Williamson County Republican Party Chairman Cheryl Brown stepped into the party’s county leadership role in September nearly one year before the national 2020 election that has already been marred by the ongoing impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Brown, who was born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., came to Tennessee in the late ’90s and first became involved in local politics as a volunteer in 2005.
Brown, who works as a HUD-approved housing counselor by day, is also the first African American Chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party, an example she said of the diversity of the party in the face of the reception as a party of older white voters.
Brown said that she first identified as a Republican after sharing a mutual admiration for former President Ronald Reagan with a coworker while she was working for the Boy Scouts of America in college.
Brown said that the goal going into 2020 under her leadership is the expansion of party membership and fundraising especially with young voters, something that she said has been growing.
“We’ve had an increase of young people calling, young people starting Republican parties at school and an increase of people calling and saying, how can I get involved?” Brown said.
That interest, Brown said, has even grown in the face of the historic impeachment vote, which at the time of this interview had not yet happened but has since been passed by the House of Representatives.
On Dec. 18 President Trump became the third president in history to be impeached by the House and the issue will now be taken up by the Senate where it is widely expected that he will be acquitted of the two articles of impeachment, which charge that the president abused his power and obstructed Congress.
However, according to Brown, this doesn’t appear to threaten to change the direction or views of the Williamson County Republican Party.
Brown said that the national turmoil around the president may even boost support and engagement in the party on the local level, something that is supported by recent reporting by Fox News that the Republican National Committee has raked in record number of funds for the month of November totaling $20.6 million, all while the impeachment battle rages on.
Brown said that the ongoing impeachment is a major issue for local voters, calling the impeachment action by the Democrats unconstitutional, and citing the testimony of constitutional law scholar Jonathan Turley.
“If we continue with the impeachment that is unconstitutional, then we set a different precedent for what’s to come,” Brown said. “If we can’t follow our constitutional rules and laws then we have lost our country, period. We have rules and laws set in place but if we change that and we’re making them up as we go then that’s a problem. That’s a problem for the world."
Brown said that the current division seen across the country wasn't always a political reality.
“I can remember seeing that the Republicans and Democrats they may have had their differences but yet they came together and they made it work and the country kept moving,” Brown said. “Now it seems that there’s such hatred and that the country could almost be at a standstill because we’re not making policies together. There’s a division there.”
Brown said that despite the division surrounding national politics, even within the Republican party, that locally the party is focused on unity and continuing the work of previous chairmen in an effort to keep Williamson County red.
“I would like to see that we all be one mind and conviction and in unity [so] that we can reach the goal which is what we believe in — our conservative values — and what we believe in is to get the truth out and walk in the integrity that we have been called to.”
Brown said that the Williamson County Republican Party benefits from the examples set by other party leaders across the state, including one of President Trump’s strongest allies, Senator Marsha Blackburn.
“We have some awesome people — Sam Whitson, Jack Johnson, Brandon Ogle, Glen Casada, Mark Green, Marsha Blackburn — we are all supportive of each other and what I see with them is that unity, and that unity that they have I would like to see us keep that as a party,” Brown said. “Meeting [Sen. Blackburn] has really been an encouragement, in that she has, to me, always walked in integrity for what she believed in and for the party.”
As 2020 approaches and the countdown to election day hastens it's clear that the Williamson County Republican Party is gearing up for a battle to hold their ground as the dominate party in the county, in a state that has played a significant role in the support of a president under historic pressure on nearly all sides.
And in that turmoil Brown hopes that local voters will look to the Republican Party as a leader that cares for both conservative values and Biblical Constitutionalism.
“We are a party that really does care — We do. We care about our country, we care about our cities and we care about our towns, and we are a party who loves people and that’s the truth,” Brown said. “We want to see people get involved because there’s a lot to do. We’re the party. We’re the right.”