Press Releases

Maggart Bags Laffer Endorsement

Press release from Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville; July 26, 2012: 

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn.–With election day fast approaching in Sumner County, Representative Debra Maggart (R–Hendersonville), the conservative candidate for Tennessee House of Represenatives, was pleased to receive the endorsement of a leading figure in the conservative movement.

Dr. Art Laffer, the father of supply-side economics and founder and chairman of Laffer Associates, threw his support behind Maggart in her race for the 45th House District.

“I support proven fighters for pro-growth economic policies in Tennessee. While Washington continually eschews its fiscal responsibilities for our nation, Tennessee has become a model for how government should conduct itself, stated Laffer. “In the last two years, we have witnessed the elimination of the death tax, the repeal of the gift tax, and a commitment to forever ban a state income tax. Coupled with Tennessee’s right to work status, these moves are helping make Tennessee one of the nation’s premier locations for new jobs and have driven the unemployment rate below the national average.”

He continued, “Tennesseans owe a debt of gratitude to Debra Maggart for these victories. Under her leadership as House Republican Caucus Chairman, the General Assembly has advanced the cause of economic freedom to lengths unseen in the modern era. Representative Maggart is a proven fighter for principle–our principles. That is why I give her my full endorsement in the 45th House District. With so much uncertainty coming from Washington, now is the time to re-elect those leaders who have helped reform Tennessee for the better. Debra Maggart is certainly one of those leaders.”

Maggart said, “It is an honor to have the support of such a luminary in economics for my campaign. In my time as a legislator, we have cut taxes, kept our budget balanced, and have seen our economy improve. This is the recipe for success that is at the heart of Dr. Laffer’s beliefs. Sumner County voters have

Dr. Laffer currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee where he is the founder and chairman of Laffer Associates, an institutional economic research and consulting firm, as well as Laffer Investments, an institutional investment management firm utilizing diverse investment strategies. The firms provide research and investment management services to a diverse group of clients, which includes institutions, pension funds, corporations, endowments, foundations, individuals and others.

Press Releases

Maggart: Rogers Lying, Using Smear Tactics

Press release from Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville; July 26, 2012: 

Courtney Rogers is going around Sumner County saying Representative Debra Maggart has the same record on gun rights as President Obama.

Why is Courtney Rogers lying to you?

Let’s examine the facts:

  • Debra Maggart has consistently been given an A+ rating by the NRA—the highest rating possible on gun rights.
  • Debra Maggart voted to expand our 2nd Amendment rights in Tennessee State Parks (See for yourself here: House Bill 961).
  • Debra Maggart voted to ensure Tennesseans can protect themselves in restaurants and establishments (See for yourself here: HB 962)
  • Debra Maggart voted to ensure no government entity could ever take away a Tennessean’s firearm during an emergency (See for yourself here: HB 1778)
  • Debra Maggart voted for the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act, a law that protects Tennessee guns made here and kept here from overzealous federal regulation (See for yourself here: HB 1796)
  • Debra Maggart voted to allow Tennesseans to safely transport their firearms in their vehicles, regardless of whether they have a hand carry permit or not (See for yourself at: HB 2567)
  • Debra Maggart voted to make sure there is never a thumbprint requirement for a government database on firearm purchases (See for yourself at: HB 254).
  • Debra Maggart has been endorsed by the Tennessee Hunters Alliance, a common sense, Tennessee 2nd Amendment rights group.

With all these facts in her favor, why is Courtney Rogers lying to you? Why would she run such a dishonest campaign against Debra Maggart, a fighter for our conservative rights? Conservative leader and Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey said, “Conservatives have no better friend in the Legislature than Chairman Maggart.” (The Tennessean, March 25, 2012).

Debra Maggart has fought for jobs, cut taxes, balanced the budget, and expanded our gun rights. Why would Courtney Rogers run such a false, negative campaign against one of Hendersonville’s own?

Call her campaign and demand she stops using smear tactics against Debra Maggart at 615-851-4791.

Press Releases

TFA: Maggart a Business-Interest Favorite

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; July 26, 2012: 

Debra Maggart is lacking endorsements of those who perhaps know her best — except for those who know that she is “for sale” to the highest bidders

With about a week to go before the August 2 primary, incumbent Debra Maggart appears to be losing it. She has resorted to clear and intentional lies about her opponent (See the Steve Gill show bonus hour from July 25). She has reportedly also started to request that other Republican caucus members give her their money so that she can spend more in her effort to mislead the public into voting for her.

