Alliance Bank in Sulphur Springs

Republicans Rally Around Stump Speakers

Republicans rallied around stump speakers while enjoying homemade ice cream, popcorn and hot dogs Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, at Hopkins County Civic Center. The prevailing message carried throughout the 2nd Old Time Political Rally hosted by Hopkins County Republican Party was the need to make a big push to get everyone possible to

Stephen Willeford, national spokesman for Gun Owners of America and “The Good Man and a Gun”

Hopkins County Republican Party Chairman Donnie Wisenbaker opened the nearly 2 3/4 hour event recognizing elected officials and honored guests, and introducing Dr. Troy Jackson, whose lively prayer got the crowd fired up.

Wisenbaker further spurred the room offering his takeaway from the latest presidential speech he’d watched recently, and encouraging all to not only vote but impressing upon all the need to get as many as possible out to vote in the Nov. 8 election. All are needed to turn the tide if the Party wants to gain control of state and national offices.

“If you don’t get behind it, we’re going to lose the state of Texas as we know it,” Wisenbaker said.

Bowie County Republican Chairman Gary Singleton led the sea of red-clad individuals in an impassioned pledge to the USA and Texas flags.

Hopkins County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Brad Cummings sang the National Anthem and “God Bless The USA,” encouraging all who knew the words to sing along with him.

“I hope in November you get more out to vote than last November,” Texas District 2 Rep Bryan Slaton said. “We have to show up and vote and offset the craziness.”

He encouraged everyone present on Nov. 8 to get at least one person who is not their spouse to vote in this election, then to keep increasing that number each election. He said Republicans should encourage all to fight for the values they grew up with and maintain by getting them to vote Republican.

Hopkins County Sheriff Lewis Tatum said the number one thing he’s focused on this year, especially since May, has been school security. He said all local schools now have ballistics shields, which are expensive; the HCSO patrol sergeants also have one. His office has been working hard with the schools to better secure them in order to protect the children they serve. If a threat is made against a school, his office is to be made aware of it so that the matter can be addressed immediately, taking it to the individual wherever they may be, regardless of the time of day or night.

“It’s better to taken it to them on their home than on the school grounds,” Tatum said.

Also important, according to Tatum, is to shut down the Texas-Mexico border, to slow the drug, human trafficking and other illegal activities brought across when individual cross it illegally. He said he’d been down to El Rio with other members of the state sheriff’s association, and described it as being like a third world country. Tatum said things have changed so much since he was on patrol with HCSO, methamphetamine so prevalent not only are people not having to cook up a batch in labs, the cost of meth has decreased from $100 a gram to $10. Several kilos of cocaine or meth can easily be obtained from dealers in Hopkins County.

He said those who live in Hopkins County are quite fortunate in the cooperative effort among all county officials and agencies. Through some of the programs in place, Hopkins County has been able to lower taxes and give employees raises other counties aren’t able to do. That, he said, is something that’s been needed for a long time. He asked all to continue to pray for Hopkins County and Texas, and their leaders.

Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace BJ Teer stressed the importance of voting in the Nov. 8 elections.

“When we look at November, what can happen — our values are on the line. We have to be ready to go and fight for what we believe in, what we want. If the battle is to be won, it’s going to have to be us,” Teer said. “We need to be ready, educated and ready to fight. If we don’t stand up and fight all of our rights will be gone and we will be living in a communist state and nation. Go vote. Get educated. Take someone to vote.”

Erik Simien, Constituent Services Representative for District 4 Congressman Pat Fallon, said the US’s founding fathers had great wisdom and foresight. Benjamin Franklin, at the time of the Constitutional Convention, said ancient governments that no longer exist up to governments in more modern states in Europe were viewed, but non was suitable to the situation in the US. He called for prayer at the beginning of each day of the session and clergy to officiate. Afterward, those prayers were answered. Divided, we are like the people of Babble, divided by partial local interest.

Rhonda Anderson, director of grassroots engagement for Texans for Abbott, asked those present to sign up to be part of the official effort to contact and get more people to vote in this year’s Nov. 8 elections. Anderson moved from Ohio to Longview, Texas during Obama’s second term in office. Over five years, she’s helped knock on 35,000 doors. No she helps organize teams to help win elections by “defunding tyranny.”

She noted the Republican Party has it’s work cut out for if they plan to match or best the Democratic Party, which is hiring over 1,000 more people to assist with their campaign mail and field efforts to reach additional voters. They are receiving money from more groups, are organized and united when out every weekend knocking doors and greeting constituents.

Anderson said East and West Texas are the bookends of voting. A high number of votes are essential in East and West Texas in order to overcome the laws of election. She asked all present to to consider committing to knocking on 25 doors in the area, with a goal of persuading independent and soft Democratic or swing votes in favor of Republican votes. People can register to take part on Times are typically from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and 2-6 Sundays.

She also reminds that Oct. 11 is the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 8, 2022, election and to become a deputy registrar.

Gary Singleton, Bowie County Republican chair, noted a 3-hour election training session will be hosted in his county for any interested. Dr. Troy Jackson will be an instructor at the event. The founding fathers sacrificed to give us the freedoms and rights we enjoy in the USA. He encouraged those present to not let others with opposing views take them away, but to instead go to the polls and take others with them, to get out and get to know others, share their conservative values and get others to vote for candidates who share like goals and values to ensure those freedoms and rights endure.

Hopkins County Court-At-Law Judge Clay Harrison encouraged voters to vote as soon as they can, to be informed and protect the freedoms and conservative values they enjoy.

