Friday, February 20, 2015

Statesmen’s Dinner 2015 featuring Gov. Jeb Bush and Why I don't think I will attend.

Press release, NASHVILLE, Tenn.—2016 is here.

Jeb Bush
In the latest sign that the 2016 presidential race is heating up, the Tennessee Republican Party today announced that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will headline the Party’s annual Statesmen’s Dinner in Nashville — the largest annual gathering of Republicans in Tennessee. Gov. Bush, who announced recently he was actively exploring a run for the White House in 2016, joins an impressive list of leaders who have spoken at the dinner.

As an early primary state, Tennessee in an important place in Republican politics. This is the perfect forum to come and deliver an optimistic, dynamic case for conservatism. We need a bold reformer leading our nation. As Florida’s Governor and as a public servant, that’s exactly the reputation Gov. Bush has built. We look forward to welcoming Jeb Bush to Nashville,” said TNGOP Chairman Chris Devaney.

Devaney also announced that Congressman Diane Black (TN-06) will serve as the 2015 Statesmen’s Dinner Chair. Cong. Black will play an instrumental role in the dinner, which is the TNGOP’s largest yearly fundraising event.

Cong. Black is the perfect chair for this important occasion. She has quickly become known as a conservative solutions-seeker both in Washington and here at home. In fact, this event will showcase how Tennessee is leading our country with bold ideas, effective leadership, and a conservative philosophy,” he noted.

Congressman Black stated, “Each year, the Statesmen’s Dinner offers a chance to recognize our dedicated Republican activists here at home and listen to some of the brightest minds in the conservative movement from across the country. I am honored to lead the effort to once again make this Tennessee’s premier political event of the year.”

The 2015 Statesmen’s Dinner will take place on Saturday, May 30th in Nashville. Tickets may be purchased by going to or calling Taylor Ferrell at 615.269.4260.

About Governor Bush
Jeb Bush served as the 43rd Governor of the State of Florida from 1999-2007. During his tenure, he remained true to his conservative principles—cutting nearly $20 billion in taxes, vetoing more than $2.3 billion in earmarks, and reducing the state government workforce by more than 13,000. His limited government approach helped unleash one of the most robust and dynamic economies in the nation, creating 1.4 million net new jobs and improving the state’s credit ratings.

  • Last year, the TNGOP Statesmen’s Dinner featured New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and helped the Party raise record breaking contribution numbers.
  • Coverage of the 2014 Statesmen’s Dinner can be found here and here.
  • Past Statesmen’s speakers include: Former Vice President Dick Cheney, 2012 GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney, President George W. Bush, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and US. Senator Tim Scott.
  • The 2015 Statesmen’s Dinner announcement is the first of several upcoming events that will feature prominent potential Republican presidential candidates who are coming to Tennessee at the invitation of the Tennessee Republican Party.
My Comment:
I am not exactly boycotting the Tennessee Republican Party, I am just having a hard time getting excited about contributing to the Party or attending the Statesman's Dinner. I could afford to go to the Statesman's Dinner but I'm just not very motivated. Year before last I attended and the guest speaker was Senator Tim Scott and I enjoyed it immensely.

There are two reasons I guess why I am having a hard time getting motivated to attend the Statesmen's Dinner. One, the speaker does not excite me.  I could not get excited about Chris Christie last year and can not get excited about Jeb Bush this year.

The other reason that I can not get motivated to financially help the party or attend the Statesman's Dinner is because they allow a person who has campaigned to elect Democrats and defeat Republicans to keep a seat on the Executive Committee of the Tennessee Republican Party. I am speaking of Mark Winslow.

Mark Winslow
Winslow managed the campaign of Democrat Melissa Blackburn who successfully ran for Davidson County Judge. Her Republican opponent was Marian Fodyce. Winslow worked for Blackburn as her paid campaign manager.  Since then, he has gone to work for Judge Blackburn.  Working to get Blackburn elected is not the only time Winslow has worked to help Democrats get elected.

In April of 2014, Mark Winslow’s candidacy to again run for a position on the State Executive Committee was challenged because of his managing the campaign for a Democrat. Party Chairman Chris Devaney could have prevented Winslow from running for a seat on the SEC, however he chose to allow Winslow to keep his name on the ballot. (link)

Overall, I think Chris Devaney has been a good Party chairman, but he really disappointed me when he allowed Winslow to stay on the SEC.  Obviously, one cannot serve the best interest of the Republican Party and a Democrat nominee for office at the same time. Any fool should be able to see that, that is a conflict of interest.  When the Davidson County Republican Party was considering giving financial help to Republican candidates, Winslow who serves on the County Executive Committee by virtue of his elected position on the State Executive Committee opposed giving the candidates money. Just think about that: He is working to elect the Democrat and gets a vote on whether or not the Republican will get campaign money. (link)

This year I decided not to renew my membership in the Tennessee Republican Party and after the Party wasted the cost of several mailings to me asking for my annual contribution, I got a phone call asking me to renew by membership.  I explained to the nice lady who called me that I was not in a mood to contribute and explained the reason why and told her of Mark Winslow's duplicitous roll. (For more on Mark Winslow, follow this link.)

Like I said above, I am not boycotting the Tennessee Republican Party, I am just explaining why I have not been in the mood to contribute ever since Winslow was reelected to the SEC. If, however, the speaker at the Statesman's Dinner was going to be Scott Walker or Bobby Jindal or Marco Rubio or one of several other people, I might have overcome by revulsion at Winslow serving on the SEC and chose to attend the event anyway.

One bad apple may not spoil the whole barrel and there are many good people serving the interest of the Party and serving on the State Executive Committee. These good people on the SEC should do the right thing however, and move to remove Winslow from his seat on the SEC. I want to see the Party succeed and I not trying to persuade anyone else to join me in not attending the Statement's Dinner or join me in not contributing to the State party. And, I am not going to sit on the sidelines forever just because of one turncoat in the ranks, but for now I am going to take the $500 I would have spend on the Statesman's Dinner and split it between good conservatives like Lonnie Spivak, Stephen Clements, and Ken Jakes who are running for Metro Council.

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