Gubernatorial candidate Kay White portrays herself as ultimate outsider

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Sep 11, 2017 at 5:24 PM

After announcing her campaign for governor in July, Kay White has made a reputation for herself as an outsider, hardline conservative and fervent supporter of President Donald Trump.

At Monday’s monthly meeting of the Washington County Republican Women, she heavily criticized Gov. Bill Haslam and others she deemed “RINOs,” an acronym for “Republicans in name only.”

White said Haslam “bought his way into” his position, and said he “was not in it for the people of this state. He was in it for power and money.”

“I think I am the only candidate — I know it — that I am the only candidate that has not been a part of the establishment. I have not been on the board of our present governor,” White said. “I have not been appointed to any board by him, and I have not been a part of his cabinet. I am real proud to say that, because I have not been very fond of Governor Haslam and the debt that he has caused Tennesseans to come under.”

White cited the recent gas tax increase as one of the main reasons for her opposition to the governor’s policies. 

“The gas (tax) was the big thing, and the budget. Under Haslam, our budget has been increased $8 billion in less than eight years. Where did all that money go? What was it for? Somewhere down the line, that tax is going to be put on the backs of the people,” she said. “I don’t know all the ins and outs, but I did ask one of the state representatives who was very defensive for his vote on the gas tax, and he said to me, ‘I’m not sure what that $8 billion went for.’ I said, ‘That’s ridiculous.’ ”

After talking about the gas tax, White touched on immigration, which has been a recent topic of contention following the decision by the Trump administration to sunset the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that provides limited protections for undocumented immigrants. 

She urged representatives to pass a law that puts harsh penalties on any mayor wishing to establish a “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants. 

“If they try to hoard illegals, as I’ve been told was happening in Memphis, I’d like them to be put in jail for two years and lose their position in office,” she said before the crowd erupted in applause. 

White went on the condemn Republicans who have not shown the same measure of support for the president, again referring to them as “RINOs.” 

“I’m much like the guy on my shirt,” she said, pointing to the Trump campaign button on her shirt. “One of the reasons I wore this was to show my pride in our president.” 

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