Ringgold Mayor Nick Millwood announced that he is supporting Colton Moore over veteran state Senator Jeff Mullis in the upcoming election. Rep. Moore said earlier he was leaving his House District 1 seat to run for the higher office. Mayor Millwood is in his second term as mayor.
He said in his statement that Senator Mullis had funded one of his opponents, Paul Lee, in the election last November.
Mayor Millwood said, "I am endorsing Colton Moore over Jeff Mullis for our area’s 53rd state Senate seat. He is unafraid to stand up to the current power structure and will continue to fight for what is right. As a state representative, he worked for educators to eliminate the discipline aspect in our state’s CCRPI scores in order to allow our schools to effectively deal with bad behavior. The fact that he understands what is hurting our morale in the schools is so refreshing, and I hope my fellow teachers take note that he gets to the root of problems to enact change.
Moore also tried to pass constitutional carry for our state and has consistently stood up or our 1st Amendment rights as well. During Colton’s term as a state representative, his frustrations at being blocked and talked down to by Jeff Mullis lead him to tackle the problem directly and run for that seat. I admire his tenacity and ability to go right to the source of the problem and launch a public challenge to make a difference.
"When I won the mayoral election as an outsider, politics in Ringgold had been poisoned by cronyism and getting things done was about who you knew and how well you fell in line with the power structure. Having a public opinion that spoke directly to the voters was heavily frowned upon and attacked as causing division among elected officials. Specifically, one thing caused a great amount of turmoil on my council. When our charter was changed by Senator Mullis without the council or public being given an opportunity to discuss, it became even more apparent that backroom deals are alive and well within my city.
"One of my councilmen absolutely ripped me during an open meeting and argued that I was potentially costing our city millions of dollars. My fellow councilman eloquently spoke about how I was endangering our “most favored nation” status. What he was saying, without actually saying it, was that our city would be punished because I was speaking out against a piece of legislation at our state capitol slipped in by our current state senator. I also received an intimidating text message from Mullis telling me, “I would change direction if I were you” and accusing me of dirty politics. He consequently chose to fund Paul Lee’s candidacy in the city of Ringgold, and some of the dirtiest politics came about as a result of that funding. I encourage you to ask Jeff Mullis what his justification is for supporting Paul Lee’s attempt to lead your city.
"This is the main reason I am endorsing Colton: He checks his ego at the door and focuses on what’s right for the voters. Insisting on a public conversation about difficult topics and not demonizing, threatening, or marginalizing opposition should be the order of the day. It is time to start building a positive political environment in our district.
"At some point, politicians can become more enamored with themselves, other politicians, Political Action Committees, and big donors as opposed to the people who elect them. Two of the senator’s recent bills come from this mindset. One was called the “Casey Cagle Bill”. It was an attempt to limit people’s rights to record their own conversations as they see fit. This session, he introduced a bill nicknamed the “liar” bill which would limit citizens' rights to address their legislature. If you are deemed as lying to the legislature, it strips your right to address the legislature for the rest of the session. A second offense would result in a lifetime ban. The legislators aren’t held to that same standard, but it’s now law that you are. Also, the wild amount of money Senator Mullis brings in from PACs like payday and title lenders and insurance companies also leaves me wondering if he is looking out for the best interest of voters or the insurance companies and loan shark businesses contributing to him.
"I am speaking from my own experience, and I can relate to Colton’s experience he has had at the state capitol. Having an opinion contrary to one of the area’s political “higher-ups” should be something he listens to and embraces. The feeling in the county is that you cannot publicly disagree with our state senator or he will come after you politically and use the state purse strings or his campaign war chest to punish you. He has systematically worked to fill local elections with candidates who are loyal to him.
"I truly believe Colton is not that kind of politician. I have had personal conversations with him, and I’m sold on his commitment to do the right thing. It was no easy decision to walk away from his state representative seat in order to continue his fight more effectively, but the best among us run toward the problems. Please mark April 27th on your phone or calendar as the beginning of early voting and bring a breath of fresh air to our local politics by casting your ballot for Colton Moore."