Saturday, July 16, 2016

Unity Rally Speech

My heart has been heavy over the past few weeks as we have seen what many would call racial unrest across our country. Terrible events in Texas, Minnesota, and Louisiana have polarized our nation. There are strong feelings, and emotions are high. While we can’t do much about what is happening in other states, we can come together right here in our county.

I keep hearing words like race, racial, and racism, but I don’t like that word race. Until the 1850s the word race only referred to nationalities, like the English race, or the Spanish race. It had nothing to do with skin color. It wasn’t until Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species that the word took on a new meaning. He grouped people together by skin color, and his theory was that different races evolved over time, with some groups more evolved than others. This was the beginning of racism.

Scientifically, there is only one race—the human race. We are all homo sapiens. Scientists have now mapped out the human genome, and there is almost no difference between any two humans. In fact, the genetic difference between any two people is only .2%, and that is mostly attributed to different levels of melanin located in our skin. The only difference between us is that some are a little lighter and others a little darker, all in accordance with how God made us.

In other words, red and yellow, black and white, we’re all precious in God’s sight.

I believe the blood of Jesus that flowed down from the cross was color blind, and “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Now the Bible teaches that the greatest command is to love—to love God with all your heart, and to love everyone else the way you love yourself.

In John’s vision of the end times, he saw people gathered around the throne from every kindred and nation and tribe and tongue—people from all walks of life. If we’re going to get along up there, we should be able to get along down here. But if we can’t get along down here, I’m not convinced we will even make it up there. Loving others is now the test to see if we really love God.

So life can’t be me versus you, or us versus them. Let us focus on what unites not, not what divides us. Let us focus not on what is different, but on what we have in common. We are one. We are all Americans. We are all South Carolinians. We are all part of the human race. We are all created equal in the image of God. We are one.  So let us love.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why I Support the Balanced Budget Amendment

The Balanced Budget Amendment Resolution initiative is a movement to add this all-important amendment to the Constitution. It can be done, and it is very necessary, especially here in South Carolina.

For starters, 34 states are needed to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment Resolution in order to use a limited Article V Convention of States method to give the people power to make this work. 28 states have already passed the BBAR, leaving only 6 states needed. South Carolina is very capable of being among the next to pass the Resolution. If elected in November I will work to make sure that happens.

Why do we need the BBAR? Our federal debt is out of control. Whenever I’m asked what the biggest need for our country, state, or district, I always mention fixing the debt. National security is vital, but we can’t combat the enemy or secure our borders if we cannot afford to. The same can be said of any other need. We have to get our debt under control.

We are currently $19.3 trillion in debt; that amounts to $161,000 per taxpayer, and the debt is only growing. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, Congress will continue to borrow another trillion and a half dollars a year.

Can you run your house like that? Can you run your business like that? You and I don’t get to spend money we don’t have—especially not other people’s money. Our states don’t even get to do that. Only the United States Congress can be more than a trillion dollars in the red each year.

With a balanced budget amendment, we can stop borrowing money and begin to pay off our debt.  

Congress could work on a balanced budget amendment if they wanted to, but they clearly have no desire. That’s why the states must act and give the power back to the people. I have signed the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force pledge to help make South Carolina the next state to move us closer to using Article V.

With your support and vote in November we can make this happen. We can tell Congress to only spend what they take in, to eliminate the unconscionable waste, and to stop passing debt on to our children and grandchildren.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Thank You!

I don’t know if it was the excitement of winning, the outpouring of support, or all the caffeine I consumed while crunching return numbers from the precincts, but I didn’t get much sleep last night. The last twenty-four hours have been a blur, so I want to send out a bulk “Thank You.”

I am trying to return every call and text, as well as reply to messages online. And that is exactly why we won last night—because of people like you. It would be dishonest and unfair of me to say, “I won,” because I only cast one vote. We won because of your support.

I’m not sure if we should call it a traditional campaign or something out of the ordinary, but it was truly a grassroots movement. I never put an ad in any newspaper or cut a commercial for the radio; I didn’t send a postcard or make robo calls. I just tried to explain what I stand for, and then asked you to spread the word.

You retweeted. You liked. You shared. You favorited. You donated. You put up signs. You came to fundraisers. You told your friends to vote. I could not have won without the #MannFann movement.

Don’t get me wrong—I wanted to put ads in the paper, and I hope to send out postcards ahead of the November election, but I just didn’t have the funds to do those things. We raised just over $2,000, and we spent roughly $1,800, most of which was on yard signs. From my very first speech I billed myself as, “a self-proclaimed tightwad, an unapologetic cheapskate” that knows, “how to stretch every dollar and pinch every penny.” While I vowed to take that mindset to Columbia, it also rang true on our shoestring campaign budget.

