The Bedford County Republican Party hosted their Reagan Day Dinner Thursday evening, featuring keynote speaker Cameron Sexton of the Tennessee House of Representatives as well as local Bedford County …
The Bedford County Republican Party hosted their Reagan Day Dinner Thursday evening, featuring keynote speaker Cameron Sexton of the Tennessee House of Representatives as well as local Bedford County Republican candidates.
Sexton’s speech highlighted Tennessee transition from a primarily Democratic state to a Republican one over a decade ago and the impact of Republican legislation on strengthening the state’s economy.
“Tennessee is actually doing what they were trying to do in Washington when President Trump was president,” Sexton said. “We have more jobs than we ever had; we have higher incomes than we ever had; there’s more opportunities. Just look at what everybody’s mentioned of what’s happening in Bedford County in the last decade.”
Even with the state growing, Sexton said we are still one of the lowest tax states with the least amount of debt. Sexton said Tennessee was the only state that cut taxes during the COIVD-19 pandemic.
“It’s like what Ronald Reagan said: reduce taxes, live within your means, cut regulation, allow businesses to grow, and what happens? You will blossom…and we’ve done that in 12 years,” Sexton said.
“In 12 years, we have not only transformed our economy but our state budget,” he said.
Sexton also highlighted how the new Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Shelbyville was only one of two capital projects funded in 2020. “Because of the leadership you have and the quality of people you elected to represent you in Nashville,” said Sexton, referring to the work by State Representative Pat Marsh and State Senator Shane Reeves.
“My job is easy when you elect good people,” Sexton said.
Speaker Sexton also discussed the importance of public safety and his ideas for prison reform, which include distinguishing between violent and non-violent offenders in order to help with overcrowding in the prisons.
“Public safety is a number one issue to protect you,” he said.
“These soft on crime groups…say if you’re tough on criminals, you don’t have compassion. Really? How many of y’all punish your kids?” Sexton asked. He added that there is data that shows criminals who are in prison for more than 10 years are 45 percent less likely to re-offend.
The prison population, according to Sexton, is 60 percent violent and 40 percent non-violent. “Let’s do a better job of helping the non-violent offenders not be in prison.”
Sexton says they should promote more incentives to reward the good behavior of prisoners as well as support a strong K-12 education to stop the trend of high school drop-outs reverting to criminal lifestyles.
“Someone who graduates high school, they’re less likely to be in poverty and they’re less likely to be in the prison system,” Sexton said.
Lastly, Sexton said the state has also focused on creating free and fair elections. This is why they passed the first election integrity bill which required photo ID to be shown while voting at the ballot.
“Do y’all have a bank account? Do you have to show a photo ID? When you get on an airplane, you have to show a photo ID, right? But somehow, showing a photo ID to vote is oppression,” Sexton said.
“And so, when Republicans took control of our state, we were making sure that we grow and making sure that we were limited and that we were protecting you, and making sure we protect the election,” Sexton said.
“In the last three years…the House and the Senate got along…It’s very powerful because when we know how to communicate, your legislature is the most powerful thing in you state…When we do you will see us transform this state like you’ve never seen before for the better, not the worse.”
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