Yet, for a community to host a visit from its state leader — regardless of political influence and irrespective of head butts in the past, present and future — is always an honor.
It is in this vein we again welcome a drop-in by Gov. Bill Haslam.
Tennessee’s first-term governor is making another visit to our Cleveland and Bradley County hometown. On this occasion, the governor will be flying in — using the new Cleveland Regional Jetport — late Thursday to deliver the keynote address at that evening’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner. It will be hosted by the Bradley County Republican Party and is being held in the spacious DeVos Recreation Center on the beautiful Lee University campus.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and the GOP dinner will convene at 6:30. The Lee University facility is located at the corner of Parker Street and Billy Graham Avenue.
Tickets and information are available online at www.bradleycountygop.com/bcrp/Home.html or by calling Adam Lewis, Bradley County Republican Party chair, at 423-310-4522.
Regular attendees of the Lincoln Day Dinner will recognize the DeVos Recreation Center as a change in venue. Traditionally, Cleveland High School hosts the well-attended event, but this year the school could not accommodate the GOP extravaganza. Subsequently, Lee University stepped to the plate and — as the four-year institution has done so many times before — offered a quality setting for a community gathering of this size and magnitude.
Local residents, whether they consider themselves Republicans or Democrats, can’t help but feel pleased to know that the Tennessee governor is returning to our community. Just in the past couple of years, Haslam has traveled to Cleveland at least twice.
Once, the governor brought an entourage of state officials — including first lady Crissy Haslam and Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, as well as local government representatives — to make a personal tour of the new Whirlpool Cleveland Division plant during its construction phase.
Later, Haslam appeared in town to deliver the keynote address at a Lee University commencement.
During both visits, the governor spoke on issues that are dear to the hearts, and minds, of his Cleveland and Bradley County constituency.
At Whirlpool, Haslam spoke of the emergence of U.S. manufacturing and the growing partnerships between state and local governments that are proving themselves to be pivotal in the long-sought rebound of economic development in Tennessee. The Knoxville businessman not only spoke to an assembled group of Whirlpool employees at the cavernous plant, he later entertained questions from area newsmen who had gathered at the construction site.
At Lee University, the governor talked education. He spoke of the Tennessee commitment to further advance educational quality in the Volunteer State; and, he challenged Lee graduates to use their new degrees to help create change and to make a difference not only in this community, region and state, but in whatever city — or country — in which they land.
At the Lincoln Day Dinner, the governor will be in good company. The slate of speakers includes Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland, state Reps. Kevin Brooks and Eric Watson, state Sens. Mike Bell and Todd Gardenhire, and U.S. Congressman Dr. Scott DesJarlais.
Not just on behalf of Bradley County Republicans, but as a representative voice for all local residents who call Tennessee their home, we welcome Gov. Haslam.
We know many anxiously await his remarks and we wish him Godspeed in his return to our hometown community.
As mentioned before, we might not always agree on every issue where the political process is at work and play.
But then, we’re probably not supposed to.
Welcome, governor! Enjoy your visit.