LEBANON, Tennessee – Freshman Congressman Andy Ogles (R-TN-05) received a standing ovation for his stance during last week’s race for U.S. House Speaker at the regular monthly meeting of the Wilson County Republican Party held Saturday at the Music City Baptist Church in Lebanon.

U.S. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20), considered the favorite to be elected as the 55th Speaker with his party now in the majority for the 118th Congress, had to go a historic 15 rounds of voting over five days to be elected. McCarthy had to win over the votes of 20 Republicans who mainly wanted to change the way the House operates.

At issue was a rules package that 20 conservative lawmakers say seated too much power in the Speaker of the House.

Ogles was one of the twenty – and the only representative in Tennessee – to vote against McCarthy, which he did all the way through to the 12th round, despite an animated conversation with McCarthy during the 8th round of voting which aired on C-Span.

“What we achieved for the American people is transformative,” said Ogles about the rules package.

In his introduction of Ogles to about 70 attendees, Wilson County Republican Party Chairman Brad Lytle, who was preceded by former State Senator Mae Beavers, mentioned the classic western “Magnificent Seven” and the citizens who were lost as to what to do, but got professional gunslingers. Lytle said that Ogles was their professional gunslinger, a great man, who got to work and did the right thing with the other people that Lytle said he now calls the magnificent twenty, to loud claps of agreement.

Ogles, when he came forward to enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation at his first public event since the vote for Speaker, said, “It’s amazing. When you take a stand and do the right thing, you get yelled at, but you get a little applause along the way.”

“I’m humbled to be here. Making the decision to stand up and just say no was easy,” said Ogles. “That’s why I ran for Congress. For some, it was about McCarthy. For me, it was about the rules. You maybe need to be a little bit of a nerd to even care about the rules.”

“When you think about the rules of the game,” Ogles said, mentioning games like Monopoly and Red-Light, Green-Light.

“The rules can favor a player. The rules can actually determine the outcome, and for too long in Congress, the rules had been determining the outcome: the runaway spending, the Senate rolling over the House. And, so, to fight for rules changes that empower your rank-and-file member,” as opposed to someone in leadership, Ogles explained, “is important.”

Ogles elaborated that they fought for the ability to make amendments on the floor, without which he couldn’t do his job of cutting spending, while also requiring that those amendments be germane to the legislation being amended.

Another rule makes automatic tax cuts if the House and Senate don’t work together to pass a budget and instead do a continuing resolution, which is how the government has been funded repeatedly. Through the rules changes, there is an automatic two-percent cut for each continuing resolution, which incentivizes Congress to sit down and work it out.

“By the way,” Ogles added, “it’s not going to be easy, because the amount of money that has been spent in the last two and a half years is almost unfathomable which is why we have a recession, which is why we have high interest rates.”

After Ogles’ remarks were met with a warm reception, he spent the better part of almost a half hour taking questions.

In response to a question about the feedback from the public about sticking with the twenty during the Speaker election, Ogles told The Tennessee Star that the majority were very supportive.

“I got beat up, even on local talk radio. Part of that was they just didn’t know what was going on, but the constituents overwhelmingly” Ogles emphasized, “were with us.”

Ogles added that it was unfortunate that they could not really talk about the number of members who voted for McCarthy that expressed appreciation for what the twenty were standing for. As the details of the rules package came out, they started to understand and realize the importance. A senior member who was up for a chairmanship, Ogles relayed, approached him and said he agreed with everything Ogles had done.

“But you couldn’t stick your finger up and see which way the wind was blowing. You had to do what was right and play the long game,” said Ogles.

“My job isn’t to go up there and vote for a king or kiss a ring, my job is to do the people’s business. If that means I get yelled at for it, you saw what happened. He poked on my chest, and I voted no. I’m not going to back down if it’s in the best interest of our country,” Ogles said to loud applause.

In his answer to a question asked by Republican State Executive Committeewoman Terri Nichols about the drama on the House floor, Ogles said that it was a repeat of a previous threat made by Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL-03) that the twenty would not get any committee assignments.

Ogles also revealed that he was part of the handful of people that was party to the negotiations with leadership that met late into the night, into the next morning and re-starting early the following morning.

“The media, the public, even the entirety of the Republican Caucus was not privy to the constant back and forth as to the minutiae, the details of the rules package,” revealed Ogles.

“Once it’s all said and done, and the votes are had, everybody will understand what we accomplished. So, I just kept my head down. C-Span didn’t help that, by the way,” Ogles joked about his numerous on-camera appearances.

As to what committees he is serving on, Ogles advised that he along with Representative John Rose (R-TN-06) have been selected to serve on the House Financial Services Committee, one of just a few “A” committees.

Ogles quickly dismissed that the delay in selecting a Speaker to negotiate the rules could have resulted in electing a Democrat.

“Any talking head that said that this was going to result in the election of a Democrat was either uninformed, disingenuous, or dishonest. It’s that simple. They had their own agenda that they were pushing. There was no way that was going to result in the election of a Democrat speaker, unless a Republican voted Democrat. And, if you did that, you’re not a Republican,” declared Ogles.

When asked if there was ever any concern that the rules package wouldn’t pass after McCarthy was elected Speaker, Ogles said, “There was a point at which we had to trust them to follow through on what they were saying, because at the end of the day, we were going to vote as a block and if they didn’t follow through then we would have started that process all over again.”

“At the end of the day, if doing the right thing gets me unelected,” Ogles shrugged, “I ran to do the right thing.”

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Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Star News Network, where she covers stories for The Tennessee Star.