Wednesday, October 19, 2005

On the Trail, Ford Visits Supporters In Crockett, Henderson and Davidson Counties

Today we spent the day traveling again through West Tennessee, starting the day in Crockett County where we met County Mayor Larry Griffin, county Democratic Party Chair Jackie Perry, former county Sheriff Neal Klyce and the County Extension Agent Richard Buntin. The reception was very warm. The Mayor then took me over to be with Billy Williams and to do his radio show. We talked about the war, gas prices and what to do about it, including a tax on oil company profits to be rebated to taxpayers, and the need for more jobs and affordable health care.

We left the radio station and headed for a meet and greet and lunch at Johnny's Best Stop gas station in Maury City. I met Johnny Mayfield, the owner of Johnny's, as well as Tony and Sarah Yancy, Hal Dorsey, Gloria Taylor, Clay Brooks, Dale King, Elaine Dupree and many others. We had a good lunch. Again, Mayor Griffin was outstanding.

From there Mayor Griffin took us to the Crockett Gin Company. Run by Carter Edwards and County Comissioner Richard Walker, Crockett faces stiff competition from global competitors. I learned how important it is to ensure that cotton farmers are included and protected in any farm bill we take up in Congress this fall. We left there and headed to the Farmer's Co-op in Alamo. We met some good people there, including Terry Sellers, who went to high school with my good friend Dale Allen in Bradford, Tennessee. I gained some new friends and a new pair of boots at this stop.

At 130p we left Crockett County for Henderson County for a meet and greet with Harold and Jeff Griggs (father and son businessmen) at their restaurant, the Cotton Patch, in Lexington, Tennessee. Although I was late, the crowd was big and enthusiastic. I want to thank Democratic Party Chairman John Shannon, Rev. Rodney Campbell, Bryan Bunch and his son Drew, Ted Dunn, former Mayor David Jowers, Rev. Billy Williams, Cynthia Prichard and Kathryn Reese. I spoke and took questions about the budget deficits, high gas prices, ethics and the Bush White House and the need to make healthcare affordable for seniors, veterans and hard working people. I bought two t-shirts, took a plate of catfish and cole slaw and headed to Nashville to address Bob Cooper's campaign finance class seminar he teaches at Vanderbilt Law School. I thank him and his class for their generosity and understanding. My main message that evening was that if we don't adopt a public financing model to pay for campaigns, we need to be careful not to allow independent organizations to gain more power. Not only are they unduly influencing the outcome of debates and campaigns, these outside, independent groups are unduly influencing what we are debating. In other words, the people are no longer even shaping the debate; big money is.

We ended at Vandy about 745p and called it a day.

The next morning, the campaign's finance chairman, Charles Robert Bone, held a finance meeting where we talked about the final quarter of the year and the goals we need to reach.


Harold Ford