Let’s take a quick look at who the money sources are behind the effort to re-elect Debra Maggart. Its primarily business interests – interests that, unlike the TFA and the NRA, are not comprised of citizens nor represent the interests of voters.

Indeed, as of July 25, Maggart lists a very small number of endorsements on her web site:

Maggart’s May fund raiser proudly proclaimed these $2500 sponsors:

  • Adams & Reese LLP
  • AT&T
  • Bivens & Associates
  • FedEx
  • Farrar & Bates LLP
  • Lyell Law Firm
  • Farris Mathews Branan Bobango, PLC
  • Johnson Poss Government Relations
  • Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP
  • McMahan Winstead
  • RobinsonGreen LLC
  • Students First
  • TN Bankers Association
  • TN Business Roundtable
  • TN Medical Association
  • TN Chamber of Commerce
  • Comcast
  • TN Health Care Association
  • TN Hospital Association
  • TN Retail Association
  • Smith Harris & Carr

But let’s look at those who would potentially know her best, other government officials. Maggart lists endorsements, not surprisingly of only 5. Two of those are her peers in the House Republican caucus and the other 3 also had their hands all over the efforts to deny Tennesseans the capacity to commute safely to and from work.

  • Gov. Bill Haslam
  • Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey
  • House Speaker Beth Harwell
  • Republican Majority Leader Gerald Mccormick
  • Senate Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron

It is an amazingly short and suspicious list. Each of those endorsements by these 5 individuals carry with them the inference that they also are seeking cover for the fact that they collectively conspired to not just kill the Safe Commute legislation but that they also denied substantially all Tennesseans the right to have their voices heard on this legislation by having full floor debates on this legislation in both houses.

That fact cannot be disregarded – the fact that these “rulers” by abuse of their “positional powers” have denied most in this state of the right to have their own elected officials, in the House and the Senate, involved in a public debate and vote on whether their rights of self-defense would be protected or impaired by the legislature. The citizen’s right of a representative government is one of the foundations on which this Country went to war with England but yet these six individuals (and probably others) are perfectly comfortable in denying each of us that foundational civil right.

Now, contrast Maggart’s questionable endorsement from her co-conspirators with what is happening in other “hot” races. Take the race between incumbent Linda Elam and former legislator Susan Lynn. Incumbent Elam claims that she has “the support of 58 Republican House members, including the Speaker and Majority Leader and all of the Republican Caucus officers!”

Interesting, Linda Elam advertises that 58 of the Republican House members (there are only 64) are supporting her. Assuming that she is telling the truth, it really raises serious questions about how many of Maggart’s Republican caucus peers are supporting her because she only names 2.

Of course, knowing Maggart, as soon as this alert circulates, she will either lie or twist the arms of at least 59 caucus members to get their “support” or “endorsement”. We have to expect it because if she will intentionally lie about how a simple state form was completed by her opposition, we have to assume she has or will lie about anything else.

Press Releases

TFA: Maggart ‘Like King George’ — Denies TN Citizens Representative Gov’t

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; July 23, 2012: 

In her newest (delusional) video, incumbent Debra Maggart claims that her vote to kill the Safe Commute act (HB3560 and HB3559) was note a vote against a 2nd Amendment issue. She takes a shot or two at the NRA as well.

Debra is either intentionally misrepresenting the EFFECT of sending a bill to “summer study” at the end of a 2 year legislative cycle or she is simply lying in hopes that the voters are too stupid to know the truth. Those with experience around the legislature know that “summer study” is a misleading way of killing many bills that the leadership does not want to see debated on the floor. It is a means of defeating a bill without a paper trail that clearly says so. Its not a “no” vote – it is a vote that simply tells the sponsor – “When pigs fly ….” or “When Hell freezes over….” or perhaps in this case “When Debra tells the truth ….” because all three are about the same effect.

If it was in fact set to be heard in “summer study”in 2012 – when was that meeting held or when is it scheduled to be held? At this time, there is no evidence to indicate that the “summer study” vote resulted in any actual summer study or findings. It was not supposed to because legislators and lobbyists know that such things seldom occur.

The fact is that Debra Maggart is lying. She told TFA in 2011 that these bills would not be heard for a floor vote because of her concerns that passing 2nd Amendment legislation would be bad for Republicans in an election year. That means, she places partisan power above the constitution and the lives of hard working Tennesseans.