Which is what makes me so thankful for you. I’ll take a handful of eager supporters over a check from a PAC any day. My largest donation was $100; many gave $10 or less. In the end, it was your votes and enthusiasm that pushed us to victory.

It was you recent graduates who educated yourself to the process and voted for the first time; it was you grandparents who had never cast a vote before yesterday; it was those of you who left for work early, gave up your lunch break, or had a late dinner because you went to the polls. I can’t thank you enough.

I also want to say thank you to Alicia, Reagan, TJ, and the rest of our family for supporting us through this crazy life change. My wife has been my number one supporter, and she deserves more praise than I can give her.

We can’t stop now. I’m going to be asking you to do it all again this fall. Together, we can keep demanding better. Thank you!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Union County News Candidate Statement

The following is the article I wrote for the Union County News:

I’m often asked why I chose to walk away from a great job and enter the political arena, and the answer is simple: I felt like it was the right thing to do. Governor Mike Huckabee once wrote, “If you have ever wondered why they didn’t do a better job, maybe its because it never occurred to you that they rarely do anything. Life changes when they get fired and we take their place[1].” They does not remind me of anyone in particular, but I’ve spent years trying to affect change from the sidelines, and the governor’s words inspired me to run for office.

I hear so many people complain about the condition of our roads, and I want to repair them. I’ve heard concerns about losing our 2nd Amendment rights, and I want to protect them. I see families struggle in this economy, and I want to help them by fighting taxes and promoting local business.

As a pastor for 12 years I have seen religious liberty come under attack. I have lobbied for a First Amendment Restoration Act and/or a Pastor Protection Act like other states have passed, and now I am running to make that happen. I am a firm believer that life begins at conception—all the science confirms it, and now the law needs to catch up. The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was a great start, but once elected I will author and introduce the Life Begins at Conception Act. We can give personhood status to our tiniest South Carolinians, guaranteeing their right to life under the 14th Amendment.

I have proudly signed the South Carolina Association of Taxpayers pledge to oppose any and all new taxes. I support Congressional term limits and ethics reform, as well as the Article V Convention of States. My wife and I are members of the Foster Parent Association, and we are pushing for the “Normalcy Bill” and “Reporting Bill” currently before the House, which would be a big help to both children and foster parents.

I spent this past year as a substitute teacher for Union County School District, and I see firsthand how underfunding has hurt our students. Year after year we have to do more with less because bigger districts like Spartanburg and Greenville get a bigger piece of the pie. While they use their funds to buy brand new iPads for every student, our students are sharing textbooks, many of which are missing covers and pages.

If we really want to attract new business and new families to this county, we need to demand better. Let’s raise the bar and demand more for Union County—better roads, better funding, better accountability. Why would a business owner move into a county that is trying to raise taxes? What will keep families in the county if taxes go up? States like California raise taxes, and families and business are bolting for states that lower taxes—states like Texas, Florida, and South Carolina. Tax increases always cause inflation, and tax cuts always stimulate economic growth.

I’m not from here, but I love it here. I wasn’t born in Union, but I got to choose Union. There is nowhere else I would rather live and raise my family, and I have a burden to see this District be all it can be.

That’s a little bit about who I am and what I stand for. I would love your vote in the June 14 primary and the November election. Together, we can demand better.

Tommy Mann

[1] Huckabee, Mike, From Hope to Higher Ground,  Center Streetp.178-179

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Are You Taking Your Faith With You?

Yesterday someone asked me if I would be taking my “religious beliefs” to Columbia with me if I am elected (the tone of his question was sarcastic). My response was, “You’re darn right I will.”

I went on to explain that I can no more separate myself from my religious beliefs than I can from my skin color or height. My faith in Jesus Christ is not my grandparents’ religion or a collection of stories. It is what forms my worldview and governs my decisions; it is the needle on my moral compass and the most important determining factor in my life.

Some may scoff at this, or invoke the separation of church and state, but I would point out a few things. First, having convictions is a good thing. People are sick of politicians who move whichever way the winds blow. I will never do that because my beliefs won’t change. I’m not running to build a political career and do what is necessary to stay in office. I’m running to make a difference and do what I think is right.

Second, my convictions make me a better person. My theology says to love my neighbor as myself, to pray for my enemies, to do good to those who curse me—why would anyone want me to leave that home when I go to Columbia?

Finally, I would point out that the “leave your faith at home” mindset only applies to Christians. Atheism is a belief system, but secularists never say, “I hope you leave your atheism at home.” In fact, I would submit that atheism in the workplace and in government is what has led to the moral decline in this country. If anything, we need more people to take their Christian convictions into government.

I don’t want to be a congressman who happens to be a Christian. I want to be a Christian who happens to be a congressman. This is who I am. I would love your vote, but I won’t compromise to get it.