County Judge Robert Newsom recalls a time when he and wife Robbie were out walking streets, knocking on doors asking people to vote for him. He saw a house with an opponent’s sign in the front yard, but decided to go up and try to talk to the resident anyway. Not only did she talk to him, after he left, Robbie observed her go out and pull up his opponent’s sign and put it in the garage. That’s a vote he won because he made the effort to share his goals with her.

“It’s possible this could turn around and we lose our freedoms,” Newsom said. “We must win. It’s serious business.”

The first election he recalls was in 1971. Each election since he’s felt is more important than the last, with more on the lien. This time is no exception, Newsom said.

“This is the most important election of our lives. Can we change some minds, make a difference? He expressed a desire for more young people, those for whom social media is first nature, to be involved in election campaigns and voter recruitment.

Eighth Judicial District Judge Eddie Northcutt noted the importance in voting in all elections, especially local and state, and those for judiciary seats. He gave an example of one election ultimately being decided by one vote. When Frank Long decided not to seek another term as district attorney, Martin Braddy and Heath Hyde both ran. At the conclusion of the election on election night, Braddy finished just ahead of Hyde with 11 votes. Hyde called for a recount. In the recount, Hyde picked up three extra votes in Delta County, reducing Braddy’s lead to 8 votes. Hyde picked up another four votes in Franklin County, cutting the lead to four, then picked up three more in Hopkins County. When all was said, Braddy won the election by just 1 vote, Northcutt said. Had some of the people who’d confided on Election Day they still hadn’t voted cast a ballot in the race before the race was over, Hyde could have potentially overcome Braddy for the seat, or more firmly secured Braddy’s win.

Northcutt also noted another big election won by a pretty slim margin, when Lindon B. Johnson ran for Senate. Voter turnout was horrific that year. No one won by a 50% margin. Johnson won by 87 votes, an election some say was the most consequentially election in the last century, the judge noted.

He encourages staff in his offices on election day to stop and go vote if they haven’t already. He urged them to vote for judicial candidates who will return East Texas conservative values to the courthouse. He encouraged all present at the Republican Rally to go down and select all candidates with a Republican R by their name.

Texas House District 5 Representative Cole Hefner said he grew up in Pittsburg, Texas, and unlike many of his classmates did not want to leave the area upon graduation. Why should he, he asked, when “we live in the best part of the best state, in the best country in the world.”

Hefner said he makes it a point to go to local restaurants, where he knows someone who works there. Likewise, he makes a point to get to know his constituents.

He said it is as vitally important to vote in local elections as in state elections, which affect you the most. He noted a lot has been accomplished in the last few sessions, especially the special sessions Abbott has called.

Keynote speaker Stephen Willeford encouraged those present to rally and protect their Second Amendment right to arm yourself for your protection as well as that of others. He said he always had small town values — appreciation for God, country and family, and those who serve. On Nov. 5, 2017, he had reinforced to him the need to have arms, to be your own first responder until the traditional first responders (law enforcement, fire department and EMS services) arrive; that he said means an obligation to protect self and loved ones, which he described doing with her firearm.

He described his actions in 2017 to stop a man in a black tactical vest and protective head gear seen shooting up the door to the church. His daughter called 911. He ran across from his home to the nearby church, barefoot holding an AR15. He determined his community couldn’t wait for law enforcement to arrive for help. He yell out about half there. The shooter, Willeford recounted, had just shot a woman in the chest and a church leader in the back, causing him to fall and was standing over him with a firearm.

The shooter dropped his rifle and ran from the church, shooting at Willeford with a pistol as he did so. Willeford reported taking cover as best he could and firing fired six round toward the man, who appeared to be wearing class 3 body armor and protective head gear. The man ran to a vehicle left in the middle of the street with the driver’s side door open. As the man turned sideways, Willeford said he fired one shot high between the plates and another at the man’s lower leg. The man did not stop. Additional shots were fired.

As the fleeing car topped the hill, Willeford said he told a man in a pickup that a guy had just shot up the Baptist Church and they had to stop him. He got in the truck and off they went, Willeford’s driver already on the phone with dispatchers. They pursued the car at a high rate of speed, following it as it slowed, pulled into a ditch, took out a road sign, then continued for less than a mile. The vehicle went off the road, through a fence and into a field. Willeford said he got out with his rifle on the hood, yelling for the man to get out. He acted, Willeford said.

Another 5-7 minutes passed before authorities to arrive, which was 19 minutes since the first shots were reported until they heard the first siren, Willeford reported. Overall, 26 people that’d been at Sutherland Springs Baptist Church that day died, 20 others were injured and only 3 escaped without bullet wounds, Willeford noted.

He said he was able to act because of his Second Amendment right to own a gun, an AR15, which some want to bar citizens from owning, along with AK47s and other high powered firearms. After that, Willeford said he became very involved with Gun Owners of America, helping to write legislation allowing Constitutional carry of firearms in Texas, which he says makes the state a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State.”

Willeford is now a national spokesperson for Gun Owners of America and emphasizes in his talks the importance of the Second Amendment, which allows you to be your own first responder until professionals arrive, if necessary, in order to protect yourself and others. He said he speaks and helps people in other states fight against proposed legislation which would limit their 2nd Amendment rights. He said he fights in order to protect his family, wife, grown children and four grandchildren, to fight for their rights.

“He stood up for what needs to be done. it’s time you do what needs to be done. You vote and get others to vote. We want to be able to have meetings like this and for our grandkids too. The only way to accomplish that is if you get out and vote,” Wisenbaker said, concluding the rally.

Author: KSST Contributor

Share This Post On