The fact is that Debra Maggart is lying because she was also concerned that allowing a floor vote would mean that the bill would have passed on the floor and that would have caused her problems with the Big Business interests, like Federal Express, who have donated huge sums of money to the Republican leaders to “purchase” their influence.

The fact is that if Debra Maggart thought there was any 2nd Amendment context – much less self-defense rights – to this legislation, she could have brought it to the floor for a vote. She could have offered amendments. It could have been debated on the floor. The fact is that none of this was done and the effect of that was that most Tennesseans were denied the right to have their voices heard on this legislation by denying their elected representatives and senators the opportunity to vote on this legislation (which had 30 House sponsors) on the floor. The fact is that Debra Maggart – like King George – has denied many citizens in Tennessee the constitutional right to a representative form of government and she has done so for partisan power and campaign money.

Pay close attention when around the 30 second spot, Debra Maggart claims she support the intent of the bill but then at approximately the 50 second spot she claims that the bill is bad because it is a mandate on property owners. What Debra Maggart simplistic mind misses is that this bill is not an either/or on rights of citizens but a balancing of self-defense rights (which have a priority) and property rights (of the car’s owner and the land owner).

The fact is that Debra Maggart has trouble not only with the truth but trouble apparently even with reading comprehension. In a news report in May, Maggart made the following blatantly false statement concerning the effect of the Safe Commute law. This is the link to the news report from May 31, 2012.

“Property rights and gun rights are very important to the Republican party,” she said. “What happened is that some of the gun advocacy groups felt very strongly that we needed to pass a bill that was a very broad bill. The way that gun reads, you could carry a gun right now to the nursery of this hospital and there’s nothing (officials) can do about it to stop you…The last line of the bill says every citizen can carry a gun wherever they want in this state. I don’t know if you want felons to do that, probably not.

Maggart’s claims then that the Safe Commute law would allow carrying guns “to the nursery of [a] hospital” or that it would allow citizens to carry guns “wherever they want in this state” or that it would allow felons to carry guns are all false. The bill was short and simply written. If Maggart was lying about what the bill meant, then she is a bold liar. If Maggart really thought that this is what the bill meant then Tennessean’s cannot afford to have someone so functionally illiterate writing or voting on legislation.

If Debra Maggart cannot be honest with citizens about what the effect of a “summer study” vote means or what the effect of a bill is, she cannot be trusted with being returned to the legislature. We have enough liars in government, we need to be removing them – not rewarding them.

Business and Economy Featured Liberty and Justice News NewsTracker Transparency and Elections

Maggart Releases Video; Critics Respond

Rep. Debra Maggart wants to set the record straight that she has a “100 percent” voting record on Second-Amendment rights legislation despite criticism that she worked behind the scenes to kill key guns bills.

Maggart, a high-ranking Republican leader who is in the middle of a heated election in Sumner County, took her message to the web in a video Monday saying the gun lobby has been trying to “bully” her and other lawmakers into passing bills that violate the property rights of business owners.

However, Maggart’s opponent in the GOP primary race, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers, as well as the Tennessee Second Amendment organization that’s been so critical of Maggart, quickly shot back.

The only reason the incumbent lawmaker can claim she’s never voted against gun-rights legislation, they said, is that she and other House and Senate Republican leaders maneuvered to thwart floor debate on the so-called “Safe Commute” guns-in-parking-lots bill. They did that so they could avoid publicly taking a stand on the question of where an employer’s rights end and a worker’s begin, Maggart’s critics contend.

“Everybody who spends anytime in the Legislature knows that nothing happens that leadership doesn’t sanction, so that bill didn’t get out of committee,” said Jeff Hartline, campaign manager to Rogers who is challenging the House Republican Caucus leader  in the Aug. 2 primary election.

Blame for the legislation’s demise — and for Tennessee voters not getting an opportunity to see where their elected representatives stand on the matter — “has to be laid at (Maggart’s) feet,” Hartline said.

In the ad from the Maggart campaign, the Hendersonville Republican defends her role in working against the gun rights bills. Second Amendment advocates poured at least $75,000 through the end of June into the campaign to unseat her from her Sumner County district. “This attack against me is based on false information in an effort to bully your elected officials and trample your other constitutional rights,” Maggart said during the nearly two-minute video.

