Michele Reneau Vs. Patsy Hazlewood - An Overview Of Financial Connections - And Response

  • Wednesday, July 10, 2024

I've read the op-eds and articles about Hazlewood's voting record and agree she is not worthy of a true conservative's vote. From the local GOP to the State House, we need a change of the old guard. We need new Republican leadership in Hamilton County.

To understand the workings behind this old guard, it is essential to understand the financial connections between candidates and their donors.

Our county Republican leaders are primarily tools of the business lobby, the business roundtable, and the Chamber of Commerce. That means Chamber Republicans are pro-business right? Well, if you dig a little deeper into the Chamber you quickly realize this means Chamber Republicans are pro-open borders.

We have all heard that Hazlewood voted against legislation to keep state and local governments from adopting sanctuary policies (HB2315/SB2332) and that she voted to award in-state college tuition to illegal immigrant students in Tennessee (HB0675/SB0612). Why would a "true Republican" do this? It is simple. When you see a Republican voting for open borders they are doing it on behalf of big business.

The Chamber of Commerce represents America's major blue-chip multinational companies that rely on supply chains abroad. The Chamber is a big power center of the Republican party. The Chamber does not support legal immigration. The Chamber is pushing for mass amnesty. In September of 2023, the Chamber asked Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that would provide Dreamers with permanent legal status. The Chamber of Commerce CEO called for doubling immigration into the US, calling it a "permanent solution" for DACA recipients.

Considering this, when a candidate accepts money from a donor, they are subtly endorsing the donor's ideology. If a candidate does not align with a donor's political beliefs, they can simply return the money. Furthermore, when a candidate holds positions in nonprofits or NGOs that support illegal aliens flooding our country, we should pause, recognize the glaring red flag, and thoroughly investigate the candidate's finances.

Here is a brief overview of how political fundraising works:

Individuals can contribute to each candidate’s campaign. This can be done directly to the candidate or through a Political Action Committee. PACs are organizations that raise and spend money to support or oppose political candidates.

NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) and PACs utilize donations to build relationships and open doors to conversations with elected officials. In turn, they may receive access and influence by giving to a candidate, as academic research has shown that elected officials are more responsive to requests for meetings from donors to their campaigns. Oversized, ultra-wealthy donors can and do influence candidates and politicians.

Now that the candidate has a donation and the NGO has built a relationship, in comes the government machine.

The administrative state is made up of people in government who are not elected (i.e., appointed director of Child Protective Services, appointed Regional Planning Agency board members, appointed Beer Board members, appointed Chattanooga City director of Community Engagement, appointedcCity and county attorneys, etc.), and carry out the day-to-day operations of federal, state, and municipal governments. There are over 23 million people in the administrative state - most being school, city and county employees.

The administrative state works directly with influence peddlers (PACs, nonprofits, and NGOs) to develop legislation in ways that benefit them. Grants and contracts are awarded to their groups. Additionally, individuals in these groups are appointed (a.k.a. installed) into positions of power by elected officials who take advice and direction from unelected "experts".

Moreover, Private Family Foundations generously fund local, state, and national nonprofits and NGOs. These entities, in turn, secure government grants funded by taxpayers through city councils, county commissions, and state legislatures. Then, like clockwork, the nonprofits and NGOs either place their own people in government roles through awarded contracts or simply conduct government affairs from their own offices. Meanwhile, the NGO PACs and Foundations ensure their preferred candidates are well-funded, wielding their power and influence to drown out any opposition. Wash, rinse and repeat.

Nonprofits (including NGOs) may benefit from government grants and contracts to fund their programs and initiatives. Similarly, corporations can gain from government contracts and incentives provided by regulatory agencies.

The above funding apparatus does not just apply to Republicans. It applies to all candidates, both sides of the aisle, whose primary donors are PACs, corporations, and/or Foundations. This is how the corporate political machine runs and if Tennesseans want to maintain sovereignty, we must curb the influence of non-governmental organizations. A crucial step in achieving this is to refrain from electing politicians heavily funded by these entities.

We need wise leaders, who know their limits and respect the power of the people.

We must vote for candidates who are funded by the people rather than corporate and NGO ties.

Tennessee District 27 represents approximately 69,000 residents in Lookout Valley, Lookout Mountain, a large portion of Red Bank, parts of Hixson, Soddy-Daisy, Mowbray Mountain, Flat Top Mountain, Bakewell, and Signal Mountain. Two Republican candidates are vying for the Tennessee House of Representative seat.

Patsy Hazlewood - "It is a big club and you ain't in it." George Carlin

According to financials, Hazlewood has almost $500k in campaign funding and is still asking for money. Her campaign is primarily funded by big business.

Patsy Hazlewood's NGO connections:

Chattanooga Chamber Foundation - past chairperson

Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga Inc. - past chairperson

River City - member

Rotary Club Chattanooga - past president

Siskin Children's Foundation - member

The Enterprise Center - past member

United Way of Greater Chattanooga - past chair

Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, INC. - past chairperson

Friends of the Festival - member

Finley Stadium Corporation Board - member

Better Business Bureau Board - past president

T.C. Thompsons Children's Hospital Foundation - member

Tennessee Aquarium Board - member

Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development - regional director

Patsy Hazlewood's Top 10 Industry Donors in 2022:

Tennessee Bankers Association

Tennessee First
National Association Of Realtors

Amazon.com

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Of America

Unitedhealth Group

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Highway Contractors

Jack Daniel Distillery

Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Tennessee

Michele Reneau

According to financials, Michele Reneau has run a fiscally conservative grassroots campaign on a shoestring budget. Her campaign is funded by The People.

NonProfits and/or PACs who have donated to the Reneau campaign:

TN Firearms Association

TN Action Group

Reneau's other donors are individuals (approx. 250) rather than corporations or PACs.

"Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights." Thomas Jefferson

Proverbs 18:16: Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people!

Rebecca Day

* * *

Registered voters each and all have the right to vote for the candidate of their choice. This response to the above letter is not intended to suggest for whom any registered voter should cast a ballot. 

Rather, I want to suggest that the above-written attempt to question the credentials of Patsy Hazelwood actually resonated with me as a resounding endorsement in her favor.

Thanks to the author for bringing to my attention that Patsy Hazelwood has volunteered her time, over her career, to serve on 14 different volunteer public boards and organizations, for the betterment of our community.

When I was a young lawyer, my mentors encouraged me in the strongest terms to be generous and intentional about volunteering the skills that I possessed to make a positive difference in the Chattanooga and Hamilton County communities. Patsy is a role model for that kind of selfless public service. 

If my résumé included volunteer service for the following organizations, I would reflect on my career with pride and gratitude.

Chattanooga Chamber Foundation - past chairperson
Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga Inc. - past chairperson
River City - member
Rotary Club Chattanooga - past president
Siskin Children's Foundation - member
The Enterprise Center - past member
United Way of Greater Chattanooga - past chair
Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, INC. - past chairperson
Friends of the Festival - member
Finley Stadium Corporation Board - member
Better Business Bureau Board - past president
T.C. Thompsons Children's Hospital Foundation - member
Tennessee Aquarium Board - member
Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development - regional director.

Occasionally, I have had the privilege of serving alongside Patsy on nonprofit boards, and I have always appreciated her good judgment and generosity with her time.

Thank you, Patsy Hazelwood, for your service. Each of us should be so fortunate to be called upon to lead in this many diverse and important roles.

Michael Mallen, Esq.

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