By Clint Confehr
Senior Staff Writer
The Marshall County Tea Party is going to introduce voters here to a woman who's challenging Tennessee's junior senator for the Republican nomination this summer.
"Brenda Lenard is running against Bob Corker in the GOP Primary to run for the U.S. Senate," Sherry Ferguson said early this week. "She's an African-American conservative.
"There's a big difference," Ferguson said, contrasting conservative views with the "Republican elite. You can't tell much of a difference between them and the Democrats."
March 3 is when Ferguson plans to have a program focusing on Lenard, the local Tea Party activist said. A specific time and place are to be announced.
While specifics about Lenard are to be revealed then, the candidate's campaign paints a picture of a single mother who's now a graduate student at the University of Tennessee.
"Why in the world is a black, single mom who grew up in the projects running as a Republican conservative against Republican Sen. Bob Corker in Tennessee?" Lenard asks rhetorically.
Her answer focuses on the same word then-Sen. Barrack Obama used four years ago.
"Some folks would say I grew up without hope," Lenard said. "But they're wrong. If you saw the hit movie, "The Blind Side," then you have an inkling of what my early life was like. The projects were awful. Crime was rampant. Food was scarce and getting a good education was difficult. Poverty. No hope. Some said that was my future. But they were mistaken.
"I had hope," she says in campaign literature. "My hope was in God who gave me the determination and the breaks I needed to leave that life and to realize the American dream. I studied in school. I worked hard at any job I could find. And although my education was interrupted for a number of years, today I'm working on my doctorate in political science at the University of Tennessee."
Ferguson took the opportunity over the weekend to point out other aspects of the Tea Party when she was asked about conflicting reports several weeks ago about the organization's continued existence.
"It has in no way disbanded," Ferguson said. "That's erroneous. That's what the media on the left would have you believe."
Conservatives, such as those aligning themselves with the Tea Party, "believe the Constitution is not a living document. It is, as written, intended by the founding fathers, not to be messed with by international law..." Ferguson said.
"Some of the Republican establishment, or elite ... like big government, too. They like to collect taxes and spend our money, too.
"To us, that's a no-no.
"We believe tax money should be well spent, not wasted on government programs," Ferguson said.