Maggart described the House GOP’s political decision to terminate the possibility of floor discussion on the guns-in-lots legislation as an act of “thoughtful governing.”

“It is my aim to protect all of your rights, not just the one that the Second Amendment rights group is promoting,” said Maggart.

In the video, Maggart noted that lawmakers agreed to study the legislation over the summer. However, there’s been no effort on Capitol Hill to schedule any sort of committee to further examine the bill, according to House Speaker Beth Harwell’s office.

Maggart is plainly “misrepresenting to the public what ‘summer study’ means,” said John Harris, executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association.

“Telling people ‘we’re studying this’ is just lying to them,” said Harris, a prominent critic of the legislative GOP leadership’s handling of the issue. “She killed it and has no intention on bringing it back up.”

Hartline concurred: “If that bill had come to the House floor, it would have passed overwhelmingly. Everybody knows it. So the game was, it can’t make it to the floor.”

For their part, the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus actually took credit for driving the final nail in the guns-in-lots legislation’s coffin for the year. During a press conference just after the Legislature adjourned, minority-party caucus chairman Mike Turner said Democratic leaders “interceded” with the House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, and asked that he not try to bring the matter to the House floor, which was a possibility he’d left open right up until the very end of the session.

Press Releases

TFA: Maggart Motivated By Money, Power

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; July 23, 2012: 

Maggart – does she have the capacity for truth?

Debra Maggart’s campaign is running an advertisement in which she questions the truthfulness and ethics of Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers.

Its a futile but intentional misrepresentation by Maggart. The facts are pretty simple. Candidates for office must fill out a disclosure form (the state SS-8004). One question on the form asks:

Bankruptcy – List any adjudication of bankruptcy or discharge received in any United States district court within five (5) years of the date of this report.

Lt. Col. Rogers answered none. That was truthful and accurate. Although she and her husband were discharged from a bankruptcy 6 years prior to the completion of that form, the state did not consider bankruptcies older than 5 years to be relevant. It is also true that once the Rogers were discharged, the bankruptcy trustee and creditors continued to collect their assets (the bankruptcy estate) and distribute it until 2008 when the bankruptcy was “closed” but that did not involve the Rogers and it is not part of the question. The question clearly requires the disclosure of any “discharge” which is a specific legal status under federal law.

Maggart has tried to make a big issue out of this. Perhaps that is because running on the truth of her record or the real sources of her financial support would spell certain defeat.

In response, the Rogers campaign has asked all elected members of the General Assembly to “sanction their own”. It is interesting that apparently they have refused to do so at this point. Consider the facts in the communication from Jeff Hartline, who works on her campaign and who has been friends with many of these Republican legislators, to the other legislators calling on them to step in and put a stop to the intentional misrepresentations of Maggart:

Members of the General Assembly:

Below is the text of a radio ad that has been aired in Nashville this week by the House Caucus Chairman, Debra Maggart against her opponent, Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers (Ret.), a Republican. It is important that you read this ad so that you can see for yourself the blatant misrepresentation of the truth that your Caucus Chair exhibits in this ad. Maggart’s challenger is a 28 year Air Force/Air National Guard veteran distinguished during the Cold War and in combat in multiple theatres of operation. Many of you heard Ms. Maggart during the last session brag that she would “destroy” Courtney Rogers with her bankruptcy. I know this because several of you have told me. When I heard this, I thought it was bluster. I was wrong.

Here is the ad:

“What kind of judgment? What kind of priorities? Serious questions Tennesseans are asking about Courtney Rogers. Courtney Rogers (1)failed to disclose that she filed for bankruptcy with the State Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, even though it was required by law. Worse, Rogers tried to use a (2)loophole in the Law in an effort to try and (3)hide her past. Explains why Courtney Rogers is running a false and negative campaign, (4)attacking the true conservative, Republican, Debra Maggart. Failing to disclose that she filed for bankruptcy in her ethics disclosure forms, Using a loophole in the law in an effort to try and hide her past. (5)Running a false and negative campaign to cover it up. If we can’t trust Rogers to tell the truth now, we definitely can’t trust Courtney Rogers in the Legislature. Courtney Rogers, (6)just another politician Tennessee families can’t trust.”

