did not scramble to take pictures or take notes. I wanted to enjoy the event rather than be in blog reporter mode. Over 1400 people attended the event and it raised almost half a million dollars for the Party. It was held in the new Music City Center. This was my first time in the Center and it is an impressive building. I set at the table with Bill and Beth Campbell and we had table on the front row of tables, just a few tables left of the stage. That was great. I much prefer watching the stage than the big screens from the back of the room.
Prior to the start of the dinner their was mingling in a separate room and a cash bar. A Bluegrass band played and I don't know who they were but at events like this the music is background music, not the focus of attention. They were good. I think they were headed by some Tennessee local elected official but I did not get there name and there was no printed program. .I got to speak to and shake hands with Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander and Governor Haslam. I told Senator Corker I appreciated what he was trying to do to abolish Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and told Senator Alexander, I appreciated the work he was doing on trying to fix the student loan debt problem.
The keynote speech was by U. S. Senator Tim Scott, a Black senator from South Carolina. He gave a good rousing speech. There were several other speeches. They were short, but a lot of them: Tennessee Party Chairman Chris Devaney, Senator Alexander, Senator Corker, Governor Haslam, and six of Tennessee's seven elected State Representatives. Among the Representatives, I was most impressed by Phil Roe of the First District and Knoxville's John Duncan. They went it district numerical order so Marsha Blackburn was last. After so many speeches, it was tough being last.
One person was recognized from each congressional district as the "statesman" and they were profiled in a video which gave a little biographical sketch of each and told of their political activism. Robert Duvall was the Fifth District's Statesman.
Below is the Tennesseans report of the event and video:
GOP must reconnect with public, senator tells TN Statesmen's Dinner audienceThis is a four minute sample of Tim Scott's speech. Unfortunately, you have to watch a few seconds of commercial to see the video.
by Chas Sisk The Tennessean, July 12, 2013 - Freshman U.S. Sen. Tim Scott called on Tennessee Republicans to help their party capture both chambers of Congress next year in a revival-style stump speech Friday night in Nashville.
Scott, the South Carolina lawmaker who earlier this year became the first African-American senator from the South since Reconstruction, said in the keynote address to the Tennessee Republican Party’s annual Statesmen’s Dinner that the GOP can win back the Senate next year and the White House in 2016. (read more)