maury county

Potential gubernatorial candidate Ogles: ‘We are not Nashville’

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, a potential GOP challenger to Gov. Bill Lee in next year’s primary, is touting his refusal to impose a mask mandate or impose other restrictions on businesses during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In that chaos, my objective was to keep Maury County open for business,” Ogles told the Maury County Chamber & Economic Alliance, The Daily Herald of Columbia reports. “I could not afford to let our downtown square close. We are not Nashville. We don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on tourism.” 

Ogles has criticized what he has called Lee’s “abuses of power” and backed calls to hold a special session to push back against mask mandates. Ogles had declined to impose a requirement to wear face coverings despite the governor previously extending that authority to county mayors.

“Nowhere in the state constitution do I have that authority,” Ogles said. “Nowhere in state law did I have that authority, and I refused to accept that authority. That is not what government is designed to do.” 

Ogles’ comments at the Chamber event were mostly focused on economic matters and population growth issues facing the county. The Daily Herald did not report on any reaction by Ogles to Lee landing a $5.8 billion Ford plant for the Memphis Regional Megasite last week.

Ogles has been more pointed in his previous attacks on what he called “Lee’s indecisiveness and half measures.”

“At a time when truly conservative Governors are aggressively fighting against both local and federal assaults on our freedoms, Governor Lee is taking the twisting path to appease the Left and their allies,” Ogles posted on social media in August.

Republican lawmakers being called back into a special session later this month to take up a $500 million incentive package for Ford are clamoring for yet another special session to try to block mask mandates.