Here are the misrepresentations:

(1) Courtney Rogers did NOT fail to disclose a bankruptcy. She was not required to disclose that she had ever filed for bankruptcy. The ethics form asked whether she has been “discharged” from a bankruptcy within the past five years. Her husband’s business failed in the year after September 11, 2001. (He had purchased an oil distributorship). After sinking $55,000 of their savings into the business to save it, they filed for bankruptcy in March 2005 and the bankruptcy was “discharged” in June 2005. The Bankruptcy Trustee “terminated” the bankruptcy in 2008. The Rogers had no say-so in when the creditors were paid nor were they ever notified as to this “termination.” Prior to completing the ethics disclosure form, their attorney told them that the question on the form was specific to their part of the proceedings. Independent attorneys also verify that Courtney answered the question correctly. Maggart shopped this story to the Tennessean and the TV networks. They concluded there was no “there” there and dropped it. She was finally successful in getting TNReport to run the story. Even they concluded there was no violation. But Maggart achieved her objective, getting a “reputable” media outlet to disclose the information so she could then come in behind it and run her malicious, false ads. Maggart knows the truth but has decided to proceed with her lies.

(2) There is NO loophole in the law. The language of “Discharge” is very specific as has been verified by numerous bankruptcy attorneys. If Maggart thinks this is a loophole, then she should file an ethics complaint. Another untruth.

(3) Courtney has not tried to hide “her past”. Have any of you asked Maggart if she is trying to hide “her past” of being fined $5,000 by TREF in 2003 for elections “ethics” violations? Fortunately for Maggart, she was able to get Mr. Gregory to write the check to get her off the hook. Courtney has had numerous conversations with voters when her bankruptcy has been discussed.

(4) Courtney has not “attacked” Debra Maggart. Quite the contrary. Courtney has spent the entirety of her campaign talking about who she is, what she believes, and the things important to her. Maggart has so much here to “attack”, but Courtney has kept the discussion to Maggart’s record and lack of leadership. Both the NRA and TFA are conducting independent expenditure campaigns against Maggart because they feel she has abandoned the concerns of their four million plus members. This is no different from the $100,000+ Maggart has extracted from Big Business and Lobbyists, not to even mention many of the same entities giving her employer, COMPASS, tens of thousands of dollars, from which she benefits personally. Courtney has no say-so in any of these campaigns. Courtney got into this campaign well before the NRA or TFA got interested in it. She has called Maggart’s unethical acceptance of per diem money into question and will continue to do so. Perhaps Maggart should be asking why all candidates running in Sumner County have said they would not accept it? Another untruth.

(5) Courtney is not running a “false and negative” campaign. I call upon Maggart to point out what part of her campaign is false or negative.

(6) Courtney Rogers is not “another politician”. This is just laughable.

Decide for yourself, Is this what passes for leadership in Tennessee. Looks more like desperation to me and you should be disgusted by it. I am curious how many of you will go “on the record” asking Maggart to cease and desist from this malicious, false, libelous, slander campaign against Courtney Rogers. Our Lt. Gov. is right when he says “It matters who governs.” Who will speak out against this?

Sadly, we see no evidence that any Republican incumbent has spoken out on the intentional misconduct of Maggart making public misrepresentations of fact regarding these issues. One must start to question if other Republican incumbents are interested in preserving the truth and integrity of the General Assembly or are they simply covering for Maggart?

Furthermore, incumbent Maggart wants to make a big deal about ethics, the truth and accountability. Have any of you heard any ad or news report wherein she addresses the fact that the Conservative Forum of Tennessee, a PAC which Maggart ran, was fined $5000 in 2003 for reporting violations? Have you seen any stories on Maggart’s personal business, a carpet store, which she closed and left creditors who later took a judgment against the store?

It is time, past time, to make an example of Debra Maggart. She has lost her way. She has revealed her true convictions – money and power. She has proven she is unfit for public service. Let’s end her career in office, let’s end her tenure in power, and let us work together to send a steward to Nashville – Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers.

Press Releases

TFA Encourages Supporters of Gun Rights to Campaign for Lt. Col. Rogers

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; July 23, 2012: 

Debra Maggart is the number one race in Tennessee this year for those of us who see a necessity in reclaiming state government from those who pretend to be constitutionally based conservatives. Incumbent Maggart has lined up Gov. Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and “Lear Jet” loads of Big Business operatives to support her claim that she is “entitled” to be re-elected.

Voters need to stand up to these interests and say, “No, Debra, you are not entitled.”

As a member or supporter of TFA, you are being given an opportunity to give one morning, or for some one more morning, of your time to engage and make a difference to help Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers who is running in the 45th District for State Representative against Debra Maggart.

Even though many of us can’t vote in the 45th District, we as individuals and as a grassroots group can help in this race to elect Lt. Col. Rogers to change Tennessee’s Capital Hill. Grassroots organizations across Tennessee, including TFA, Tea Party groups, the Tennessee Republican Assembly and the NRA with its 100,000+ members in the state are joining forces to focus specifically on electing Lt. Col. Rogers and defeating Debra Maggart. Defeating not just Debra Maggart but also making a public and specific example of her and what she stands for in terms of a condescending, “for sale” legislator.

We must demand constitutional leadership from all elected officials including those in state and local leadership. What we are seeing is too many legislators place too much value on the money that they think gets them re-elected and too little value on their oaths to uphold and strengthen the constitutions, or the rights vested and protected, therein.

TFA has or will invest over $15,000 in the race to elect Lt. Col. Rogers and defeat Maggart. Many TFA members have already driven from as far as Memphis to come work “on the ground” to knock doors and speak with local voters.

Saturday July 28 is the last Saturday before the primary. This is a call to action for all TFA members and supporters to come and spend a day, even a few hours if that is all you have, to help this citizen patriot veteran candidate prevail in this battle that has at its very core the fact that too many in the General Assembly, including Debra Maggart herself, are for sale to the highest bidder and have all but abandoned the constitutional oath that they took when first elected.

Gather a car load and car pool, bus, RV, pick-up truck, motorcycle caravan or even by horseback, just get to Goodlettsville on Saturday July 28th for a pre-election sign waving day. Wear your TFA shirts and hats. If you do not have them, we should have some available that morning. Bring water and other items for a few hours as a volunteer.

There will be a group, probably being directed by Mike Rogers, in the parking lot at “Big K” at 230 Long Hollow Pike, Goodlettsville, Tennessee that will be organizing the volunteers that morning. Arrive as early as possible but any time between 9:00am and 1:00pm to get location assignments, signs and push cards. You will be assigned to an intersection or other location from that point.

Please RSVP to johnharris AT so that we can advise the campaign how many 2nd Amendment supporters to expect.

Press Releases

Maggart: 2nd Amendment, Property Rights Equally Important

Statement from State Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville; July 23, 2012: 

See WWW.DEFENDMAGGART.COM for an important message from Debra.


Over the past few months, a national second amendment rights group, an organization of which I am a lifetime member, has begun a negative campaign against me in the name of the Second Amendment and my opponent.

This attack against me is based on false information in an effort to bully your elected officials and trample your other Constitutional rights.

During this past General Assembly, a bill came before us related to individuals being able to store their gun in their car. I have a 100% voting record on the Second Amendment and support this idea. There were several problems with this bill and we reached out to this group to try to work the kinks out.

My main concern was that this bill as introduced would have mandated what individuals, not just businesses, must do or allow with their property. I hear complaints every day about Federal Government mandates, yet one was almost forced on you by the state if this group would have gotten their way.

Since this group was not willing to work with us, we suggested that we study the legislation over the summer to see how we could make this a better bill for all Tennesseans. Most Members of the General Assembly would like a bill that respects property rights as well as second amendment rights, as both of these are equally important. Let me be clear. I did not vote against this bill, contrary to what you have been told. You can see for yourself by going to and looking at the vote for this piece of legislation.

As a member of House Leadership, blame has been placed at my feet for an attempt at thoughtful governing. We are sent to Nashville to represent you. It is my aim to protect all of your rights, not just the one that this second amendment rights group is promoting.

I hope you will contact me if you have specific questions about this matter that I can resolve. Now that you know the truth, I would appreciate your vote.


Press Releases

Education Reform Group Endorses Maggart

Press release from the Campaign for Rep. Debra Maggart; July 16, 2012: 

Nashville, Tennessee – StudentsFirst, a bipartisan grassroots advocacy organization supporting common sense education reforms, today endorsed Representative Debra Maggart in her bid for reelection as Representative of Tennessee House District 45.

Representative Maggart is a strong supporter of meaningful education reform, and will continue to fight tirelessly to ensure that Tennessee students have access to the quality education they deserve – no matter their zip code.

“We need bold leaders like Debra Maggart in the Tennessee General Assembly to stand up to the status quo, and support common sense education reform that will improve the quality of education for all kids,” said StudentsFirst state director Mike Carpenter.

Tennessee has recently made positive strides in improving education across the state. Representative Maggart is looking forward to building off of this progress, and continuing to push for education reforms that focus on doing what’s best for students.

Press Releases

TFA: NRA Invests ‘Unheard of’ Amount in Support of Rogers Campaign

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; July 13, 2012: 

It is no secret that the hottest primary race in Tennessee is the campaign to elect Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers in the August 2 primary in Sumner County (District 45) and the intended defeat of incumbent Debra Maggart.

The NRA has already invested as of June 30 $75,000 in support of Rogers and the defeat of Maggart in a state House primary which by all accounts is unheard of.

In addition to the NRA’s investment in the race, TFA has invested $10,600 as of June 30, and other statewide and local grassroots organizations including Tea Party groups, the Tennessee Republican Assembly (TRA), are waging similar battles to support Courtney Rogers as a true grassroots steward and to defeat a self-perceived “ruler” such as Debra Maggart.

The issues driving the work to defeat Maggart are much broader than just the 2nd Amendment. They include her condescending attitude in general towards grassroots and constitutional interests, her work to disregard the constitutional sheriffs’ bill, her position on the Health Care Compact, her acceptance of “ghost voting” which is a violation of written House Rules and even the outrageous fact that she gladly takes and retains per diem payments that are intended as reimbursements to legislators who must actually travel to be in Nashville to cover their hotel accommodations. TRA’s mailer does not even reference the 2nd Amendment:

In response to the outrage being expressed by so many groups of voters and grassroots interests, Debra Maggart appears to be getting desperate. She claims in a mailer released this week that she has a 100% pro 2nd Amendment voting record despite the fact that the National Rifle Association and TFA – the two most knowledgeable grassroots organizations on 2nd Amendment issues in Tennessee over the last several decades both specifically identify Maggart’s votes on the two Safe Commute bills this year as clear evidence to the contrary. In an apparent delusional moment – or because truthfully stating that she has a less than 100% voting record would not be good enough – Maggart herself writes in her mailer:

“I also have a 100% voting record on the Second Amendment, despite my critics from the Washington DC area.”

Setting aside that the NRA’s offices are in Virginia, the fact is that the NRA is advocating for the interests of its members who are residents of Tennessee and that the other organizations opposing her also almost exclusively comprised of Tennesseans. While she might try an Obama tactic of denying the truth (or she may sadly actually believe what she says) the facts are clearly otherwise. Her race has the attention of 100’s of thousands of Tennesseans and their collective grassroots voices.

Maggart cannot accept the fact that she has, like Japan did in World War II, awaken a proverbial “sleeping giant” comprised of Tennessean voters with her own outrageous and condescending conduct.

In addition to her delusional assertions, it appears that either Maggart has herself solicited or otherwise obtained the support of her incumbent leadership peers or they have simply chosen to fall on their own 2nd Amendment swords to come to her aid. For example, another member of House Republican leadership, Gerald McCormick claims that he did more to kill the Safe Commute bill than Maggart did. In response to a statement from NRA’s Chris Cox that Maggart was the lead dog, McCormick claims he was (apparently not realizing that he might be the next top primary race in 2014….) more involved with stopping the Safe Commute act’s progress than Maggart was. Part of the news report reflects:

The NRA promised there would be political repercussions if the so-called “Guns in Parking Lots” bill failed, and now a billboard shows the group is willing to put its money where its mouth is.

* * *

Maggart is engaged in a hotly contested primary race with Tea Party candidate Courtney Rogers.

The NRA has put in an unprecedented $75,000 into the race, with the hopes of defeating Maggart.

“The message we’re trying to send is that, despite what Debra Maggart says as a politician, actions speak louder than words,” said Chris Cox, with the NRA.

The billboard compares Maggart’s gun record to Obama’s, even though just a year ago, Maggart had an “A+” rating from the NRA.

“Debra Maggart almost single-handedly killed a piece of self-defense legislation by refusing to allow an up or down vote,” Cox said.

However, that claim is being disputed by other Republican leaders.

“That’s just an inaccurate statement. I had a lot more to do with killing that bill than she did,” said State Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga.

Well, at least the observation that other Republican leaders are trying to confuse the facts is true. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey himself has also weighed in on the matter this week. Indeed, it is the underlying message from Ron Ramsey that should be the most troubling to citizens all across this state and which should give pause to legislators as they consider whether to restore him this fall to the office of Lt. Governor.

WPLN quotes just a portion of the Ramsey comments to TNReport in a video interview (you really need to watch this).

The measure to allow gun permit holders to keep firearms in their cars at work, regardless of the workplace’s policies, pitted business lobbyists against gun rights advocates during this year’s legislative session. The state legislature attempted to hammer out a compromise, but ultimately pushed the matter off until next year.

That upset the TFA, which is the state chapter of the National Rifle Association. The group is actively campaigning against one GOP legislator, Representative Debra Maggart, and the NRA sent a survey to candidates, trying to pin them down on the issue.

In video from TN Report, Speaker Ramsey, a Republican, says there’s a good chance the compromise bill will be revived, but he says it’s hard to predict how it will be received in light of the divisive campaigning.

“I don’t know what the mood of the general assembly will be when we come back in, whether it will be a mood to pass a bill or a mood that you don’t negotiate with people who threaten you. I don’t know what it will be.”

When asked by a reporter about the idea that gun rights groups are trying to bully Republicans, Ramsey said –quote- “it isn’t just a perception, that’s reality.”

What does Ron Ramsey mean when he talks about the “mood” of the General Assembly? That is what should scare the allegiance out of many citizens in this state and give good conservative Senators pause when its time to select the next Lt. Governor.

Realize that these grassroots organizations which are lining up against Maggart – NRA, TFA, TEA Party, TRA, and others, are predominately organizations that stand on the Constitution and are comprised of Tennessee citizens and voters. They are not business lobbyists representing commercial interests or truly out of state concerns. NRA alone reports that it has 100,000+ members in Tennessee – perhaps 1 in 15 of the statewide likely voters.

What Ramsey is saying and other legislators have been heard to say is that if or when citizen groups – grassroots groups – demand accountability from legislators, that is when they demand constitutional soundness, when they demand allegiance to the legislative oath to uphold first the Constitution and when legislators put business, private or commercial interests first ahead of the Constitutions or the individual rights of citizens … the legislators do get “moody” and can simply refuse to abide by the Constitution, their oaths or the rights of the citizens! Moody simply because the citizens demanded what the legislators should have done without prodding or demands in the first place!

What Ramsey is saying and other legislators have said is that these Republican leaders and caucuses are willing to retaliate against all of the citizens in this state – and their constitutional and individual rights – by blocking or delaying constitutionally sound and appropriate legislation if grassroots groups stand “too” firm on the constitution or the rights of citizens. That Republican legislators can and will retaliate against the citizens if advocacy groups honestly tell legislators that they will seek out primary challengers if the legislators fail to do their jobs and honor their oaths. Apparently, Republican legislators – at least some of them – are offended that anyone would question the soundness of the judgment or motives and are willing to retaliate against the people that they were elected to serve. That sounds more like Emperor Nero than a constitutionally conservative steward.

Do we need or can we even tolerate legislators who have to be “in the mood” to uphold the constitution? Can we place the citizens at risk by expecting grassroots advocate groups of citizens to “back off” if a moody legislator feels that the demands of constitutional accountability make them, as Phil Valentine would say, “uncomfortable” when held against the conflicting demands of business lobbyists like Federal Express, Bridgestone, Volkswagen, and the Chamber of Commerce?

The sad fact is that the controversy over the Safe Commute law failed this year but it will be resolved in the future just as ultimately other abdications by prior legislators have been resolved involving prior stonewalling over things like carry permits, reciprocity, carry in state parks, carry in restaurants that serve alcohol, and other mindless and needless restrictions on your fundamental rights. Time and changes in the composition of the Legislature will cure this issue.

But, the thing that should really drive every citizen in this state to action now is the unintended admissions by people like Ron Ramsey that the Republican legislative leaders are willing to trash your constitutional rights when the “mood” strikes them. They are willing to retaliate against all citizens and their rights if they conclude that the NRA, the TFA, the Tea Party, Right to Life, the Eagle Forum, Homeschoolers, Immigration advocates, 10th Amendment advocates, 1st Amendment advocates or any other grassroots advocacy groups are not “playing” they way the legislators want the game played which is really nothing more than “we will give you what we want to allow you to have if and when we want to give it to you….”

2012 may be about making an example of Debra Maggart but the fact is that some of the other incumbents may be too moody to get the message. 2014 may be where the real work lies and that work must start now with a close examination of a lot of other incumbents.